… Don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books... 2 Peter 1:5-9(1)
The past week has been filled with challenges. I kept dodging one verbal confrontation after another but it seemed the more I dodged, the more frequently they came at me. I thought I was doing fine in defending my position until an honest listener told me I had dropped the ball. I was lovingly told that I could have handled the situation differently. I didn’t think so. I was ready to defend myself when the truth hit me as I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me I had indeed missed the mark. (The good thing is God helped me with the rebuilding process.)
At first, I didn’t see what she was saying. As far as I knew, God had already fixed this problem. Truth is, God had worked on an earlier issue but unless I practiced responding as He would, it is highly likely that I will fall into that trap again. “…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” – Romans 10: 17. (2) I have heard, therefore I have faith but what was I building on this faith? Had I been faithful in responding in His love. Did I allow Him to shine through my thoughts? My attitudes? Did my reaction to the unfair treatment display Godly characteristics? If I show “generous love” to a friend in need and refuse to apply “passionate patience” to a stranger who pushed me to the limit, what am I really building?
As Christians, we don’t always experience joy-filled days but we have the advantage. We can choose to share Christ in our response or we can choose to fight fire with fire. He knows we will meet broken people. He knows we will face challenging times. He knows we will be tested to our limits. There is good news. He has made provision! His blood was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins – He only needed to die once but we must ‘die daily to self’! Our flesh will do all it can to dominate but we must allow Him to help us build on what He has deposited in us before the crisis hits.
I know I don’t always do a good job of reflecting His love in the way I respond but I am thankful that His mercy still flows. Someone may lash out at us because they are having a bad day – we can choose to let His love guide our responses. His detours and delays are necessary for our development. If He demolishes our pride in the process of building our faith and trust in Him, it will only be for our own good. His construction may appear to cause us inconvenience and delay but we’ll get farther ahead if we follow His plans.
Father, I have no words to thank You for the way You love. I cannot honestly say I have represented You each time I open my mouth but still You desire to draw me close to You. Please forgive my mistakes. Those around me hear what comes from my lips but You see deep into my heart. I thank You for the attitude checks You have been giving me. Please help me to keep Your principles foremost in my thoughts.
Construction zones cause delays but they are necessary for the building up. I would rather wait on You to make me what You want me to be than to run off in my own strength, incomplete and prone to failure. Teach me how to truly build “good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love,” to the glory of Your name. Help me to see You in those I come across. Someone may be in the midst of a painful experience causing them to act negatively towards me. That does not give me the right to respond in like manner. I fully believe that nothing happens to me by chance. You know every person who will cross my path – even the ones I don’t readily embrace. Help me to push pride aside and to trust You to accomplish Your purpose. May Your will truly be done.
(1) Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright � 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”
(2) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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