I admit it—I’m addicted to NCIS and have been for years. My DVR is set to record all new shows, and my husband and I always watch this way—no commercials. Okay, one other confession. The DVR is also set to record any new Dr. Who shows, but since we downgraded our channels to save money, it doesn’t do any good. I’m bereft.
But I’m rambling … back to NCIS. One of the charms of this show is the list of rules originated by Special Agent Gibbs, but known by his whole team. He lives by them, works by them, and sometimes gets in trouble because of them. Gibb’s rules are fallible because they were made by an imperfect human. Even so, you have to admire someone who has a creed and lives by it.
This morning while I was sipping coffee and going through my email, I read this entry in Dave Huizenga’s blog about prayer (www.bridgewood.org/dailydevotions). The text for today’s message is: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41
I know a guy who put a list of “rules” on his computer monitor. Curious, I read the list and found it to not make any sense. The rules were things like, “when you feel funny in your stomach, you need to stick to the truth”; and, “if you are tempted to call someone right back…don’t.”
When I asked about the list, he said that the “rules” were there to help him avoid temptations that he was susceptible to. He said that God gave the list of “rules” to him to help him know when he was being tempted and to keep him from “falling.”
This man was taking the words of Jesus seriously which say, “watch and pray so that you that you will not fall into temptation.” He wanted to stay away from falling prey to repetitious temptation, so he gave himself a list of warning signs or “rules.”
This man not only read Jesus’ words, he thought about them, prayed about them, and opened himself up to the Holy Spirit who lives inside him. To make his list, he asked the question, “How does the Holy Spirit warn me when temptation is near and prompt me to take care, back away, run the other direction?”
These are wisdom rules. And they are based on paying attention (to the Holy Spirit), taking the rules seriously, and developing an equal and opposite reaction. And I feel encouraged to take his example, and like Gibbs, make a list for myself. When have I experienced the Spirit’s prompt to run the other way? What happened when I ignored it? When I responded? And vice versa, when the Holy Spirit has prompted me to jump in (when I felt like running), and I responded in obedience or not. What have I learned?
Make room, Gibbs. I’m starting my own wisdom list.