Sunday, July 23, 2017

Oh, I have to APPLY it?

21 So get rid of everything evil in your lives—every kind of wrong you do. Be humble and accept God’s teaching that is planted in your hearts. This teaching can save you. 22 Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. 23 Hearing God’s teaching and doing nothing is like looking at your face in the mirror 24 and doing nothing about what you saw. You go away and immediately forget how bad you looked. 25 But when you look into God’s perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God’s blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard. (James 1:21-25 ERV)
There are definitely times when I take a gander in the mirror early some mornings when my first inclination is just to turn away, believing there is absolutely no help! Hair askew, blemishes seeming to bud out of nowhere overnight, and eyes heavy with sleep - things don't look all that promising! But...rather than turn away, I do the best with what I have been given that day. It may not be perfect, but it the best with what I have to work with! In our spiritual lives, there are times when we look in the mirror, turning almost immediately away in a kind of disheartened manner, thinking things will not change in our hearts or minds. Things seem to just "stay the same", or worse yet, they seem to change, but in a negative fashion. We don't like what we see, but we don't know how to change it, either. The good news is that a humble heart and an open mind can actually be the framework by which God can "pile in" his word and create anew what we have no idea how to change!
The Word of God isn't there as a mirror that allows us to ignore or neglect whatever is reflected there - it requires us to deal with what we behold. If you have ever read a certain passage and then said something such as, "Oh my... That certainly hit the nail on the head", then you know exactly how the Word of God is a mirror that does more than "reflect" back to us an image of imperfection. It has a way of showing us not only where those flaws exist, but how to use what we have to see those imperfections made better and better over the course of time, but....we have to apply what we have been given. It is like having all manner of make-up available on the bathroom counter and then just thinking it is going to somehow affect your appearance by just looking at it! Well, duh...it isn't going to just apply itself! You have to do something with what you have at your disposal!
A lot of the time we really do not realize God has planted this good stuff we need in order to realize change in our hearts and minds - it is already planted - it just needs a little cultivating to make any difference! I don't know where you are today in your walk with Jesus, but here are some words of encouragement:
- You have what you need, even when you don't honestly see evidence of it right now. 
- You are the one to put into use what it is you have been given. God isn't slack in what he provides, but we are often "slackers" in what it is we do with what it he has provided. Take the first step and you may just be dazzled with the difference just a little step like that makes.
- You don't have to get it all right the first time you try. I remember putting on eye shadow the first time - I think it was green. Uhm...just so you know, green is not in my color pallet! It didn't look all the good and I put it on way to thick and way to "inexpertly". You have to try sometimes a whole lot of times until you get some of this right - but don't just give up when it doesn't go well the first time - eventually things will "click" and you will be amazed at the results. Just sayin!