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What shape are you in?

I wonder how many of us actually know what it is that has and is still shaping our lives....most of us would guess at a few things, but do we really know? I'd like us to take a moment to really give some thought to what things or people (input) we might find shaping our lives in the present moment. When we really give this a "hard" look, we might be surprised by just how much of a specific person's influence in our lives led to how we "formed" our opinions, beliefs, and actions. The individual may not even know how much they have "shaped" our lives - good or bad. There may also be some influences (input) such as books, events, or actions that really made an impact - good or bad. The simple truth - we are "shaped" by something or someone - it is all based on the "input" we allow to do the "shaping".

Let your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as you promised; then I'll be able to stand up to mockery because I trusted your Word. (Psalm 119:41-42)

This process of adjusting so as to form the character of the one doing the asking is something we give very little thought to in our lives. When we are asking God to do the adjusting of our character so that it aligns with what God designed for our life, we usually find the end result is quite different than if we attempted to 'shape' it on our own. It is by God's love that we were created - it stands to reason the best thing to "form" and "adjust" our character should also be his love. Are we really giving God permission to "adapt" us - to give us direction? Do we really want God's love to "shape our life" - not just so we'll feel good about our self - but so that our life would reflect perfectly the saving power of our God.

The word "shape" comes from the same root word as we get our words "mold" or "model". All kinds of things and people shape (mold) our lives:
- Following God with your entire heart (vs. 2)
- Not entertaining evil - staying pure (vs. 3)
- Using the Word to be what we compare ourselves to, not others (vs. 6)
- Getting into the Word, and allowing it to get into you, until it produces obedience (vs. 11)
- Trusting God to open our eyes to truth (vs. 18)
- Turning to God in tough times (vs. 25)
- Rehearsing the Word of God - until it impacts us deeply (vs. 27)
- Choosing to be faithful; determine to live by what is revealed in the Word (vs. 30)
- Turning away from worthless pursuits (vs. 37)
- Looking to God for help with sin's pull (vs. 39)

The secret of being "mold-able" is in embracing God's love - in that one 'movement into love' we are made into what he desires us to become. There is nothing that can "undo" the "shaping" of our past better than the love of God working on our "present". For some, being embraced by God's love is easy. There is no problem sensing his gentleness, holding onto his hand in tough times, and enjoying the peace of his presence. For others, the shaping power of events and people in the past presents difficulty with allowing anyone to come near enough to "shape" their present living.
Shaping begins with the heart (mind, will and emotions). This puts it squarely on us - we follow, God leads. We choose to follow - we choose to trust. To this we add a change of thought pattern - no longer believing the evil of our past, but counting on the righteousness of our present. Add to this the influence of the Word as our "measuring tool" by which we learn to see ourselves - not the words of those who spoke into our past all those hurtful things that we came to believe about ourselves. These "steps" are the beginning of change - the starting point for being "shaped" by the love of God. In turn, we get into the Word and allow it to get into us - rewriting the "stories" we rehearse. It will be tough - we need to rely on the only one worth relying on - our Savior. Rehearse it until it changes the way we think. Then we add determination to our change in thought - impacting our actions. Through it all, we lean into Jesus. What shaped your past need not hold you bound in your present. Let the love of God shape you anew. Don't think it possible? Test God's love - go ahead! You won't find it fails! Just sayin!

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