Mode of Mind: Out On Good Behavior

An important sermon was delivered this past Sunday evening: Pastor Vince Giardino gave his thirteenth message on the mind. His sermon’s target was the will of our minds and hearts and “how to act in some unsavory circumstances”. The role model Pastor presented to help us to learn to live right was King David, a man after God’s heart. Pastor’s opening verses were from David’s Psalm 101:1-8. (He pointed out the BMW – “behave myself wisely” that David wrote.)

Pastor’s introductory story was about photographer Ansel Adams‘ early attempt at being a pianist. While playing at a party, Ansel could get his left hand to play fine, but his right hand was separated by a ½ step. His playing was off a little bit throughout the piece. His performance was given a no-nonsense review by a fellow guest: “He never missed a wrong note”. Pastor Giardino turned the story around to say, “Our lives can be off by how we behave ourselves and how we take things in.”

“Behavior is learned”, Pastor taught, and is often influenced by the attitudes and spirit of others. “Everybody is a copycat”, he said. In defining behavior, Pastor G. reminded us that there is both good and bad behavior and that it depends on how a person reacts or restrains oneself to what the flesh wants. Pastor asked his congregation a series of questions: How do you behave in certain situations? How do you govern your life? Are you a ½ step away from making a balance in your life? How do you behave yourself once you leave the doors of this building? Is there a desire to reach for the bible more than other things that may be around you?

Pastor Giardino had us turn to 1 Sam 18:1-11 to see how David behaved himself. After David slew Goliath, “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David” Sam 18:1. Jonathan, the son of King Saul, realized that David would be the next king and “stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle” 1 Sam 18:4. Pastor pointed out that “Jonathan relinquishes his right to the throne when he gave David those articles of clothing.”

David behaved obediently and wisely in the house of King Saul. However, Saul became concerned about his throne because he saw that his son, his servants, and the people favored David. “By you behaving yourself wisely in the life that God has given you, people will start to fear you”, Pastor Giardino said. Thus, “Saul was afraid of David” even though David was not plotting against Saul.

Behaving ourselves wisely in this life is “boot camp”, Pastor explained. He told how, in 1989, when his former church needed a new bus director, he did not want the job. “But God wanted me there”, Pastor said, and trusted that “it was God’s plan.” Likewise, David did not want to be King, but it was God’s design. Saul was insecure and was in fear of losing his kingdom. In like manner, Christians can be insecure, not trusting in God’s plan, fearful of losing control of their lives.

Pastor read 1 Sam 18:29, “And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David’s enemy continually”. The point pertains to us also as Pastor G. explained: “As you continue to lead your Christian life … and continue to be formed in Christ’s image … there will be a continual hatred for you and your God and your Bible and your church! As you continue to behave yourself wisely in a busted world, they will continue to hate you.” So from time to time, we need to “flee to God” in prayer for guidance regarding our behavior, our pastor strongly advised.

Two characters are at odds: the old king and the new king – who will sit on the throne? Pastor directed us to Psalms 5 to get an understanding of David’s mind and heart as he is praying to God. David was trusting in God and asking for wisdom, “Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness” Psalms 5:8. He referenced Psalms 23 also, “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” Psalms 23:3.

While Saul had a growing hatred toward David, David was humble with an undeserving attitude. David wasn’t looking for anything but God was opening doors for him. In 1 Sam 18:18, “David said unto Saul, Who am I?” In Ex 3:11, Moses asks the same three words to God. Even after being ordained king, David in II Sam 7:18 again asks “Who am I”. God looks favorably toward humbleness and a good attitude. Pastor Giardino advised his flock to have that same attitude, being “out on good behavior”, or God is going to “lock us out in our service” to Him. Pastor then gave an example of learned behavior: David’s son Solomon also asked “who am I” in 2 Chron 2:6.

By the end of 1 Sam 18, David understood that he must behave himself wisely, not only in the king’s house, but on the outside to others. Pastor explained that when we walk outside the doors of our church, we need to let others see us behaving wisely. Although others may hate us, we need to do as David did. Pastor said we need to go to our prayer closet and mediate on the goodness of God and how He is in control.

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