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But it seems that...

How little do they see what really is, who frame their hasty judgment upon that which seems. (Daniel Webster)

I pray that he will use his glorious riches to make you strong. May his Holy Spirit give you his power deep down inside you. Then Christ will live in your hearts because you believe in him. And I pray that your love will have deep roots. I pray that it will have a strong foundation. (Ephesians 3:16-17)

If you looked upon my life on any given day, you might not always see the evidence of Christ coming through is some of my actions or words. Why is that? While I have a 'strong foundation' (Christ in me) and believe the 'right stuff' (the Word of God and the Holy Spirit's urging), I don't always make right choices. I speak before I think, step out before I seek direction, and sometimes just lazily approach life as though time didn't matter. If you just looked at the outward, you might form a wrong impression. If you knew the struggle going on inside me between my will and God's on occasion, you might ask why I am still struggling with some of the stuff that seems so simple to you. We are all at differing levels of growth or maturity. We may 'see' something, but not know what it is that is really occurring 'below the surface' inside one's mind, emotions, and soul. When it comes to forming any 'opinion' about another, we need to rely upon God to show us what is truly beneath the surface - not just form our hasty judgments by what 'seems' to be the case.

One of my most favorite quotes from Mr. Webster is the reminder that "the most important thought that ever occupied my mind is that of my individual responsibility to God." That is a bit of a deep one, but I like it because he reminds us of our responsibilities in this walk - it isn't to impress others - it is to please God. We can have all manner of outward appearances that seem to please what others think, while we are doing God a great injustice in our inner man. Webster also said that a strong conviction that something must be done is really the parent of many bad actions! It takes more than strong convictions to live obedient, growing, emotionally and spiritually healthy lives. It takes falling in love with Jesus over and over again. It can require us to leave certain things behind, take up other things, and refocus our lives more often than we might consider to be within our comfort level. This walk with Jesus is not for the wimpy - it requires some 'mustered strength' at times.

You and I may not know how much 'mustered strength' someone is actually working within on any given day, but if we are hasty to judge by the measure of strength we observe outwardly, we may just make irrational judgments. Christ is indeed at work inwardly, but it can take a while for the inward work to get to the outside sometimes! Evidence of that strength may not come through until the work is a little more 'final'. Remembering that roots grow in a periodic and slow manner may actually help us to not be too quick to judge another by what 'seems' to be the evidence of growth in one's life. Just sayin!

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