Today’s culture probably would call her a packrat at best and a hoarder at worst. But I prefer to think of my grandmother as a resourceful steward. As a young bride during the Great Depression, Grandma kept everything – rubber bands, safety pins, and bobby pins. As she aged she still kept everything and then some – puzzles, games, and word and number search books. And even though she passed away while I was in junior high, I was working on one of those recently.
It is so tempting to find the first three numbers in the puzzle and think: “Eureka! I have found it!” Only to keep going (sometimes after making a partial circle around them) and realize the rest of the numbers don’t match. It is such a letdown. It’s the wrong one. It is obvious. The list says 35463 not 35473.
“It’s only one number off.” Some could rationalize circling it anyway. But we all know it is an imposter – the real one is still in the puzzle…somewhere.
Imposters exist in life too. “This movie/book looks like good, wholesome fun.” Only to get thirty minutes in and to realize it is cluttered with dirty language and lust.
“This hobby is no big deal.” Only to get three weeks in and realize it is sucking more and more time and energy from your relationships that really matter.
“He/She looks like a committed Christian.” Only to get three months into a relationship and realize that is just one face they put on.
They were all imposters.
But praise God -- just like the number search -- life also has a list of what to look for to avoid imposters. By their fruits you will know them, Jesus proclaimed. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, Paul elaborated (Galatians 5:22).
“Is this movie/book going to help me be more loving and joyful?” Pause.
“Is this hobby going to allow me to grow in peace and patience?” Ummm.
“Is this relationship encouraging me in goodness and self-control?” Hmmm.
“Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” -- Jesus (Matthew 7:20)
Do you get sunshowers where you live? The desert is the only place I have ever gotten to enjoy them. A sunshower is when it is simultaneously sunny and rainy. The sun’s warmth embraces you even as cooling rain bathes your skin. You hear rain on the roof but see a brilliant sunny day. Such a paradox -- an apparent contradiction.
I love it when God does stuff that surprises us! It is awe inspiring when we are teachable. But it is also just as easy to look at an enigma and say, “I don’t understand that, so it can’t be.”
Instead of admitting my mind is limited, but God is not, it is easier to turn away, “I don’t see how that could possibly exist, so it doesn’t.”
Instead of basking in the surprising taste of God’s glory, it is simpler to pontificate: “In my experience, that can’t happen, so it didn’t.”
The opportunity is right there to let God blow your mind.
So, on second thought, maybe we all have “sunshowers” where we live – we just have to ask God to open our eyes and prepare our hearts to be astounded at His glory!
“And he [Moses] said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
-- Exodus 33:18-23
I was out watering the garden. It was early spring and only the hardiest plants had sprung. But I watered even the brown, dry dirt because I knew there were seeds there. I had no doubt, because that is where the tomato plants were last year. And seeds from cherry tomato plants are essentially unavoidable as the overripe fruit falls and seeds explode onto the soil.
It is like this spiritually too, we water hard, dry soil in hope that they will blossom into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 9:10). The big difference is often we don’t know if seeds are actually there when we set about watering. And we definitely don’t know if they will sprout. Even with the best water and care, not all seeds grow. But still we plant and water and nurture; but it is God Who brings the increase.
Lord, help me keep watering diligently, regardless.
Spring cleaning is not my favorite activity. I throw out things I find myself needing in the future and then keep things for years that serve no discernible purpose. I have a special weakness for art and office supplies (ie. I can rarely throw out a possibly serviceable piece of paper). A set of three shadow boxes has sat under my desk for (whisper) a few years now. They go unused because I am not sure how to use them…yet. I am waiting for a flash of inspiration and then I will use them in magnificent ways that no shadow boxes have ever been used before! And I told them this as I was cleaning today – yes, out loud.
But that verbal reassurance to an inanimate object sparked a mental conversation with an animate and personal God. Praise God He is not like me! He doesn’t forget about us until His yearly spring cleaning. He is always actively seeking our good. He’s not keeping us around until He decides to what to do with us. Jesus has wonderful plans for us right now! He doesn’t leave you in a corner until He is inspired to use you. God is inspired right now – are you?
“…Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” – Titus 2:13-14
My dog knows A LOT about 3 things:
Satan, too, only has three basic options to get us off God’s road. He can:
Lies are an attempt to deceive and foist a delusion on us instead of allowing us to understand reality. Satan lies to us to OBSCURE the TRUTH all around us.
Accusations are meant to discourage us from following the truth we do know. And Satan accuses us to ourselves and to God to induce us to DOUBT the TRUTH of God’s promises.
See the common thread? The TRUTH. And the Truth is found in the Person and Word of Jesus Christ We fight Satan, his temptations, his falsehoods, and his false claims by knowing, obeying and clinging to the Truth.
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation…I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2b,18
Believe what God says.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.