STRENGTH FOR THE WEEK: Flood Church’s Weekly Devotional
SERIES 3: Pried Out With A Cross
The Pride of Nosiness
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: mind your own business…” 1 Thessalonians 4:11
Living in an age of tabloids, gossip columns, and social media news feeds is fraught with spiritual difficulties and dangers. One of these is the clear and present danger of having our consciences numbed and desensitized against the sin of nosiness. When society as a whole treats the act of meddling into the affairs of others without invitation or provocation as harmless entertainment, we must be doubly vigilant not to get swept up by the wave. God says you must “mind your own business”.
Quietly minding our own business is one of the few spiritual disciplines for which God encourages us to have an ambitious attitude. This is a difficult discipline for two reasons. First, the natural part of us that is corrupted by sin enjoys minding the business of others instead of our own. Sometimes, we enjoy it because finding and relishing in the vices we see in others that we do not see in ourselves makes us feel righteous, and one of the ways in which we resist satisfying God’s demand for us to be righteous is by satisfying our desire to merely feel righteous. At other times, we enjoy minding other people’s business because finding and relishing in the vices we see in others that we also see in ourselves makes us feel excused, and one of the ways in which we reject God’s uncompromising verdict against our sin is by deferring to our own verdict that our sin is not as bad as God says it is if others do it too. Alternatively, we sometimes sinfully enjoy minding other people’s business not because we want to find and relish in their vices, but because we want to find their virtues. If finding and relishing in the virtues we see in others that we do not see in ourselves makes us feel insignificant, this feeling can become our rebellious way of rejecting God’s offer of free righteousness in preference for our own self-condemnation. At other times, finding and relishing in the virtues we see in others that we also see in ourselves makes us feel justified, and one of the ways in which we deny our need to be justified by God’s grace is by justifying ourselves by our works. So whether you snoop around other people’s business to find their vices or whether you do it to find their virtues, it is the appetites of your corrupted nature you are satisfying.
Secondly, quietly minding our own business is a difficult spiritual discipline because it demands focusing on the work that we need God to do in us. This means trusting God to build into us the new things that are in line with his nature and to take out of us those old things that are against his nature. By contrast, minding other people’s business only requires our curiosity. It requires no faith or repentance from us, and so it leads to none of the life transformation that God wants to produce in us as a first priority. Our primary business must be what we need God to change us into, which is his likeness, and we are commanded to do it quietly. This is because not only is God against the nosiness of those who do not mind their own business, but against the noisiness of those who mind their own business ostentatiously. Giving attention to other people’s business to the neglect of our own is as much a symptom of spiritual sickness as seeking attention from others for the business God says is ours to mind.
Keep the Faith