Failure to Cite

Reading Numbers 10 and seeing the words “march, banner, rear guard, division, troops, camp…” reiterate some of the hidden truths I find interesting about the Bible that this world shies away from acknowledging. I think it’s so interesting how a lot of the things we do are pulled from the Bible or at least found therein. It’s more interesting how because one isn’t in relationship with the Word, one doesn’t realise all things were created through Him or that He has all the answers and is our literal Manual for doing life.

Source: Web

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.” — Colossians 1:15-17 NLT

So one, whether knowingly or unknowingly, fails to look to and credit the Manufacturer. And then it’s rinsed and repeated through time.

Pulling from the Word of God, without pointing people who benefit from the end product of these ideas back to God, is like writing a whole dissertation and not referencing the texts that informed and aided one’s discourse. You and I know how a wrong citation or not citing at all tells on a marked dissertation regardless of a brilliantly written discourse; that this can be considered plagiarism, cause a mark down and cost you a large chunk of your would-have-been high score — which is needed for that distinction you were aiming towards.

A typical example of our failure to cite is with ideas. We think they’re are ours just because they pop up in our heads — let’s not even go into how brilliant ideas are rarely ours, often times stem from or are sparked by conversations with people and the experiences of others —; so we do with them as we please because God was mindful enough not to make all our thoughts (and “borrowed” ideas) evidently transparent. We think, pull from, borrow/steal, create and take credit for it by slapping our names and trademarks on creations, without crediting the Owner. 

Not realising that there’s a Source from which these ideas stem, to whom we should go and seek understanding on how to develop/disseminate/use what results from these ideas. Not realising we’re just stewards of these ideas we’re enabled to think into creations… We dub ourselves “creatives”. Forgetting we create because we’re of our Creator. Not realising there’s a bigger picture to created ideas; oblivious and unaware of the enemy and his constant attempt to counter the Source, by tainting these ideas or trying to steer away glory from the Source for His perfectly good plan. His plan — that’s supposed to flow through us, the vessels He chooses — which exists not just to bless us and others, but primarily for His glory. 

Imagine what would’ve happened if Abram decided the idea to leave his family and go on a journey to an unknown destination was his, without factoring and constantly checking in with God, the Giver of the idea, to know what He had in mind for who would eventually be Abraham. Will Abraham’s blessings be ours? 

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him;” — Genesis 12:1-4a. 

 Circling back to failure to cite… An app — and I may be wrong, but I highly doubt any text on there references a scripture — like the Calm App, Apple’s #1 app for meditation and sleep, aims to help one “sleep more, stress less, live better and find one’s calm”. Great idea — in a world swarming with insomniacs — right? Let’s analyze some more shall we? Stay with me a little longer. 

The antonym of calm is disturbed… So basically, anxiety. If one looks to what the Bible says about anxiety, one’ll literally find the answers in there: 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. — Philippians 4:6-9 NIV 

Answers that point to the peace of God that guards our hearts through Christ, thinking on excellent and praiseworthy things and practicing what we learn from Him; being the antidote to anxiety. 

Meanwhile, the Calm app tries to sell a “cure” for anxiety — and without the perfect formula of God’s truth, or at least pointing one to it — by telling its users to train their minds, meditate on tranquil sights and listen to calming sounds. Though the app is well noble for what it tries to achieve, I reckon it fails in the long run. I say fail because: 

  • What happens to an anxious person who trains themselves to rely on the tenets of the Calm app when the app is inaccessible? 
  • What happens when the mind of the anxious person gets overly accustomed to or “sees finish” the app? 
  • What happens to an anxious person who hasn’t let Christ’s finished works on the cross deal with the root cause of the anxious thoughts of a stormy or disturbed mind that causes sleeplessness, stress and the inability to live one’s best life? 
  • What happens to an anxious mind that hasn’t gone on several impression making dates with Philippians 4:6-9?

Yet it seems trendy for us to use an app so we can share “sleep stories”, saying “I meditate, sleep more, stress less, live better, find my calm because I use the Calm app”; but not so cool to say “I overcame anxiety because the Holy Spirit revealed the truth of God’s Word in Philippians 4:6-9 to me and liberated me from the hold anxiety had on me”. 

Are you getting my drift? Is it balancing?

Certainly, one’s best life can’t be anchored on an app’s attempt at a worldly redefinition — poor at that — of God’s never failing truth; and the app’s failure to credit Him thereof.

  • Consider the plethora of things we’ve come to know as “normal” or “negligible” that we do, think or abide by; without necessarily knowing why we do them or where they stem from. 
  • Consider the fact that most, if not all of what we do, think or abide by originated from the Bible; but got watered down through out the ages because generations past failed to pass truths and history down to future generations. 
  • Consider the fact that ideas get counterfeited because we fail to check, test and approve what the Word and Writer say about their application for living the best lives we’ve be called to in Christ. 
  • Now consider how it tells on our lives’ dissertation score when we fail to properly cite the Word in ignorance because we just won’t get to know Him or at least go out on a date with Him.

Shambles, I say.

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