Over the Line
Have you ever felt so passionate about something that you found yourself crossing the line? Possibly even to the point of being pushy?
Last year I became a Skincare Consultant. I was super excited to get started because I loved the products! Sure, there were other opportunities with direct sales companies, but this one…well it was the best and I wanted everyone to know it.
I had this thing in my head that working for the number one skincare company in N. America with the best products on the market, are pretty much going to sell themselves.
Have you ever joined something like this where you believed so much in the products that you won’t have to do a thing? Just put it out there and cha-ching the products will sell themselves.
Hindsight is always 20/20 and now I see how naïve I was to think such thoughts. And honestly, I had never been in sales before in my life.
Shortly after joining the company, I had an event at my house and invited a few friends. I wanted them to hear and see the products and fall in love with them like I did. The party went well although nobody bought a thing.
I was disappointed and tried not to show it.
I gave them samples as they left my home that night and followed up the next week.
One friend stopped responding to my texts, but that didn’t stop me from texting. I just kept right on letting her know how great the products were and the special offers we had going on at that time. I wanted her to purchase the products and find the same results I was finding in them. But she didn’t seem to be interested and when I realized I was the only one texting about these amazing products, I felt pushy and over the line.
I stopped texting and prayed about my crazy excitement of oversharing. I realized that my excitement and passion over these products was too much and I was being overly pushy.
I sent an apology text.
She didn’t reply.
I thought to myself, I have ruined this friendship and I was sad.
I prayed for my friend and for our relationship.
I realized that the only passion I should share so crazily is the love of my Savior. I found myself praying over my friends and relatives much I like did before I found my skincare business.
Do you know what happened?
My business started to grow.
Fast forward several months after my extreme pushiness, I had dinner with my friend. At dinner, she asked me about one of the products and decided to purchase. It was so pleasant to share the love of these products with someone who was ready and willing.
It was easy and much more fun!
I had put the Lord first as I believe he gave me this business opportunity and if that’s the case, He will bless it.
So the next time you find something you love and feel passionate about, take my advice and make sure you aren’t more excited about it than that of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He’s worth all the passion in the world, yet he doesn’t push his love on us.
He gently extends his arms to welcome us in the good times and in the bad.
He graciously offers his love in a way that always invites and never pushes over the line.
Jesus replied, “This is the work of God — that you believe in the one he has sent. John 6:29
Tarrying Grief (Poem)
It’s only been a few months since I saw you last.
Seems like it’s been longer since the day you passed.
I’m trying to remember your last words before departing from this place.
I didn’t realize it would be the last time that I would see your face.
I want to pick up the phone and call you for one of our little talks.
Then I realize you won’t answer and my heart wants to stop.
My eyes look for signs of you and sometimes feel you near.
Then I realize you’re with God and not actually here.
Sometimes I gasp for air in moments of tears and grief
Then our family receives a painting and their love brings relief.
I wonder how the reunion is going up in heaven above.
Do you see all the others who believed in Jesus’ love?
Are you busy praising God like the scriptures say?
What’s it like to be there in His presence on this very day?
My view from here is skewed but my perspective hasn’t changed.
I will tell others, if only a few, about eternity set for days.
Jesus came to save our soul; no other gospel is true.
God’s redemptive love poured out upon the likes of me and you.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11
The Rest of My Story…New Church Home
I am so excited!! We made a commitment to join as members of Blue Mound United Methodist Church on Sunday, November 19, 2017.
We’ve been seeking a new church to call home and we finally found it. Funny thing is, we actually found it a year ago and didn’t know it. A year ago, I was still employed at another Methodist church where we were active members. However, we attended a wedding at this quaint little church last October and fell in love with it then. When my employment ended earlier this year, we started seeking and visiting churches. There are many good churches out there, but it’s sort of like looking for a home and you know it when you find it. Our new church reminds us of a small church we once attended.
Now keep in mind I’m not one of those who loves only small churches. There are many benefits to small churches. However, I love all that comes with a growing church. It’s very exciting to see a church congregation grow and to see people use their spiritual gifts and talents to further God’s work and kingdom.
In today’s reading of God’s Word, I came across 1 Corinthians 9:1-27. There were a few verses that really jumped off the page to me such as verse 14, In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. Let me ask you something. Are you supporting your Pastor? I know for a fact that the congregation I just joined is doing so. They completely love him and will make sure that he and his family are taken care of. How do I know this? I can tell by the way he preaches. In verses 16-19, Paul explains that preaching is not something he can boast about, he is compelled to do it, and says how terrible of him if he doesn’t. Paul goes on to say that even though he is a free man, he has become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.
My new pastor has the heart of a preacher like Paul. I barely know him. But what I do know after having a meal with him, having coffee with him, hearing him preach a dozen or so times, is that he is called to share and preach Jesus Christ and does so beautifully. I am praying for his zeal to continue to share the gospel each week and for many to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
I’m super excited to see what God does in this little congregation as I’m expecting an abundance of unprecedented growth. I believe it to be true that wherever Jesus is preached, people will come, and the church will receive more.
This message is not new.
People are drawn to the gospel.
They come to church seeking.
There’s nothing more powerful and life-changing than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All are welcome to join us Sunday mornings at 10:45am.
I do everything I can to spread the Good News and share in it’s blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:23
A Christmas Prayer
He came that beautiful night in the form of a babe;
He lives today in the hearts that obey.
He knows your name and every little thought;
He loves you in a way that cannot be bought.
This gift of grace and love that lingers
Came wrapped in cloth with tiny fingers.
His presence that night brought far away men—
What a story it is and a way to begin!
It doesn’t stop there; it goes on, you see,
For Christ came and died just for you and me.
May your eyes be open to see the wondrous love
Of the Savior who was sent from heaven above.
May your ears be in tune to the beautiful sound
Of the voice of the Savior whose love abounds.
May your hearts receive hope that your Healer is here;
He has never left you and His presence is near.
May you know you are loved beyond any measure,
For Christ came that night because you are His treasure.
Good news and great joy, as the angels proclaimed,
The birth of the Christ child, in a manger he laid.
My hope and my prayer for you on this day—
May you see God’s love in a whole new way.
For the angel said to them, “Don’t’ be afraid, for look I proclaim to you the good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David”. Luke 2:10-11
Life After 9/11
I realize we are past the 15th anniversary of 9/11/2001 and publishing this post may seem late. However, I beleive the timing is perfect for someone and I’m praying for the person(s) this is meant to encourage. For me, 9/11 it’s a constant reminder that I need a deep relationship with God. Last year I went to New York for the first time in my life and when I returned, I started this post. However, it has been sitting as a draft ever since. I knew when the timing was right, I would share. Here’s my experience and I hope you will come along with me.
Saint Paul’s Chapel was the only building that didn’t sustain damage on September 11, 2001. I recall hearing about this at the time but there’s nothing like seeing it with your own eyes.
It was my first trip to New York and I was so happy to see the city with my precious step-daughter, Chelsea. She invited me to come along on a work trip so we took advantage of the opportunity and went early for the weekend to take in the sites and see a Broadway play.
The whole weekend was amazing! We started day one with a tour of New York City. It was a rainy and windy cold day. It was Fall which is something Texas doesn’t do well. Our tour consisted of bus and boat and it was fantastic! We saw many sites such as the Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial site and much more. Our tour guide, Bernice, was great! You could tell she loved her job and the city.
She shared wonderful details about all the sites and when she talked about 9/11, her story became personal. Seems like everyone has a 9/11 story if you were alive that day. However, her story really resonated with me and I want to share it.
Bernice had a dream the night before 9/11 of planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings. She was scheduled to give a tour of the World Trade Center to a bus load of people at promptly 9:00 am on September 11, 2001. She called in to work and told them that she needed to cancel the tour and would not make it to work that day.
I don’t have to tell you what happened because you know the rest of the story of that horrible day. Bernice praised God for saving her life and others.
Bernice has had other dreams and learned to pay attention to them long ago. On another occasion she dreamed of leaving her apartment and being mugged and badly beaten. When she woke and left her apartment the next day, she was mugged and badly beaten. Bernice has learned something that some of us might want to think about. I believe she listens to God and this is how God speaks to her. He speaks to all of us and often times we are not aware or we choose to ignore.
God spoke to me loud and clear to me following that dreadful September 11th day. You see I had a relationship with God for eternity, but not a relationship for the here and now. The bible tells us that Jesus came they we may have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). The Common English Bible translation says “…so they could live life to the fullest”. I knew he wanted me to find a place to worship and grow in the knowledge of who he was, is, and is to come. That day was a turning point in my life and I sought God with all my heart. Looking back, I’m grateful for taking the next step toward God and can see why he was preparing me for a better life…a life with Him at the center of everything.
Nothing can shake the foundation set in place by the One who delivered me from sin and death. I’ve been able to endure grief, sorrow, pain, and loss because God is my strength. I’ve also been able to experience joy, grace, peace, love, and life because God is my strength.
I believe God gave us a strong message by the standing and unaffected Saint Paul’s Chapel during the 9/11 attacks. There’s no explanation for why that building is still standing as it is literally across the street from where the Twin Towers stood. God purposely preserved this chapel and for me, it’s a message of hope and eternity. Don’t wait another second to follow after God and may you respond to the call he has on your life.
Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
Compassionate Disciples Seize the Day!
I have to be honest, sometimes I don’t feel all that compassionate. I am on staff at Argyle UMC and part of my responsibilities under Congregational Care are to consider when it’s appropriate to help people with charity. When people come in to the church and need help (usually with financial assistance), I have to weigh the situation to see if it’s appropriate for the church to help. We have guidelines to help make the decision and sometimes I say yes and sometimes I say no. I pray every day for God to help me discern what He wants me to do and I take being prudent with church resources very seriously. I have to admit there are times when I can relate to what God said when speaking of the Israelites, he told to Jeremiah in chapter 15, “I am tired of showing compassion”. Sometimes I tire of the requests because there can be many and have to be very intentional to keep my mind focused on the task God has given me. It’s not always easy, but when I fix my eyes on God it gives me endurance to show compassion.
I have a tendency to think there are times when all of us struggle to show compassion. Jesus tells us there are signs of the end of the age and in Matthew 24:12, Jesus says, “Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.” I wonder if it’s possible that in the midst of so much terror and tragedy in our world today that we could become cold or numb. Honestly, it seems that daily we are waking up to another shooting or terror attack. It would almost make sense to put up a wall to protect ourselves of the daily violence happening in our world.
I don’t believe that we want to grow cold, but I could see us becoming numb and cold to the world around us simply as a way of coping. How do we keep that from happening when so much is going on around us?
How do we deal when another terror attack has occurred by those who hate Christians?
How do we keep our compassion for others and how do we honor what Jesus said when tells us to love our neighbor as our self when it seems our neighbor hates us?
Why is it important to be compassionate toward others?
What happens if we are no longer compassionate?
Well the good news is this…
Our God is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth (Psalm 86:15) and because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail (Lamentations 3:22).
Could it be this is how we are set apart as believers in Jesus Christ? When we understand the compassion God had for us through sending his son Jesus, this motivates us to be compassionate toward others.
It’s no surprise that the Hebrew and Greek words translated “compassion” in the Bible mean “to have mercy, to feel sympathy and to have pity.” To be a compassionate disciple means you respond to the suffering and are motivated with a desire to help others.
Compassion always leads to action.
God took action showing compassion when He sent Jesus (John 3:16-17).
In the New Testament, we find Jesus exemplifying all of the Father’s attributes, including His compassion. Here are just a few examples:
- Jesus saw His friends weeping at the grave of Lazarus, He felt compassion for them and wept alongside them (John 11:33-35).
- Jesus was moved with compassion for the suffering of others and went to all the towns and villages, teaching, preaching, and healing every disease and sickness (Matthew 9:35-36)
- Matthew’s gospel tells us Jesus had gone to a remote place by boat and when he came ashore, the people were waiting (a huge crowd). He felt compassion for them and healed them before he divided up the five loaves and two fish to feed the 5,000(Matthew 14:14).
- Jesus had compassion on the crowds (Mark 6:34). When He saw the crowds as sheep without a shepherd. He had compassion for them, for they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he prayed for workers to send out into the harvest.
You see there are many people out there worn out and weary, they don’t know God and they are sheep without a shepherd. Maybe you are like the worker Jesus prayed for to send out into the harvest. People need to hear the good news that Jesus is the Great Shepherd who loves them.
When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus responded that it is to love God with all our heart, mind and strength, Then he added, love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40).
Love your God with all our heart, mind and strength means you have to spend time with God developing the same character of compassion as God. Seek God in asking what He wants you to do and realize that compassion has to be nurtured and practiced. Start by spending time in the scriptures and praying, being in church worship and community with other believers. If possible, seek one or two people to meet with on a regular basis and talk about the scriptures. You would decide before the meeting what book of the Bible to read before the meeting. Admit to each other where you have failed or sinned recently. Remind each other of God’s forgiveness and grace. Then ask each other some questions such as “where have you wasted time this week?” We are calling this DNA (Disciple, Nurture, Accountability) teams. John Wesley called them “Holy Clubs”.
What does the second commandment look like when it says to love your neighbor as yourself? Honestly, that is not all that hard unless you are not in a good place due to depression or anxiety. Most of us, love ourselves pretty well so when we think about loving someone else like our self, we should be able to imagine it.
In Luke chapter 10, an expert in the law asked, “who is my neighbor”. I think we ask this same question. Like God, who is my neighbor? Is it literally my neighbor, my coworker, my friend at school, the person I’m standing next to in line at Starbucks or the grocery store?
Jesus took that question “who is my neighbor” and told the parable of the Good Samaritan and how a man was on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho and how robbers stripped him and beat him up, left him half dead on the road. A priest and a Levite saw the man and passed by on the other side. Then a Good Samaritan came along and had compassion on the man and took care of him, he bandaged his wounds, put him on his own animal, took him to the hotel, then the next day, he gave money to the hotel clerk for the man to stay longer and said he would reimburse him for whatever the guy spent over what he gave. So who is our neighbor? Everyone?
God, who do you want me to love?
Those with a different lifestyle?
Different political views?
I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other. John 13:34-35 NIV
So when we love everyone that means people who are different from us, different lifestyle, different color, different politics, different culture, different values.
Understanding how important it is to reach others and being intentional about showing God’s love should move us to be compassionate disciples.
And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32
If you have not accepted the forgiveness of sin through Christ, then you are not going to understand how important it is to forgive others. I invite you to accept the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ and start a new life with him.
Also, know that being compassionate may cost you something. It may cost you time which is a great commodity in the age in which we live. God may move you to a new place in serving or in mission. If you believe in what you are doing in following God’s call to compassion, you won’t mind giving up what’s necessary to follow Him.
Compassion always leads to action.
Imagine what our world would look like if we were all kind and compassionate toward others. We have to understand where people are that don’t know God, they are just doing the best they know how. I would like to challenge you to pray and ask God how you could show compassion to someone.
Robin Williams in the movie Dead Poets Society was trying to inspire and move his students when he told them, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world!!”
We have a legacy left for us by Christians who have gone before us? Some of them, because of their words and ideas changed our world. What would the people who are in heaven say to us if they could communicate with us? What if we could see from their perspective on how to do life here?
I think they might say something like this to us…
Carpe diem brothers and sisters in Christ!
Seize the day and go live an extraordinary compassionate life in the Lord Jesus!!
25 Years of Marriage
25 years ago I married Doug Thomas. It was next to the best decision I ever made. He is a wonderful blessing from God and I’m truly thankful for him. The best decision I ever made was to follow Jesus and I think Doug would agree it was the best decision he made as well. Two people staying married for 25 years is a long time and if you are married, you know marriage is not always easy. I just can’t imagine what our marriage would like without Jesus.
When we married in 1991, I instantly became a stepmom. I had never even dated someone with children but I knew I would love these little girls with all my heart. They were and still are precious to me. Of course, they are grown now with families of their own but they will always be these precious little girls to me. I couldn’t resist but to show you a photo of them on our wedding day.
Courtney was 7 years old at the time and Chelsea was 3. As you can see, Chelsea had decided to cut her bangs the day before our wedding. Her mom (who is a hairdresser) tried to fix them but she cut them so short, it was impossible. It was really funny and I couldn’t help but adore her even more as she rocked back and forth during our vows. Courtney is the quieter one who loved and still loves to read. I love them both and so grateful to God for giving me these two beautiful daughters.
Sharing is important in a marriage. Doug and I have shared our hopes and dreams. We’ve also shared grief and disappointment. Marriage is full of peaks and valleys. If we are open to each other, we can learn in the valleys in order to have more peak moments. It takes listening and being present for each other. I’m not always good at listening because I’m usually the one doing the talking (bless his heart). However, I’m hoping over the years that I’ve made some progress in this area. I love his gentle soul and how sweet Doug is to listen and care for me.
Find something you like to do together. It may not be your favorite thing, but it may be your spouse’s favorite thing. If so, do your best to enjoy it. If you still struggle, ask God for help. I believe God wants us to love being with our spouse. So ask God to help you love what your spouse loves. For us, it’s going on a motorcycle ride. Now I’m a fair weather rider so it needs to be nice and sunny for me to hop on the motorcycle with my husband. When I go with him, I just love getting away and enjoying the open air together. It’s refreshing and renewing.
When the kids are grown and you find yourself an empty nester or almost empty nester, make sure and get to know each other again.
As much as you try not to focus on the kids or work, it’s almost impossible not to when it comes to the needs of your children or the demands of work. However, make time for dates and stay connected. One day the kids will leave (well hopefully) and it will be the two of you. Make intentional time together along the way and keep those date nights, they are critical to your marriage.
We’ve changed a lot over the past 25 years. It’s so evident when you look at where we started. However, I can’t imagine changing with anyone else. I love this man of mine! I can’t control him, I can’t change him, I can only love him. By the way, I don’t want to control or change him. Well maybe early on in our marriage but we won’t go there (smiley face).
What makes a marriage last 25 years and counting? Love! Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Do You Love Me?
It was 3:30 in the morning and I heard a voice. My alarm was set for 5:00am. I needed to get up early and get to work at the church. So it surprised me when three times He asked…
“Kim, do you love me?”
Yes I love you.
“Kim, do you love me?”
You know I love you.
“Kim, do you love me?”
God, you know I love you. Why are you asking me this? Then I heard Him say, “Feed my sheep”.
I knew immediately God was speaking of the church.
I also knew He told Peter this same thing in John 21:15-17.
Commentaries tell us when Jesus had this conversation with Peter, He asked him three times “do you love me”. It’s believed this dialogue was symbolic of the three times Peter denied Christ as a way of reconciling their relationship.
I believe God woke me and asked me this same question because people are starving for Jesus. So I asked myself…
Am I giving them sustenance?
Am I giving them the bread of life?
Am I giving them living water?
Am I giving them Jesus?
I’m currently taking a Disciplemaking course along with twelve other people. I’ve been praying about something I heard while taking the course. The presenter asked if we loved our mission more than we love Jesus.
Let’s think about this for a moment and reflect on the question.
Do we love our mission more than we love Jesus?
I have been putting several words in the place of “mission” such as family, ministry, myself (ouch). I have been reflecting on just how much I love others or other things. And do I love those things more than I love Jesus. Anything else that I put in the place of Jesus becomes an idol and a form of idol worship.
If I truly love Jesus more than anything else, then my desires line up with God’s desires. Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. His will is accomplished for my life and I’m living out the mission of being a Christ follower. Am I doing that?
Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this of John 21. Three times Christ committed the care of his flock to Peter: Feed my lambs; feed my sheep; feed my sheep. Those whom Christ committed to Peter’s care were his lambs and his sheep. The church of Christ is his flock, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28), and he is the chief shepherd of it. In this flock some are lambs, young and tender and weak, others are sheep, grown to some strength and maturity. The Shepherd here takes care of both, and of the lambs first, for upon all occasions he showed a particular tenderness for them. He gathers the lambs in his arms, and carries them in his bosom. Isa. 40:11. It is the duty of all Christ’s ministers to feed his lambs and sheep. Feed them, that is, teach them; for the doctrine of the gospel is spiritual food.
The doctrine of the gospel is spiritual food. Now that’s something to digest!
This Lenten season, I’m asking God to make me aware of opportunities to share the love of Jesus by feeding His sheep. I’m repenting of all those times I have not fed His sheep or loved them well.
Would you like to join me?
Accessorize Your Life
Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? Have you already given up on it? I would like to propose a different type of resolution. One that can be found in the scriptures.
Colossians 3:1-3, 10, 12-14 The Message
3 1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. 3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life.
10Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.
12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Did you receive new clothes for Christmas? Did you open a gift or two with new clothes? What about a new accessory? Did you receive a jacket, shoes, boots, hats, belts, gloves, jewelry, or scarf? If you received a new jacket, would you put your new jacket on top of or over your old jacket? What if you opened a gift and it was a belt. Would you put on your new belt on top of your old belt? No, that would be crazy. I love how these scriptures use clothing as a metaphor for how we are to live in Christ.
When it comes to a new life in Christ, let’s go back and see what Paul says we are to take off.
5-8 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. 9-11 Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. We have to intentionally rid ourselves of the old ways that causes us to sin.
Asbury Bible Commentary asked the following question, “Does this transformation occur in a moment or is it progressive?” The answer is, Yes! John Wesley said that “put to death” means to “slay with a continued stroke”. In other words, while God’s transforming work is decisive, it is also perpetual. We are being renewed day by day, transformed from one degree of God’s glory to another. So we must die to self daily, and constantly put away evil. This is both our privilege and responsibility as those who bear the image of Christ.
Luke 9:23, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
I don’t recall anyone having to teach me to sin. I’m pretty sure I could disobey when I was a toddler and Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it.
Paul goes on to tell us that we need to remove those old ways that are connected with the old life meaning sin. Verse 9, You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes. What do ill-fitting clothes look like? They don’t fit, they are either too big or too small. You have a new custom-made wardrobe by God with his label on it. Those old cloths are out of style…obsolete. You can try to put on those old cloths but they won’t fit and you won’t be happy because you have the Holy Spirit living inside you prompting you, speaking to you and nudging you toward Christ.
- As a Christ follower, we are someone new and made to dress in the likeness of Jesus Christ. We are to clothe ourselves in Christ’s image.
12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you (clothe yourselves): compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength (meekness), discipline (patience). Be even-tempered (bear with one another, make allowance for each others faults, accept one another), content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment (it binds everything together in perfect harmony, perfect bond of unity). Never be without it.
- We are chosen for this new life of love so dress like it. Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
When we lay down those things our human nature wants to do, we are renewing our minds on what is above and not what is on the earth.
13Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
What does it mean to be quick to forgive? What does it mean to forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you? Well let me ask you how much forgiveness have you needed from God? I don’t know about you but I’ve needed a lot of forgiveness from God and others. I mess up all the time and if it weren’t for grace, I don’t know what I would do. As I meditated on this, I was asking God if I am quick to forgive an offense? Do I offer forgiveness to others like I want in return from God? This is thought provoking and reminds me of a story.
Recently I had a bad day. My husband had been sick with a cold and was coughing…A LOT. After two sleepless nights, I moved to the guest bed. A storm moved through during the night and woke me up. It was too early to get up so I went back to bed after the storm passed. Well I overslept and this threw me into overdrive to get ready and get out the door to a meeting that I was leading. As it turns out, I was ten minutes late. It wouldn’t have been so bad except we had a guest coming to our meeting and I forgot to let her know that we had changed meeting time to 15 minutes later that morning. So she arrives 25 minutes before I do. You can imagine how bad I felt and apologized profusely as she and some of the other persons were leaving the meeting room as I arrived.
She was so gracious and forgiving to me which is something I didn’t deserve but really appreciated. She had a choice and she chose grace. Oh I forgot to mention that this is not my first offense with her. I’ve needed her grace before. There’s an incident in our past where she exhibited forgiveness and grace to me. She didn’t have to forgive me and offer grace to me either time but she did. I see someone who displays love, forgiveness, and grace over and over. I see God in her because isn’t He the one who offers love, forgiveness, and grace over and over? Isn’t He the one who equips us to offer love, forgiveness, and grace over and over?
One other thing I need to share about this story of forgiveness is that I thought because of our past that our relationship was fragile but actually it’s quite the opposite. Our relationship is very strong. Two people who offer grace and forgiveness over and over are stronger because the more we forgive, the more we love.
Have you ever prayed the Lord’s Prayer? Have you ever considered the part, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We are asking for as much forgiveness from God as we have given to others. It’s something to think about.
- So accessorize your life with grace and forgiveness. That’s exactly what the Father does for us all the time.
14And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
The Japanese ceremonial dress consists of layers of expensively decorated cloths which are draped over a person, each beautiful in its own right. But the costume is incomplete until the belt is placed around the waist, holding the costume together. In a similar way, love functions as the primary virtue with which a Christian is to be clothed.
- No matter how much you are offended or how much you disagree, wear love. It’s your all purpose garment never be without it. Love binds us together.
So let me ask you. What’s in your closet? What’s in your heart? Have you given up your old self and old ways? Have you come to a place where it’s just not working any more. Could it be you need to tell God you are sorry for the ways you have failed him, for your sin? Do you need to clean out the old and ask God for the new way of life in Christ? Why not start off the year with a new wardrobe? It’s not too late.
Maybe you have a relationship with Jesus and need to put on some new accessories. Put away those old accessories and start wearing the new accessories God had custom-made just for you. Just ask God, He is waiting.
Don’t wear those old clothes any longer or don’t wear those old accessories. God has brand new custom wardrobe just waiting for you.
Go now and resolve to wear love, it’s your all purpose garment never be without it.
Happy New You!