Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bold as lions

Guilt has a way of making us "edgy" - nervously irritable, impatient, anxious - maybe because we fear we will be 'found out' somewhere along the line for whatever it is we are feeling all that guilt over. One of the most "telling" characteristics of someone who is feeling a sense of guilt is that sharp edge that they get to their tone whenever they feel they need to defend themselves in their present state. It is human nature to either want to defend our actions, or to run from the scene in an attempt to escape the emotional upset guilt brings. WE want an 'out', while GOD wants an 'in'!

The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one's after them; honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions. (Proverbs 28:1)

We each have a unique opportunity to touch "edgy" people with the grace of a forgiving God, but it might be harder to take the 'edge' off someone if they really don't want anyone to know of their guilt. In scripture, there is something referred to as the two-fold call of the disciples - it involves both preaching repentance and then revealing there is forgiveness of one's sins. We are not exempt from this call today. It is our duty to point guilt-ridden (edgy) people to the only thing that can really set them free from that guilt: Christ. Repentance is really the actionable part that man plays in the process - it is the change of one's mindset that begins the process of allowing healing to occur within. Forgiveness (or remittance) of our sins is God's part.

Honest people are upright in their character - there is no contradiction in their character - in other words, there is consistency between actions and words. They live relaxed and confident lives. We can see so many people living under the stress of life, never really enjoying their lives, living in a rather mixed up way, but never really feeling 'settled' in anything they do. Relationships are a mess, possessions do not satisfy their desires, and all attempts at success and fame leave them just a little emptier than they were before. Why? They lack the "relaxation" and "confidence" that comes from having their lives truly in order as it should be - ordered by the God of the universe, not by anything they can do or achieve.

What can we do to help point people to Christ? I honestly believe that a life that has been frequently touched by the Lord of Lords is "noticeable" - there is a difference in the basic way we process life and deal with life's occurrences. This difference acts as a little bit of a "lure" to peak the curiosity of the one who is observing us. It opens the doors to conversation and questions that stimulate further exploration. A redeemed soul reflect so much of God's grace and hope through the eyes - remember, the eyes are the window to the soul. Don't be afraid to let others "notice" what God has done in your life.

I know that we all have opportunities to be more sensitive to the "openings" God creates that are provided to share what it is that gives us hope, empowers us to live differently, etc. We often miss these open doors because we aren't looking for them. Others are frequently looking at things with a "different eye" for the detail than we may be seeing at that same moment. We each see and interpret life in a different way - even though we are in similar situations. Don't be afraid to share what God has given you a "view of" in your walk - it often differs from that of another - and may very well be exactly what they need to break free from what has them bound at this moment. Trust God for opportunities. With each opportunity, he gives insight. With each bit of insight, he gives the grace to express that insight. With each expression of his grace, he sends his Spirit to back it up with the power that plants the seed deeply. With each planted seed, he brings the future opportunities for the seed to take root and to eventually affect the one in which it was planted. We may not see much of an immediate result - but a seed planted is all he may be asking for from us at that moment. God's kids are unique and that uniqueness gives us an edge in a very "edgy" world. Let's allow our light to shine and see what that accomplishes in those we touch this week. Just sayin!