Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Way for the New

     It’s the time of year that we purge our home.  School is wrapping up, fun is around the corner, and it just seems right to start the summer fresh.  So, while in my daughter’s closet cleaning and filling trash bags to the brim, one after the other, I couldn’t help but feel like it was wrong to throw so much away.  We do this serious purging only once a year or so, and she has outgrown so many of the things that we were taking out, but it still just seemed like so much, so wasteful. 

     God has shown me a great deal in the past year and a half.  His promises, that I always have had, have finally become mine.  He has revealed to me that His love is enough and that I only need to go to Him for my needs, no one else satisfies like Jesus.  While cleaning He revealed something else.  In order for me to have a place to store these truths in my heart and mind, I have to let go of the old.  The things I have outgrown need to be purged.  It’s not wasteful, it’s time.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Eph. 4:20-24

     As long as I continue to store my old ways, lack of self control, impatience, self-pity, selfishness, the list goes on.  I can’t possibly take down the new ways from the shelf and try them out.  They are waiting in limbo for a place to call their own.  Sure, I use them sometimes, more than I used to, but until they have a permanent place, I won’t readily reach for them.  I’ll keep reaching for the old raggedy, worn-out methods that are cluttering my heart and mind.  It’s not wasteful to dispose of the old, sometimes it’s necessary.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

That's What Friends Are For

    When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
     But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
      Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

    The message of this passage is obviously that Naaman didn’t have the faith to do what he was told to be healed, but when he finally obeyed, he was.  There is also a pride message here.  One in that Naaman seemed to know better than the prophet what needed to be done, almost a sense of entitlement on his part.  Of course, these are wonderful messages for all of us.  It’s so important that we listen to truth and obey, it’s crucial that we let go of our pride and change our minds sometimes.  My mind has been changed by the spirit.  It has been changed by reading scripture.  God can change our hearts and minds in many ways and this story illustrates one.
    What if Naaman had no servants, or dare I say, friends?  If they hadn’t been there to convince him, would he still have gone down to the river?  I know there have been times in my life where I just needed someone to convince me of the truth.  Maybe I already knew it and was being stubborn.  Maybe I just wasn’t seeing it at all because of my foolish pride or the lies that were hindering my view of truth.  Whatever the case, my loving friend telling me that truth made the difference between my receiving a blessing and letting one slip by forever.  Thank God for the friends that love us enough to push us toward a better life.  God gave us one another, let us remember to encourage the ones we love.