Thursday, March 7, 2019

What is your 'back story'?

Are you a people person? You probably know the type of individual I am referencing here - that one who is so comfortable around everyone and just 'fits in' wherever they go. There are those who just like the comfort of a few close friends and then there are others who seem to flourish in huge crowds of friends. I am probably more like the former than the latter - just really comfortable with a few close friends and a little less comfortable with those 'larger crowd' of friends. Did you realize the Holy Spirit actually helps us be good friends - to be comfortable around people - and to have those really good relationships with them? He is God's gift to us in so many ways, but this particular 'gift' to us is significant because it is often in others that we see elements of God's love and grace in ways we don't always see it in ourselves. We have the opportunity to get to know God when we get to know those God brings into our circle of influence - because the Holy Spirit is helping us to see him there!

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. (2 Timothy 1:7 TLB)

God gives us glimpses into who he is, how he operates, and what his grace can do in a person's life as we observe those ones God places within our circle. We see glimpses of his power - because those individuals reflect that power in the "miracle moments" when God intervenes in their lives and shows himself strong on their behalf. As we behold his power on display, we are gaining knowledge of how God's power can also be displayed in our lives. We see glimpses of his grace - because God doesn't just surround us with individuals who have no issues or problems. He surrounds us with others who are just as 'faulty' as we are - those who 'mess up' sometimes as much and perhaps even more than we do. It isn't because God wants us to see their flaws, but because he is helping us to see how limitless his grace really is - and how his grace goes about restoring individuals, not just to their former state, but to a better state than they ever knew before.

Some of us will freely admit we are not always comfortable with others. It may be that we are a little intimidated by how 'perfect' their lives look on the outside. Yet, the Holy Spirit helps us see what those individuals are really like just beneath the surface - as 'imperfect' as we are and on this same journey toward 'getting things right' just like us! We don't need to be intimidated by others - we need to be embraced by them. We need the strength they have experienced and we also need to understand they haven't always stood strong. It is that developed strength that we behold, but it is the 'back story' that we don't always understand. The strength is there because of the work of God in their lives and we need to get close enough to see how God helped take all those things in their 'back story' and work them together to produce this strength in them. We learn as we relate - we receive as we embrace each other. We need each other and we need the Holy Spirit to help us get close enough to the other person to actually understand and learn from that 'back story'! Just sayin!

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