Stocks & Socks

2019 was a big year for me.

My son was born! I got to scratch off 6 more countries from our countries visited map. We remodeled our kitchen. A Chick-Fi-A opened just a 5-minute drive from my house. I got a driveway basketball hoop for my birthday. I ate bear meat. And I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks.

If you don’t know what Birkenstocks are, go on Amazon right now and buy a pair, your feet will thank you. If you do know what they are, why don’t you have a pair already? (No, they are not a paid sponsor of this blog.) I bought the waterproof kind and so, they provide the comfort and support of the standard kind but with the benefit of being waterproof as well as incredibly light.

But enough about the shoes, this isn’t a commercial. What I wanted to talk about today is how I choose to wear this fantastic footwear. I’ll admit the embarrassing truth…

My name is Josh and I like to wear socks with my sandals.

I have found myself walking out of the house even when there is snow on the ground in this “Socks ‘n Stocks” combo many times. Why? It’s incredibly simple, it’s crazy comfy. The socks keep my feet warm and cozy while the “Stocks” allow me freedom and comfort.I don’t have to give in to the rigidity and stuffiness of shoes, but I also can keep my feet warm. It’s the best of both worlds!

Unfortunately, while this kind of compromise and dual living is OK for footwear, it is no way to live our lives.

Far too many people who claim to be Christians are trying to live dual lives. The temptation to try to “follow Jesus” while chasing after our own desires is very great. Far too many have fallen into that trap.

You can’t live for Jesus on Sunday and live for yourself the remaining 6 days a week. It doesn’t work like that. It looks funny and it’s uncomfortable.

Jesus told us that it is impossible to serve two masters. We cannot love both God and money. We cannot follow both Jesus and the ways of the culture. We cannot serve both God and ourselves.

I don’t have to choose between sock and sandals, I can have both. But I must choose between Jesus and myself, I cannot have both.

Jesus told us that in order to follow Him we must be willing to die to ourselves. That means dying to our own plans, sinful desires, and selfish expectations.

Don’t live a dual life. If you say that you follow Jesus, then follow Him in every aspect of your life. Follow Him when you make your budget. Follow Him when you use technology. Follow Him when you talk to your coworkers. Follow Him when you sit in traffic. Follow Him when you plan for your future. Follow Him when you are alone, and no one is watching.

Serving Jesus and serving yourself is a combo that just simply will never work….unlike my sock and sandals. 

Good Looking Trash

I was at the store the other day and I saw a garbage can on sale for the bargain price of only $265.99. I must assure you I did not purchase the garbage can, but it did get me thinking, what can I learn from an expensive garbage can? Turns out, quite a bit.

I got curious and did some research and believe it or not there are such things as “smart garbage cans” that are capable of (among other things) compacting your waste, playing music, and opening and shutting with just a simple voice command. These cans can cost over a thousand dollars.

Aside from the functionality of “smart cans” I began to think about the concept of spending a large amount of money on an item that, while it may look good on the outside, when opened is still simply full of garbage.

If there is garbage on the inside it doesn’t matter how good the outside looks, it will still stink.

  • 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us that while people tend to focus on outward appearances, God is focused on our hearts.
  • Peter tells us that finding ourselves beautiful in God’s sight is far more important than being outwardly adorned.
  • And in 1 Timothy we can read that even though being physically fit has some value, being spiritually fit (godliness) is valuable in every way.

The Bible makes it clear that what is on the inside is far more important than what we can see on the outside.

As a human being, we do tend to care deeply about what others think of us. We will get certain haircuts or buy a specific style of clothes to fit in. And while being trendy is certainly not a sin, seeking the approval of people over the approval of God is. How we dress and how we look physically need to always be secondary to how we love, trust, and obey God.

Another layer of this discussion is that we, sometimes, will “dress up” in more ways than just hair, clothes, and jewelry. Sometimes we try to dress up our lives with little “white lies” that make us look better than we actually are. Our straight-A kids have C’s, our promotion was really just a cubical change, and it only took 8 tries to get that candid photo we posted on the ‘gram.

God knows us. God sees what and who we truly are.

Now, please don’t walk away from this thinking that I am calling all of us trash. Well, maybe I am. But if I am it’s only because, compared to everything that Jesus has done and everything that He is…we kind of are. Our own goodness could never ever compare to His ultimate righteousness.

So, let us commit to worrying less about what’s on the outside, both in our own lives as well as how we view others. Let us also commit to asking God to not just make our outsides look good, but more importantly, to take away all the garbage that we have been storing up on our insides.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10

Continuity Errors

Have you ever been enjoying a movie or T.V. show, perfectly enthralled in the moment? Your mind has been transported to a distant fantasy land, or perhaps you are helping the detectives to solve some sort of incredible mystery. Then an image dances across your screen, even for just a brief moment, and suddenly you are woken from your daze. Something is just kind of, off. You may have just witnessed a continuity error.

These lapses in consistency occur often. In one shot an actor is eating blueberry pie, then in the very next shot, the pie is now apple. Or perhaps you see your favorite actors driving in a white car, but in the next wide frame shot the car has changed not only colors but also brands.

Most normal people do not get overly frustrated with continuity errors, but I tend to be highly observant, and I certainly am not normal.

It is hard to believe that any continuity errors would slip past editors in post-production given how many people there are closely examining the film. But there are always a few that inevitably slip past. Perhaps the editors allow them through just to annoy folks like myself?

Anyway, back on topic.

I have come to think that the main reason why continuity errors frustrate me so much is that consistency is so vitally important. Not only do we expect consistency, in many cases we actually desperately need it.

Now, if consistency is important in films, it is infinitely more important in our real daily lives.

I am sure that I am not the only one who has ever acted inconsistently with who I hope to really be. Even Paul, the Apostle, struggled with staying consistent. In Romans 7:15 Paul says, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” If there were continuity errors in Paul’s life that he wrestled with, there certainly are some in our lives as well.

But, thankfully, the story does not end there. Later, in the next chapter Paul explain that we who believe in Jesus have been given the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. God not only puts up with our continuity errors, but He also, more importantly, changes us from the inside so that there will be fewer and fewer errors, and instead, more consistency.

In another New Testament book that Paul wrote, he says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God makes us better than we once were.

The incredible work of the Holy Spirit, sanctification, is the awesome process of making us more and more like Jesus each and every day. (Romans 8:29, Hebrews 10:10, 2 Peter 3:18, Philippians 1:6) As we grow more and more like Jesus the continuity errors in us start to fade away. God does amazing work in us.

But that does not absolve us of any responsibility in the process. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us, “do not quench the Holy Spirit.” Instead, we ought to be actively allowing God to work in and through us on a daily basis.

Each day when we wake up we need to actively choose to follow Jesus, and we need to do this on a consistent basis.

I dislike continuity errors in movies. I hate continuity errors in my life, and I hope you hate them in your life too.

God, make us more consistent in our love, obedience, and commitment to you.