FLY or FROG: the Choice is Yours
I know from the title you are probably thinking this is going to be some sort of biology lesson. Actually, my desire is that this article will make you reflect on some important decisions you have to make. They are decisions that have eternal consequences so they should not be taken lightly.
Are you a “FLY”? Before you go getting all offended let me tell what I mean by the question. “FLY”stands for “First Love Yourself.” You see the world and the one who has dominion in this world, teaches us to follow this philosophy of life. Just look around you and you will quickly see many examples of men following this principle of taking care of self first. It doesn’t matter who might be hurt or who suffers loss, the “FLY” is self-centered and self-absorbed in looking out for himself. Psalm 10:2-4 says “In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” This passage reveals several traits of the “FLY” that we need to recognize. The “FLY” thrives on the weaknesses of others and in fact he has highly developed skills that can be utilized to create traps and snares for those he perceives as weak. Satisfying the “cravings of his heart” will be the primary objective of the “FLY” and he will not mind at all taking advantage of others to accomplish this goal. There is nothing that the “FLY” will not stoop to use in satisfying his cravings and he will brag about his conquest and achievements even if it is at someone else’s expense. He will honor those that are like them and he will abuse and dishonor God. A “FLY” does not seek a relationship with God and his selfish thoughts take up so much room within him that there is no room for God. To sum it up, the“FLY” is so full of self and self-gratification that there is no room for anything else.
On the other hand you could choose to be a “FROG.” “FROG” stands for “Fully Relying On God.” Before responding quickly and jumping on the “FROG” bandwagon, I want you to understand what God’s Word says regarding relying on Him. 2 Peter 1:3-8 says “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” You see to truly be a “FROG” you must strive for a life of holiness. C.S. Lewis was quoted as saying “How little people know who think that holiness is dull . . . When one meets the real thing, it’s irresistible” So what does it mean to live a life of holiness? John Piper , pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, used 1 Peter 1:14-16 to describe five steps in the way God brings his holiness to expression in the lives of believers. 1 Peter 1:14-16 says “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.” Piper’s five steps are:
- God calls us — Verse 15: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; This is virtually the same as God’s giving new birth back in verse 3: “He caused you to be born again to a living hope.” Paul said, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30). This call is the effect of God’s life-giving word that brings out of rebellion into the submissive attitude of faith.
- The effect of this call or this new birth is that we become the children of God. Verse 14: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” This is crucial because this shows that something really changed inside of us when God called us, namely the Spirit of God came in. Paul says, “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). So the Holy Spirit enters us and begins to work the holiness of God in our lives. But how?
- Being called and made children of God we no longer see things in ignorance the way we once did. We see things differently. Verse 14: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” Now that we are called, born of God and children of God we are not blinded by what Paul calls “deceitful desires.” They don’t deceive any more. We see through them. We are not foolish any more like a little child that takes a nickel in stead of a dime because it’s bigger. Now we know better. But know what better? Mainly God. We know the holiness of God. We don’t assess human reality as superior to God in value. We are not ignorant of God’s infinite worth “not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;” (1 Thess. 4:5). Once we were blind to the value of God. We turned away from the fountain of life and tried to hew out cisterns for ourselves that could hold no water (Jeremiah. 2:13). Now, by God’s Spirit, that foolishness and ignorance is gone, and we are beginning to assess things for what they really are. Now we see that the holiness of God is the supreme value in the universe.
- The replacing of our former ignorance with truth about God leads to putting away old desires and experiencing new ones. Verse 14: “do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. When we assessed God wrongly, we had deceitful desires. But now Peter calls them “former” desires. They are fading into the past. As much as we might have to fight them back with truth, they are not the defining power in our lives any more. They are “former”. They are no longer us.
- Finally, these new desires and the dethroning of the old ones lead to obedience to God and non-conformity to the world. Verse 14: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”
When these five steps happen we begin to, as verse 15 says, “be holy in all you do”. So my answer to the question how the holiness of God comes to expression in our lives goes like this:
- The holy God powerfully calls us to himself;
- He gives us his Holy Spirit to bear witness that we are his children;
- He opens our eyes to overcome our ignorance about the suicidal nature of desires that wage war against the soul (2:11) and enables us to assess the supremacy of his worth, his holiness, properly;
- The upshot of new apprehensions of truth and value is a whole new field of desires: the former ones begin to die as foolish and suicidal; the new ones grow with increasing realization of the worth of God’s holiness;
- And so in all our behavior the holiness of God becomes the dominating, all-shaping reality of life.
“FLY” or “FROG” the choice is yours. But if you choose to be a “FROG” then you must strive to live a life of holiness. Let the “FLY” see in you the holiness of God and allow God’s holiness to be the dominating, all-shaping reality of your life! The “FROG” must always remember “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)