Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
There is an interesting bird found on the south island of New Zealand. It is a large member of the parrot family, and it is known as the Kea.
They are a good-sized, greenish bird, with a large hooked beak and the characteristic parrot toe-pattern of two toes towards the front, and two toes towards the back.
As you read about the Kea you learn that the Kea is known for stealing the rubber from cars. They don't eat it, as is sometimes assumed, instead, they play with it. And your shoelaces, and any garbage you leave behind. They are known as the local clowns.
Sadly, the playful Kea is endangered. They are infamous for killing sheep, and in 1880 a bounty was placed on their heads. The bounty was not lifted until 1971, and the Kea was not brought under the protection of the government until 1986.
Though protected, Kea young continue to be threatened by introduced species such as possums and stoats, and adult birds continue to be threatened by exotic avian diseases, the unknown effects of global warming on New Zealand Alpine habitats, and by their human contact, which often leads to lead poisoning. It is now believed that there are fewer than 5,000 remaining in the wild.
It's sad, but with their fascination for killing and stealing, they have brought this upon themselves! I don't know about you, but I want more for my life than stealing rubber from cars and laces from shoes! I want to be known as more than a local clown. I want to strive for a meaningful life in Christ!
How can I do that?
Certainly not by following the example of the Kea.
Fortunately, the Bible shows us a better way: "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." (James 4:8-10 NIV)
Basically, the road to the meaningful life means humility!
Remember, this "better way" doesn't stem from being sin-free. None of us will ever achieve that state here on Earth. Instead it comes from HATING wickedness in all of its forms! It comes from identifying those deep, dark places in our hearts and HATING them!
In other words, while you hate what is wicked, you must also long for what is pure! "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (Phil 4:8 NIV)
Friends, Keas may be cute, but they are also pests, and worse, are endangered. If you strive, as I try to do, to live a meaningful life that leads to life eternal, then take this advice to heart: Love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Dear Lord, we pray that it would be our drive to seek after righteousness and hate wickedness. Thank You for the lessons we can see all around us if we keep our eyes upon You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.