"As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight."
Don’t Be So Triggered
We are in a “triggered” age. Social media ramps up the rate and intensity of our triggeredness—is that even a word? It’s crazy that our conversations often revolve around something someone didn’t say to us. Too often, the people didn’t even have us in mind when they typed or spoke. Sure, they may have had a caricature of someone like us in mind. Perhaps they even had a friend who is similar to us. At the end of the day, we shouldn’t have been so triggered after all.
Christians aren’t exempt from being too easily triggered. In fact, if you join the right Facebook group or find yourself deep in certain circles, you may feel that you’ve been hit over the head with a sledgehammer and feel the need for a change. The struggle isn’t only found in those who appreciate the doctrines of grace, read systematic theology for fun, and wear Spurgeon t-shirts, either. Cynicism and being hypercritical is a universal struggle.
I’m Exhibit A
So often I find myself disagreeing with what some anti-woke guy said. Before I can utter, “I can’t believe…”, I’m upset at the woke guy’s response. I’m so quick to send a screenshot or a link to the group text to get their thoughts, and before I realize it, I’ve shifted into fully triggered mode with gossip only moments away. It’s exhausting and embarrassing.
Worse than that, it’s sinful.
God despises disunity among saints, unless the disagreements center on the gospel (1 Cor. 11:19). There are numerous passages calling us to be on guard against false teaching (Eph. 6:18, 1 Pet. 1:13, 1 Pet. 4:7, and 1 Pet. 5:8). There are also passages commanding Christians to help one another flee sin and stay faithful to the truth (Gal 6:1, Heb. 3:13, and Jam. 5:20). Yet, Jesus prays for perfect unity. Paul calls for the person who sows division to be warned a couple of times and then removed from the local church. There is no excuse for unnecessary division.
The Excellent Ones
David, in Psa. 16:3, gives us a beautiful picture of how we should view other Christians. He refers to the saints in the land as “the excellent ones”. Surely he saw their sin—the Bible is full of Israel’s sins in the days of the kings. Yet, he was able to look at the saints and see their excellence. He was not simply wearing rose-colored glasses. Just as a husband sees the beauty of his wife even through her flaws, so David could say that all of his delight was in the saints.
I want to be a pastor who feels that sort of love and delight for the people God has called me to lead. I want to be a Christian who looks around with delight at the true work God is doing in the Christians around me. My desire is that anytime someone slanders the people of God, I can speak up say, “I find great joy in those people because they are loving and pursuing God with beautiful, pure hearts”. As I’ve prayed through and studied this passage, I’ve been convicted and exhorted at the same time. I’ve been convicted by lack of delight in and love for the saints in my life and the church worldwide. The Holy Spirit has been exhorting me to repent and seek this sort of delight in His saints.
But how do I even begin?
How To Delight In God’s People
We need to change our attitudes. Jesus humbly looked after the interests of others more than Himself. He did this so much so that “for the joy set before Him” He endured the cross (Heb. 12:2). Instead of entering conversations, fellowship, or gatherings asking, “What can I get out of this?”, ask yourself, “By God’s grace, what can I offer to these people?” (Phil. 2:5). Humble Christians delight themselves in the interests of others.
We need to look for ways to encourage others. It may sound obvious, but we need to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thes. 5:11). It’s not always easy because pride gets in the way, but tell that overlooked Christian how blessed you are by their work. Thank your pastor for preaching faithfully in the middle of a long exposition through a book of Scripture. Remind that community group host family that you’re thankful for their hospitality. Encouraging Christians find delight in others because they are always looking to build one another up.
We need to commit to praying for one another. Christians are supposed to pray at all times with all prayer and supplication for all the saints (Eph. 6:18). That’s a mouthful! There are all sorts of prayers to be prayed, but most of our prayers for others will be seeking God on their behalf. It’s joyous toil to seek God’s help for your friend’s porn struggle to later see him repent. The labor of supplication is well worth it when you see a broken marriage healed, a drifting friend come back to the faith, or a brother under church discipline turn in repentance. Praying Christians will delight in one another because they are often before the throne of God seeking the best for each other.
We need to refuse to gossip about other Christians. If we’re praying for people more, we’ll gossip less (1 Pet. 2:1). Instead of telling your wife how foolish that church member is, bring his name to God and beg Him to grant repentance. When we do this, instead of self-righteous and slanderous gossip, we will speak words of kindness, care, and humility in the presence of God. We are a lot less arrogant and malicious when praying to the Savior who gave His life for our brother. Christians who refuse to gossip and slander will delight in one another while putting away evil, divisive, and malicious speech.
We need to be less triggered. If we’re honest, we know we’re often being manipulated by social media shock factor. Memes and short video clips are the worst! Next time you click that controversial link, ask yourself, “Am I angry right now? Is it because God was dishonored or simply because they disagreed with my opinion?”. Remind yourself in the moment that your anger does not lead to the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20). In fact, commit yourself to putting away all anger (Eph. 4:31). Christians who put off anger will find delight in one another because they’ll recognize that their anger almost never leads to anything more than sin and strife.
In what ways do you need to grow in your delight of God’s people? What’s one practical step you can take? Leave an example for us in the comments!
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