Monday, June 18, 2012

Wax On, Wax Off

In 1984, that phrase described a physical motion to learn in Karate training.  Pat Morita played Mr. Myagi, a very down to earth karate teacher.  There was a blog post I read a month or two ago, titled “Without Wax”, that made me think of the phrase.  And the phrase came up again almost two weeks ago in one of my favorite devotionals.  Especially since we just finished a nine part series on our relationship with God.  The principle is well worth repeating.

The devotional is Watson’s “A Word for the Day” from AMG Publishers.  It’s available electronically for the Olivetree Biblereader software, several eBook formats and in hardcopy.  The reading we want to look at is for June 8.

Mr. Watson is discussing the Greek word eilikrines.  It appears only twice in the New Testament.  Once from Paul and once from Peter.  Mr. Watson says it means, "pure, unsullied, free from spot or blemish to such a degree as to bear examination in the full splendor of the sun."  It translates, in English, to “sincere”.

The word “sincere” comes from two Latin root words.  Sine means “without”, cera means “wax”.  Both the Greek and the Latin definitions relate to pottery.  Porcelain bowls, vases, etc. could crack from being fired in the kiln.  Dishonest potters would fill in the cracks with wax to hide the damage.  The pottery sitting in the seller’s stall would look like it was perfect.  But simply holding an item up in the sunlight would reveal if it was perfect or had wax filling cracks.  The light would show the wax filling, allowing customers to recognize the perfect and the imperfect.

Our relationship with God is the same as that pottery.  People tend to take “sincere” as meaning having good intentions.  You can believe what you want as long as you have the right motives.  Or you can intentionally slip into a “small” area of sin, as long as the rest of your walk with God is OK.  Either way, that kind of thinking is “sincerely” wrong.  Wrong thinking, either by worshipping the wrong God or by allowing your relationship with God to be tainted, puts spiritual wax in the cracks of your spiritual life.  The light of the Word of God will surely show the wax filled cracks in your relationship with God.

Both Paul and Peter tell us to hang onto what we learn from the Word so that we are sincere and not offensive.  The Word not only shows the cracks in our thinking, but draws us into eliminating them, as well.  Philippians 1:9-11 tells us, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” 

And Peter writes, “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”  That’s 2Peter 3:1-7.

Mr. Watson suggests studying Philippians 4:8-9 as a good guide to right thinking.  It reads, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Let the Son light take you to the place where you show no cracks in your spiritual walk, so that you are “without wax”.

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