Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spot Mop Your Walk

Keeping the floors looking beautiful is one of management’s top priorities in the grocery store where I work. Therefore twice a year or so the store locks its doors in defiance of the normal open-24-hours policy in order to strip off the old wax and apply a shiny new coat. In between those times, however, the floor is kept clean by an employee who regularly walks up and down the aisles, a mop in one hand and a spray bottle in the other. He squirts water on any dirty spots he finds and wipes the floor clean and dry with the mop. Daily every inch of the floor is inspected and treated as necessary.

Jesus tells us in John 13 that our spiritual lives need the same kind of attention. At the beginning of our walk with the Lord each of us was washed clean when we repented of our sins and made Him the Lord of our lives. And there may be other times in our spiritual journey when we have to shut down completely and ask for forgiveness for some major sin we’ve allowed into our lives. But most of the time we just need to inspect ourselves daily, ask the Holy Spirit to point out areas in our walk that are spotted with sin and then be washed in Living Water to be made clean and fresh once more. Not only does such action keep us in right relationship with God, but it keeps our spiritual journey attractive to those who may be shopping for something more in theirs.

“Jesus answered, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet;
his whole body is clean…’”
(John 13:10 NIV)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Spiritual Driver's License

Desperate to get his driver’s license, my 16-year-old son waited nervously for the driving examiner to approach the car. Confident of his abilities on the road, it was the maneuverability portion of the exam that was a challenge to him. Steering the vehicle forward and back, to the right and to the left without hitting the orange cones on the corners of the test area had been to this date more than he could manage. After his first failed attempt he’d spent several hours in empty parking lots practicing the maneuvers. What once had seemed next to impossible he now could do successfully almost every time. Despite the knots in his stomach he believed he could pass the test today.

We face the same struggle in the spiritual realm. Before God places us behind the wheel of any ministry He tests us, sometimes repeatedly, to see if we can operate spiritually within the boundaries He’s designated, moving forward and back, to the right and to the left at His command. Like my son we sometimes try to move ahead before we’re ready and are frustrated by God’s insistence that we remain in training a little longer. But soon the day comes when we find that we can move in the spiritual realm around whatever obstacles the enemy places before us with ease. It’s then that God can trust us with the keys that unlock the doors to ministry and sends us on our way, confident in our ability to bring ourselves and our spiritual passengers safely Home.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved; a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Shepherd's Voice

A devout believer, a friend of mine couldn’t understand why she was having difficulty hearing God’s voice. She assumed that He just wasn’t talking to her. I tried to explain to her that God talks to all of us all the time. She just had yet to learn how to differentiate His voice from all the others that call out to her on a regular basis.

The woods around our house are host to a large population of red-bellied woodpeckers, and for a long time I assumed that I’d never heard one call. Eventually I associated a peculiarly throaty birdsong with this particular species and suddenly realized that I’d been “hearing” it for years - I just hadn’t made the connection between the two. Once I learned to recognize the call I was able to readily identify it in the midst of all the other bird chatter that I hear regularly. I was thrilled to be able to tell when one was near, just from the sound of its voice.

Likewise it takes time spent in God’s presence for a new believer to recognize His voice when He speaks to her. Yet once we learn what it sounds like we recognize Him speaking to us wherever we are and whatever else we may be doing. From that point on we won’t confuse it with any of the other voices that compete for our attention in the spiritual realm.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."
(John 10:27 NIV)
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