I have a feeling God is teaching me something and I must not be listening closely enough because he’s repeating the lesson OVER AND OVER again. Let me rewind my week for you……
Sunday – The sermon this week was on gracious living. Pastor Jeff explained to us that we have to dress ourselves in gracious living, just as we put on pieces of clothing. We talked about putting on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. When we put on compassion, we have to not only be sympathetic but also move into action by that compassion. So, you don’t just feel badly for someone, you figure out how to meet their needs. Kindness is not natural for us. We don’t have to teach kids to be mean to one another but we do have to teach them to be kind to one another. Humility is a matter of showing respect – even when we don’t want to. It’s asking “How can I help?” Gentleness is a soothing ointment to the soul, a gentle breeze. Patience is a matter of taking off the annoyance and touchiness and giving others the patience to allow God to grow them. So, I’m sure you can see that I have much to learn and much to put into practice.
Monday – Before heading to work I read my Advent devotional. Hmmmm…….Grace seems to be the word of the week. This first week of Advent we’re discussing the lineage of Jesus. Specifically one woman in that lineage – Tamar. Tamar was Perez’s mom. Her father-in-law was actually Perez’s dad. Twisted and complicated story that was cleaned up by God’s grace. You see, Tamar was married to Judah’s oldest son, Er. Because Er was wicked in God’s sight, Scripture tells us God put him to death. Then Tamar was given to Er’s brother Onan so that she might bear a son to the family. But Onan didn’t want a child with Tamar so he deceived her and the Lord also put him to death. Judah then promised his youngest son, Shelah, to Tamar once he was older. BUT Judah went back on his word. When Tamar realized this she disguised herself and slept with her father-in-law so that she might still have a son. Judah recognized the error of his way and then treated her properly. She ended up having twin sons, Perez and Zerah. This lineage eventually leads to Boaz and then on to David.
Tuesday – Grace is still bouncing around in my head and I’m still looking for opportunities to express gracious living. Today, it was best to let some things go unexpressed. Sometimes it really is best just to keep my mouth closed.
Wednesday – Again my Advent readings are about grace. What really stood out today is that every bit of this dark, messy, uncomfortable, embarrassing, scandalous journey is included in the Bible for a specific purpose. This is the journey that highlights our great need, that makes salvation that much more longed-for and that makes the arrival of the babe in the manger that much more personal.
So, now I’m looking for ways to live out this gracious living. I’m so thankful for the grace extended to me, but how good am I at extending that same grace to others? Strangers? Acquaintances? Friends? Family? Myself?
I hope God keeps speaking into my life. Sometimes it feels like a scab being ripped off. Sometimes it’s like that balm to the soul. Either way, He keeps me challenged and growing……and that is always the best.