Published: Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
Whenever I hear someone say, “You betcha,” I can’t help chuckling because it brings to mind a TV commercial I can identify with. This guy’s reading the paper when his knockout wife appears in the doorway behind him wearing a knockout dress and asks, “Honey, does this make me look fat?” to which he replies without looking, “You betcha!” Now, I remember nothing else about that commercial, including what they were trying to sell, except some reference about sleeping on the couch. Like most of us husbands, I’m sure the guy in the commercial had the best of intentions of giving his wife the answer he thought she wanted to hear. (You know, “Happy wife, happy life.”) His problem (and the one I’m most often accused of) was that he didn’t listen to the question (I have a documented hearing problem, no matter how selective it is). I can say, though, I’ve never slept on the couch over something like this. Still, you can bet the message came across very clearly on a cold winter’s night a long time ago when she snatched up her pillow and all the covers as she went to the couch. Even then, it was more likely the incident occurred because I listened too well and disagreed with what she said rather than because I didn’t listen well enough. So, what are the lessons for us in this? Problems happen when we don’t listen to each other. Sometimes, it’s a problem with both speaker and hearer. My family knows I don’t hear well. Still, I have to remind them to not mumble at me from the other room. Real problems happen when we don’t listen to God. You can bet that’s a problem only with the hearer. God’s word is clear and profitable to those who want to hear, understand, accept, and retain it (Ephesians 3: 4, 5; Matthew 13: 18-23). To retain the word, we need to be diligent with it, incorporating it into our lives by practicing it (James 1: 21-25; 2 Timothy 2: 15). Success in this is more likely if we go into the room with God and allow him to speak through his word without any distractions (Matthew 6: 6; Hebrews 4: 16; John 6: 45; 1 Corinthians 2: 12-16). This helps keep us from sin and shame and the resulting punishment (Psalm 119: 11; Romans 6: 20-23). When Adam and Eve sinned (because they listened to Satan rather than God), they were afraid and hid because they realized their nakedness (Genesis 2: 15-17; 3: 1-11, 21). That’s shame. This sort of shame didn’t occur when the covers were snatched away from me. Still, the chill had its effect. If we’re uncovered before God at the judgment, we’ll realize our shame immediately and, while we’ll be kicked outside, you can bet the eternal effect will be not at all chilly (Matthew 25: 30, 41, 46). The judgment will be according to God’s word and how we’ve followed it (John 12: 47-50; Revelation 20: 11-15). At that time, we need not stand before God naked and ashamed because of our sin. Just as God clothed Adam and Eve to cover their shame, Jesus has provided the means – the clothes – for us to cover ourselves with his righteousness. Those not wearing these clothes of righteousness will be sent outside and won’t be allowed to participate in the celebration with God for eternity. When we’re clothed with Christ, God sees Jesus’ righteousness rather than our sin and shame (Revelation 7: 14; Exodus 12: 13). Once we’ve put on Christ, we must keep our garment clean, but God provides for that as well (Romans 13: 14; Revelation 3: 4-6; Romans 8: 12-14; 1 John 1: 5-9). Isn’t that great to hear! Don’t bet on good intentions. Only good intentions about what God wants done and follow through on that will matter. Otherwise, regardless of what we’ve done with good intentions it’ll be of no avail (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3; John 14: 15; 1 John 5: 1-5). We can only overcome the world by dying to it according to God’s plan (Romans 6: 1-11). We can positively state that listening to God and retaining his word by putting it into practice will help us have the happiest life now and forever. Although, it doesn’t hurt if our wife is happy as well. You betcha! Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ.
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