Reflection

It is nearly the end of 2017. This has been one doozy of a year, hasn’t it?

Everything I thought I knew seems to now be wrong, bad, or something for which I should be ashamed. Some days I turn on the television and I am blasted with all sorts of nastiness and I just feel like I should go take a shower. I’m not going to recount the issues and then provide a counterbalance. That is someone else’s job. I’m just here to share the only way I know how to cope.

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.      Ephesians 4:1-3

Lead A Worthy Life

I used to tell my oldest granddaughter to “Take care of yourself it is a full time job.” She, being the first for many years and oldest believed that it is her job to manage other people. She was quick to tattle, and find fault with everything other kids (especially her sisters) did while ignoring her own situation. Isn’t this an applicable life truth for all of us.

In a world where we are obsessed with what sins other people have committed, and all the wrongs that were done two hundred or more years ago, I think we need to stop pointing fingers and feigning outrage and just take care of our own life. Look inward more than outward. I know for me there is plenty of junk I need to deal with long before I even think about pointing fingers at someone else.

Characteristics Of A Worthy Life

Humility

Some days it seems as if the self esteem movement has wiped humility off the face of the earth. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. Remember the Golden Rule?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

That is humility in action. Having a strong self esteem means living in a way that says you have intrinsic value, God given value. Life circumstances can chew us up and spit us out, but this truth never changes. What changes is whether or not we choose to believe in the Truth.

What an amazing world this would be if we all just went back to kindergarten and lived by The Golden Rule.

Gentleness

Oh my goodness how we need this in our world. Be gentle with your words and actions. Our politically correct environment has made it difficult to have conversations with folks because we are so fearful of saying something that might offend them. We have managed to make the most vulgar of curse words everyday language while at the same time overthinking the simplest of phrases. I return to the Golden Rule, if you wouldn’t want it said about you or done to you, don’t say it to or about someone else, or do it to them either. Be gentle.

Patience

In our “got to have it now society” the ability to be patient with one another has been replaced with road rage shootings and blatant acts of aggression. Put up with one another. Let others do and be who they are; stop requiring they behave just like you think they should.

I find myself getting impatient with folks who just stroll down the isles of the grocery store, stopping in the middle, leaving their cart blocking the way. An entire conversation rolls through my head as I complain about how self centered they must be to think they are the only person in the store. Fortunately none of this comes out of my mouth, but the truth of the matter is they aren’t doing this simply because they are rude, they are likely as focused on their shopping as I am on mine. So, I allow them the space and if I am in a hurry I will smile and say “Excuse me.” What a simple solution. This, too goes back to that one simple rule.

Love

This is another over used thus trivialized word in today’s society. The love required to live a worthy life is transformative and begins with the love shown us through Jesus Christ. He loved so that we can love. This is not romantic or even parental love. This is a love that literally changes us from the inside out. It is the only love that can change the world. I believe that what we are seeing in our world today is the result of God’s people not being this kind of love to the world. Our light has dimmed as we become more like the world around us. I include myself in this – no finger pointing happening here.

How To Acheive A Worthy Life

So, how do we as mere mortals live in a manner such as I have outlined? Our humanity often prevents us from acting in such a gentle and loving manner. I know that I am unable to do it under my own power. If I don’t have a loving and kind influence, my mind can get very dark and vindictive.  Without the love of Jesus I am powerless to live up to this standard. But because of God’s love for me I can (and should) extend that love, patience, kindness, and gentleness to others.

We, as believers, should be living in unity with one another, in a peaceful and loving manner so that we can show the world what a worthy life looks like in action.

We shouldn’t publicly argue doctrine or spend our time pointing fingers at people who don’t live the way we think they should. That’s not our job. Our job is to love like we are loved. Jesus showed love and compassion to everyone and we should do the same.

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and look ahead, I have three goals for the new year.

  1. Fill your heart and mind with God’s word so there is no room for the ugly stuff.
  2. As you encounter people – in all situations – pray that they “be rooted and grounded in love.”
  3. Practice The Golden Rule in all aspects of your life.

Imagine, if we all lived this way, what a wonderful world it would really be.

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