Thursday, February 24, 2011

Note-taking with a CRITICAL SPIRIT...

Wondering what I'm talking about...Note-taking with a critical spirit??  The reason I bring it up at all is because I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not the only one who needs to be on guard and DUMP this nasty habit.  Come on you know...where you go to a retreat, conference, or even Sunday morning service...and you listen to the sermon with a critical spirit.  Waiting for the speaker to garble a detail of an obscure OT story...or think to yourself...oooo...I sure hope SO and SO was listening...or I don't agree with that if he's actually saying that...

Note-taking with a critical spirit.  You know, inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.  And, I generally would have said it was skillful analysis...being the insano, smarty pants that I tend to be.  I know everything about everything, dontcha know!?  I remember having this discussion with my Dad in high school.  I believe he was confronting me about having a critical spirit by telling me he'd done the same thing when he was my age.  Trust me, he was not softening the blow...I still probably cried.

As I mentioned...I've been looking intently at 1 Thes. 5...vs. 12-13 say, "We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work."  I know that it is a ridiculous amount of pride and disrespect that allows me to tear apart some of these good speakers.  Not only do I not have their training...but I don't have their calling from the Lord, either.  I need to be VERY careful to show them the proper respect, encouragement and esteem.

However, that being said, later on in 1 Thes. 5:20-22, "Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil."  That would mean that we hold prophecies (God's Word) as absolute TRUTH...but we are careful to test be discerning.  To see or understand the difference between TRUTH and untruth...and sadly, in many churches around the world today this is SERIOUSLY needed.  Don't be taken in with market-driven and ungodly visions for your life and the life of your church.  

But for me...Let's face attitude is often critical to keep the Holy Spirit from working.  I'm quenching the spirit.  If I judge the preacher or others around me..I don't have to deal with myself.   My prayer, is that I will be given courage to look into my heart and see what needs to change.  AND that I will be OBEDIENT to His Truth every day, every moment.  

Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You

You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray

So, practical application.  How will I actually change my Note-taking habits?  I'm starting by writing "This is for YOU" the top of my page.  And when I write down truths within the sermon...I write them in first person.  This has been exciting and helpful so far.  For example, instead of writing, "Give over your desires to His will" I write, "I need to give over MY desires to God's will."  Neat...give it a try!


Barbara H. said...

This is something I've wrestled with as well (particularly in this post: We lived in the Greenville area of SC for the first 14 years we were married, and though many of the conservative churches there had minor differences, with most of them we knew where they were coming from. When we moved away and started visiting other independent Baptist churches, we were amazed at the wide variety who put themselves under that umbrella, from out and out hyper-Calvinist to almost charismatic to everything in between. And even those with whom we would agree on major doctrines had some odd little practices or side issues, etc. We found ourselves in a near constant state of evaluation for the four years we lived in GA.

But that can get to be a bad habit. I've had that happen when I've not gotten anything from a preacher, even though others around me were rhapsodizing about the message, and I wondered, "Where was I?"

One thing that helped me a lot was reading the book about 50 different Christians I mentioned a while ago. Some of those folks were on opposite sides of many fences in theology and practice and some had some very obvious flaws, yet God used them. I shouldn't have been surprised, because we all have flaws, even most Bible characters have flaws mentioned.

With a couple of preachers in particular that I particularly struggled with, I would have to pray time and again, "Lord, if this particular area is a problem, then would you please show him and deal with him about it, but otherwise help me to put it out of my mind and just concentrate on getting the truth you have for me today."

I love your idea of taking notes in the first person.

Barbara H. said...

Wow -- sorry to have taken up so much space in your comment section!!!

Bobbi said...

Anytime are such a faithful bloggy friend to me...I totally understand what you are saying...thanks for your well thought out responses...always!

It's Grace said...

I've so been here before. I love your idea of writing at the top of your paper. I never thought of this before, in this way. I've just sat there and waited for the time to pass.