Today I am asking myself the tough questions — “Does my life exemplify the living proof of the Lord?” “Is there change?”
I wish that I could immediately say — absolutely, yes! However, I need to reflect a bit on this and take a closer look on what it means to exemplify godliness.
My Eyes Saw Living Proof
Years ago I attended a church with a women that in my mind exemplified godliness. Every time that I was around her I would sense the presence of God. She was kind, loving and encouraging. I don’t recall her ever talking bad about anyone. Her focus was always on sharing the Lord with those around her. She often would share with others what the Lord was teaching her and she loved spending time in His presence. In fact she physically radiated a special glow.
I want to share the following scripture with you:
James 1:19-27 NCV
“My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily, because anger will not help you live the right kind of life God wants. So put out of your life every evil thing and every kind of wrong. Then in gentleness accept God’s teaching that is planted in your hearts, which can save you.
Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. But the true happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy.
People who think they are religious but say things they should not say are just fooling themselves. Their ‘religion’ is worth nothing. Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence.”
Definition of Living a Good Life
If I took a poll of 100 people and asked — “what defines a “good life?” — I would get various answers. We all have our own personal definition of what a good life looks like to us. Some people may focus on relationships, while others may focus on material possessions. As I reflect upon the preceding scripture I can’t help but recognize that God’s ways don’t always match up to our ways.
Listening to Understand
How often am I quicker to speak and slower to listen? Too often I have observed others listening to respond instead of to understand. I also have been guilty of doing this. Many communication breakdowns and misunderstandings are a result of not listening to understand the other person. We live in such a rushed pace that it would appear that we don’t have a lot of time for others. I believe that God desires for us to have relationships – with him and with others. In order to have a healthy relationship I need to work on my listening skills. How about you? Can you use a refresher on how to listen so the other person feels heard?
Confession time — this is an area that I continuously work on. It requires discipline, self-control as well as discernment. In addition it has required me to seek God’s help and to pray — for myself and for the person I am angry with. I have had too many relationship breakdowns due to feeling angry and reacting out of that anger. When I peel back the layers of why I am feeling angry I usually find that I was either initially feeling embarrassed or hurt. It is a good idea to examine the cause of your anger the next time you start to feel the emotion rise up within you. You may be surprised at what lies beneath it.
Be a Doer
It is not enough too merely have knowledge of the Bible. I can have all the knowledge in the world but without utilizing that knowledge I am just like a forgotten library with dusty books on a shelf. God didn’t give us His Word to just read like a bedtime story. It is full of great stories — absolutely — but it is so much more than that. I often refer to my bible as my instruction book for my life. It is full of guidance and direction. When I follow it I find that I have greater peace and contentment. I also have healthier relationships — with others as well as with myself.
“[rewards of obedience] Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His precepts, and His commandments [it is your obligation to Him]. — Deuteronomy 11:1 AMP
Obedience doesn’t just stem out of obligation, but out of love. When I am living out God’s word and obeying His ways — I live with peace, contentment and purpose. The more mature I grow in my faith the more I realize the power of His love. The more I realize the power of His love the more I follow His direction — and with less complaining 😀.
“The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience and worship] is a fountain of life, so that one may avoid the snares of death.” — Proverbs 14:27
Fearing the Lord does not mean being afraid of Him. It means having respect for Him. It is acknowledging who He is and what He has done. God does not want to punish us nor does He want us living a life of despair. He sent His son to die so that we could have life — life abundant.
Be Mindful of my Words
” Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” — 1 Peter 3:10 NIV
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ” — Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Another area in which I am a work in progress. I am so grateful for God’s correction and for His grace. I have been developing the skill of thinking before I speak. In addition I try to not have an opinion where I don’t have responsibility. Doing both of these things has saved me from much chaos and has rendered me much more peace.
Caring For Others
Its amazing what happens in your life when you take your eyes off of yourself and put them on others. We are God’s hands and feet. It is our role to help the ones that are in need of help. It is not enough to merely talk about it but to put it into action. I used to attend a church that had a motto — love in action. Here is some food for thought:
Is love really love if there is no action behind it? Or is it merely pretty words?
Is There Change?
I started this by asking myself if my life exemplified the living proof of the Lord. The truth is – everyday I get a chance to see this to fruition. Granted, some days are better than other days. Some days I have greater victory than other days. The key I see is this: — Is there change? Am I changing?
Addition and Subtraction
Living proof of being a Christian is demonstrated with the addition of Jesus in our lives and the subtraction of sin and worldly ways. If we are to exemplify the Lord we must be willing to change. We must be willing to examine ourselves and have the Lord examine us. It is not enough to say we want to do this, we have to take action to actually do it. Being lazy and complacent will not give us the promise of abundance that God has made to us. Holding on to old behaviors and habits is not going to help us to press forward in all that He has for us. Making excuses is not going to give us the victories. Living proof of the Lord is yielding to the changes that God is directing us to make.
Are you willing to yield?
Father God, help me to exemplify You in all my words and my deeds. Silence the enemy who is trying to sway me to worldly ways. Help me to listen to others so that they feel heard and cared for. Forgive me for my misuse of anger. I ask that You heal me from all the hurt that I have buried in my heart. Keep a bridle on my tongue and correct me when my words don’t match up to love. May only words that edifying and build up come out of my mouth. Show me each day, where I can be a blessing to others. Give me direction and guidance daily and equip me to be able to do all that you have asked of me. Help me to be obedient to Your ways and subtract sin from my life. I long to be someone who exemplifies living proof of You. May the words out of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You. May You be glorified in my life. In Jesus’ name ~~ Amen
Blessing ~~ 💞💞💞