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Jump-Start Your Day

Friday, September 7th, '18

All rights reserved © message by Kris Jackson

 

ON WAITING BEFORE RESPONDING

"And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said..." (Acts 16:18 NKJV)

 

The girl sounded like a drippy faucet. Day after day it was the same broken record, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation" (vs 17). The publicity was free but the motivation was selfish. Paul got "annoyed" or "grieved" as it says in the older version. Eventually he "turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out that very hour". Notice she had a he living inside her. Makes Ghostbusters look tame in comparison.

 

The question is, why did Paul wait "many days" before dealing with the annoyance? Obviously, some matters need dealt with on the spot, but more often the mature thing is to be patient. You don't have to answer every critic that challenges your intention. "A fool utters all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in until afterward" (Proverbs 29:11). One school of thought says to nip everything in the bud but I tend to disagree. Jesus said to let the wheat and tares grow up together "lest while you gather the tares you also uproot the wheat with them" (Matthew 13:29). Most issues will blow over; of course a wise manager may turn up the fan to help it along. Then if there is no improvement you can take matters in hand, as did Paul, and rebuke the spirit behind the thing, but there is no cause for jumping the gun.

 

You may need to wait "many days" to see if you are judging the matter correctly. It was not entirely apparent that the servant girl was out of line in her expression. Her publicity sounded overly zealous, maybe fanatical, but who would have thought it demonic? Paul discerned which but rather than confuse people he left the issue alone, though before it turned ridiculous he responded. That was a judgment call.

 

What about that time the centurion and captain of the ship refused to listen to Paul and navigated straight into the eye of a Mediterranean storm? The flesh wants satisfaction and immediately steps in to say, "See, I told you so!" Paul eventually did that but only after "many days". "But after long abstinence", he piped up, "Men, you should have listened to me..." (Acts 27:21) What did his long-suffering hurt? There was no need to speak any sooner. Some issues need left well enough alone. "He that passes by, and meddles with strife belonging not to him, is like one that takes a dog by the ears" (Proverbs 26:17). Don't come bawling to me if you get bit in the process. Much pain can be avoided if you will wait until your opinion is requested. "But I have to say something!" Why? "Who made you a prince and a judge over us?" (Exodus 2:14) That is what the two Hebrews asked Moses when he tried to referee an alley fight in which he had no stake. Wisdom remains silent until there is an unction to speak. Oftentimes there need not be a word said. People are learning, growing and facing their own issues between them and God. You or I as a third party getting in the way only muddies the water. "But it will turn to you for a testimony" (Luke 21:13). At that moment, when they turn to you, you can put in your two cents. Until then it probably is best to just remain "annoyed", but keep it to yourself.


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