Reflections on spiritual themes (and a few other things).

Tag: Mark Twain


Always do right. This will gratify some and astonish the rest!

Mark Twain

Doing right is at the heart of a relationship with God. The apostle Peter said, “in every nation the man who fears [God] and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10.36). To be right with God means that we must do right. 

This may explain why the world hates righteousness and righteous people. Peter also said, “such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2.15). The world may slander us for doing right, but doing right is its own best defense. 

It’s sad that the business of doing right has such an effect on people around us. Some may be astonished because they see so little righteousness in our world. They’re skeptical, even cynical, and learn to expect the worst. To them, doing right is astonishing because it’s so rare. 

Others may be astonished when they see us doing right because sometimes we don’t do it enough. If that’s the case, the problem isn’t with them, it’s with us. We need to repent.

When we try to do the right thing and the world pushes back against us, what then? The apostle Paul said, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12.20-21).

The best way to get even with others, the best way to astonish them, the best way to counter the evil in the world, and the best way to glorify God is to do what’s right. First, last, and always. 

So, get busy and astonish someone today!

The Will of the Lord

Do you understand the will of God?

Phrases like “the will of God” or “the will of the Lord” occur about 30 times in the Bible, most often in the New Testament. “The will of God” means God’s desire or wish, what God wants. Specifically in relation to us, God’s will refers to what he desires or wishes from his people.

Regarding this notion of God’s will, the apostle Paul said, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5.17).

These words from the apostle Paul are a simple reminder of three things: (1) God has a will, a desire, a plan for all of us. (2) We have the intellectual and moral capacity to ascertain what that will is. And (3) we can do something about it.

God’s will is plainly expressed in Scripture. Although some portions of the Bible aren’t easy to understand, an average reader is capable of discerning what God wants. Mark Twain supposedly said, “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture which they cannot understand; but as for me, I have always noticed that the passagse of Scripture which trouble me most are those which I do understand.” 

I think Mark Twain was right. The problem with either Scripture or the will of God isn’t their inscrutability. The problem is simply man’s desire (or lack of desire) to pay attention and apply it to his life. 

C. S. Lewis once observed, “There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”

May God help us belong to the first category.