Well, I felt like I was missing something after writing the last post. I just had this nagging feeling that there was one more L. And I finally realized what it was.
Litigate – Now, before you stop reading, it isn’t what you think. We live in a litigious society. Everyone is always ready to sue someone for something either real or imaginary. This is not the purpose of this particular L. I understand the Bible tells us not to be litigious, so just stick with me.
I am using the word litigate because it is the only L word that is a synonym for “sue”. And since I think the 5 L’s are a good mnemonic device and especially since I am writing the article (little joke), it’s what I decided to use.
So, why would litigate go with the other four L’s (Learn, Love, Labor, and Lead)? Doesn’t seem to fit in, does it? Well, I must admit that I am somewhat of a word-lover. Especially when it comes to old and underused words. But, I also like simple everyday words that have had their meanings changed over the years. I like to learn those old, obsolete meaning to everyday words and use them. Call me idiosyncratic…
One of those deprecated definitions is a definition for the word “sue”. One of the definitions of the word “sue” that rarely gets used anymore is “to make petition or appeal to”. I love this definition of the word.
In Philippians 4:6 we are told “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” In other words, we are to make our petitions to God in prayer. Or, to be shorter, we are to “sue in prayer”. Isn’t it wonderful that we have a living God that we can sue for favor. That we can ask and if it is his will, he will grant it. But, it’s the next verse that is my favorite.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
In today’s society, where there is so much to worry about, having peace that passes all understanding is very welcome. We desire to have that peace, do we not? Well, all we have to do is sue for it and it will be given. We just have to let go of the things of this world and put it all on God and we can have that peace.
Now, just one quick side note on the phrase “Be careful for nothing”. This means not to be anxious or solicitous about the things of the present life. Now, I’m no Greek or Hebrew scholar, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night, and I happen to have a pretty good Greek and Hebrew dictionary as well as a decent Bible commentary, so I would like to expound on this phrase just a little. The word used here is “merimnate”. I am told by my commentary that it “does not mean that we are to exercise no care about worldly matters – no care to preserve our property, or to provide for our families; but that there is to be such confidence in God as to free the mind from anxiety, and such a sense of dependence on him as to keep it calm.”
This is similar to Matthew 6:25 which says “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
The phrase “no thought” used to mean something different than it does today. If we actually gave “no thought” to eating or drinking, we would all be dead. If we actually gave “no thought” to what we would put on, we would be in violation of several decency laws. If we actually gave “no thought” for our lives, going into places like Nigeria may be the last trip we made.
A better translation for that section of the verse is “do not be anxious about your life”. “Thought” about the future is fine. There is a certain amount of “thinking” about the things of this life that is proper. We just need to make sure that all we do we do in the will of the Lord. We can see this explained clearly in James.
James 4:13 You should know better than to say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to the city. We will do business there for a year and make a lot of money!”
James 4:14 What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.
James 4:15 You should say, “If the Lord lets us live, we will do these things.”
We see here that it is fine to make plans and have concern for things like business as long as we do it within God’s will.
So, that is the 5th L.