Hey friends, how are you today? There is snow on the ground, and it’s cold; a miserly 28° and that’s the high temperature today. Usually, days like these call for comfort robes and socks and Netflix and cuddles. But today, I have to go out and comfort robes, socks and Netflix will have to wait.
A few weeks ago, Jazz, our beloved pet, did the unforgivable. This audacious cat had the gall to gift me a mouse! In my defense it was so very unexpected that the scrambling to get away and the screaming was unavoidable. Again, in my defense, in our home, everything has a place, and everything was in its place and there is definitely no place for a mouse. Jazz was highly offended when I clearly showed I did not appreciate her gift; she just simply stared at me, instead of keeping her eyes on her prize, which quickly tried to escape to a new hiding place.
Thankfully my husband was at home at the time because the whole house might have been in some danger. But after a few minutes, he found the still living mouse and put it back outside, from whence it came. Of course, he could not see the problem, he just shook his head in disbelief. Of course, I had to remind him that after twenty five years of marriage, he should know me better now. Jazz and I had a very severe sit-down conversation after that little mishap, “mouse stays outside; cat stays inside, if cat want to live to enjoy all her nine lives!” Needless to say, we’ve not had another mouse encounter. Hopefully she has learned her lesson, but it could also be that it is now too cold for the mice. I suppose the snow and the cold have it’s uses; the undesirables hibernate.
When I was a little girl, I used to regard the Lord as a great, big lion or cat lying in wait to pounce on unsuspecting Christians when they sin. In my imagination, He stood by just waiting to administer punishment. To me, He was simply the God who judges and because I did not want to be punished, I tried to be good. This became the pattern by which I lived for quite a few years. I weighed my good against my bad and thought to myself that as a Christian, I was pretty good. I participated in church activities, I served others and I reprimanded others when they faltered, I was a bit rebellious at home, but that was just one slight, sometimes justifiable, bad behavior compared with several good ones and my good outweighed my bad.
The Word of God does not return void, does it (Isaiah 55:11)? Eventually the Lord had my attention and two schools of thought had to be changed. The first was about God. He does lie in wait for me, but not to punish but rather to redeem. He placed roadblocks with His Word or people or circumstances because I am prone to go astray. He sends me reminders of His grace and mercy. He hastens to forgive me and bring me back into His fold. The truth is simply this: sin has consequences! God does not lie in wait to punish me for my sins. Sin comes with its ready-made consequences and my Good and gracious God tempers the consequences of sin with grace and mercy. He still does not give me all what my sin deserves.
The second lesson I had to learn was about me. I am not good; I never was and I never will be good. I was made in sin and there is no good found in sin. One sin is one too many for this holy and righteous God and I cannot claim to possess one sin and as Christians, we should know better. As Christians, we’ve been called to do good and perform good works, but I inaccurately tried to do this in my own strength. Initially it was not intentional, but as a Christian, the Lord performs a good work in me, and I began to look good to me. I took the good that my Invisible God brought to my life and made it mine and that was my downfall and for a while my faithless heart thought that meant I am good now. I brought the standard down to mere man’s and when compared to me, I turned out to be pretty good, but that was never my good to claim.
Well pride and self really have no place when our eyes are on the Lord. Eventually, He allows truth to sock into our lives, eventually He opens our eyes to truth. The truth is God is good and I am not. The truth is sin has consequences. The truth is obedience to the Word of God brings blessings.
How are you today? What lessons has 2020 taught you?