Philemon: Receptive

I am a cranky old geek. I hate to be told I am wrong and problematically become stubborn, not wanting to change. Ironically, setting my feet in concrete and letting it dry so I can’t be moved of course leads to even more problems, being even more wrong. Not wanting to even hear I can improve, not desiring to become better, thinking I am “all that” makes me none of that. But we all know, “old dogs can’t learn new tricks.” Wait a second! You calling me a dog?!? <big grin>

Looking at it from the outside, a person often looks silly for not wanting to be challenged to grow. That person does and says all kinds of absurd things to avoid admitting being less than perfect. But when we are that person, we don’t see it. We are so confident in our rightness we don’t see how wrong we are.

King David was a man of God. His song lyrics to God even 3000 years later are impactful and beautiful. Yet he had failings and oh boy did he fail. What was worse, he just didn’t see it. He had become so confident in himself, he believed he could do no wrong. It took a prophet to go to David and confront the sin. David could have set his feet into the “I am the king!” concrete, he could have said “off with his head!” But David was receptive to God’s word. He confessed his sin, turned to God and was forgiven. He still had to experience the consequences of his sin but he remained true to the Lord for the rest of his life.

Old dogs may not be able to learn new tricks but we are not dogs. We are children of God, people who can continually grow, learn, and change. We can continue to move to the center of God’s kingdom no matter how old (or young) we are. That growth can only happen if we are receptive to the moving of the Holy Spirit, be it through a sermon, Bible study, or a friend coming to us and saying, “I love you but….” Let us not set our feet into concrete and refuse to move, let us open our hearts to whatever God would ask us and move together to the center.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. - Psalm 51:10, 12