We are unique. There are some of us who looked very similar to one another. And of course, there are times when you can’t tell twins apart. It is also said somewhere in the world there is a person who is not our twin who looks exactly like us – our “dopple-ganger.” We strive to dress the same, talk the same, and in some cases have similar modes of transportation.
If all this is true, why do we concentrate on the differences? We use our differences in ways that are not flattering to either build ourselves up or to tear another down. Is there a reason we use differences as a negative instead of celebrating them?
As much as we try to look the same, talk the same, gather in clubs to associate with like-minded people, we are all different. If we look at the very building blocks of life, our DNA, we are all different. But I hear you saying, “the normal person can’t look there!” True, but if we can agree on the uniqueness of our DNA, my point is made.
God made us unique, yet we are all the same! Scientists will tell you our DNA is unique to us as individuals. Forensic scientist will back up this claim, as they use DNA to solve crimes in our modern-day era. So, our Creator made us as individuals, or special if you like to think this way.
However, we all look the same! Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” If this is so, and there is no argument there is only one true God, we then all look the same!!!!
Here’s my question: how are we seen? To God, we are unique as He created us to be special in our own way to Him. But by the world, all Christians should look the same! You see, we should be so close to our Heavenly Father on a daily basis, it’s hard to see where He stops and we begin!
This week, if we truly are the hands and feet of Christ, and let Him shine through us, we will all look the same to a world who truly needs the love, presence, and grace of our risen Lord in their lives. Let’s all look the same to the world this week!!!!
I am not one to have a fear of heights. Years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed flying in a helicopter with my legs hanging out the door. It was exhilarating, as I felt like I was flying on my own. I’ve even climbed a 75-foot ladder in the fire service, and didn’t flinch.
A few years ago, I checked a block on my bucket list. Research was done and I found the skydiving school with the best safety record, and I jumped at the opportunity (pun intended). Ground class was required, then we loaded into the little plane – the pilot, the cameraman, and the instructor. At 7,000 feet I hooked into the instructor as it was a tandem jump. At 10,000 feet the door opened, and the rush of wind filled the little Cessna. My heart began to pump and there was a tightness in my chest.
The instructor and I scooted to the door where he told me to hold onto the exit door and to place my foot on the little metal plate outside the door. All I saw was the green pasture 10,000 feet below me! For just a moment I couldn’t move. My hands had a death grip on the door and neither of my feet would make any movement toward that ever-shrinking metal plate outside the door. Fear had me frozen for just a moment.
We see news reports on TV where fear is gripping our nation and the world. News broadcasters are predicting a jump from a world pandemic all the way to anarchy at the speed of light! I have to say, this fear is exactly what the Enemy would have us focus on.
1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” We know God is love. Therefore, in God there is not fear. In God, fear is driven out by Him. In God, we are made perfect in His love.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say to worry about everything, fear everything, or be paranoid about everything. When we focus on God and all His goodness instead of all the bad things we are hearing, all else seems to fade away in His presence. The Good gets even better.
Jesus told His disciples just before His ascension, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” God the Father watches over us. Jesus is always with us. And through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can experience the purest of all love.
Let’s change our perspective and focus on the goodness, mercy, and grace from our Heavenly Father. And let’s open our ears to His Word, and not the words of fear!
Spring is here, and with it comes Spring lawn cleaning! Small branches, brown leaves, and pinecones cover our lawn in the most haphazard fashion. As the lawn and leaf rakes have come out of storage, new gloves purchased, and the image of a finely manicured lawn with beautiful Spring flowers fill our landscaping imaginations.
As we rake, and rake, and rake some more gathering all these unwanted Winter gifts together, pull the dead Fall flower bushes from the beds around the house as well, the thought of burning them is in the forefront of our plans. I saw just that earlier this month as we had a few days of sunshine and warmer temperatures. But as we’ve all experienced, if you gather the debris into a pile and leave it a few days, its going to get wet. We’ve had so much rain this Spring, having a nice dry pile of sticks, leaves, and twigs to burn is a rarity. Face it – all these twigs, leaves and bushes just won’t burn if they are wet!
So, we wait for a nice sunny day to once again rake and fluff our piles trying to dry them out, and prepare them to be set aflame. And for those of you who read this column weekly, you’re ready for the transition question: Is our Christian walk like a wet bush?
How do we “tend” our faith bushes? Do our faith bushes get wet from time to time? Do we all have the same bushes or are they one of a kind?
God wants us to have a relationship with Him. This is the reason we were all created – in His image. And for that matter, we look like our Father, as we worship in spirit because God is Spirit. We are all different, but our spirits are mostly alike.
It seems nowadays we ignore the similarities and look for the differences. If theologians say we are mostly alike, why do we focus on the small differences and ignore the major similarities? In all honesty, if we focus on the similarities, it helps us to see the uniqueness in all of us with greater clarity!
If we try to stand out from the crowd by being unique, are we not using the lesser percentage of our faith? We all have been given spiritual gifts to use to edify and bring glory to the Father. But if we always look at the minor side, we miss the major side of our faith – the side that joins us all together as one big family.
Even a slightly wet bush will burn. We all need to concentrate on the largest part of our faith, stand closer to His fire (the Holy Spirit), and let Him prepare our bushes to be set aflame to burn brightly for His kingdom here on earth. The time will come when we will burn brightly in a place where there will be no more tears to dampen our bushes!!!
Try to get onto any military base in the United States and you will get questioned as to your business, that is unless you have a military identification card. The guards at the gate are given a great deal of authority to allow cars to enter, to pull to the side and receive a pass, or to be turned away all together. Responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the base lies at the highest echelon of command on the instillation, but the authority is filtered down through the levels of command to those standing guard at the gate.
The guards that occupy the east and west gates of our community are no different. They have been given the authority to allow entrance or turn away cars. In both of these examples, authority is used to protect individuals from evil in our midst.
When Jesus cast a demon out of man who could not speak and was blind (Matt 12:22) His authority was questioned by the religious elite – the Pharisees. They accused Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Satan, from which He (Jesus) received the power and authority. We can almost laugh at the blindness created by their hatred for Jesus. He had already cleansed a man of leprosy, a disease considered to be caused by egregious sin against God. To be cleansed, divine intervention had to occur, and then the circumstances of the cleansing had to be investigated by the High Priest, according to the Levitical law. If the High Priest questioned Jesus and the disciples about the cleansing (and we must assume there was an investigation), it would have been determined the only logical answer was to acknowledge Jesus’ divinity. But as we know, instead of adoration there was only accusation by the religious leaders.
So here we have Jesus casting out a demon under very specific circumstances (mute/blind person) – an act only the divine could perform. Instead of praising Jesus and acknowledging Him and His authority over all of creation, they accused Him of deriving His power from Satan himself. We can shake our heads, but their denial of this miracle and the power of Jesus AND the Holy Spirit was an egregious sin in and of itself.
Do we have the authority to do things in this world? Authority can be passed down as in my original example of the guards on a military base. But has authority given to Jesus been passed down to us?
Jesus told His disciples just before His ascension into heaven “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore to and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:18,19). Jesus gave His disciples the authority to spread the Good News and do many things, and it is the same authority given to us today.
We need to acknowledge not only the power we have to move mountains, but most importantly the Person from which we derive this power!
Some of you may remember a song released in May 1971 titled “M. Big Stuff.” Jean Knight was the vocalist and sang “Mister Big Stuff! Who do you think you are?” It was a song sang from a woman’s perspective toward a man who strutted around trying to attract the attention of the ladies. He was different by the way he walked and the way he talked. He was different and he knew it. But the ladies weren’t falling for the flamingo-like attitude.
When Jesus began His ministry, the religious leaders of the day asked Jesus questions very much like the one Jean Knight asked, “Mister Big Stuff! Who do you think you are?” The question was the same, but the motive was certainly not. The ladies in the song chided the strutting man for breaking ladies’ hearts. Jesus was also different but the Pharisees and other religious elite didn’t see Jesus as a threat emotionally, but a threat to their power, position, and authority. They tried to catch Jesus at every turn and even dispatched spies to collect information. But every time a question was posed by the “plant in the crowd,” Jesus would answer using the words of the Law or the prophets – the very words they should have recognized and understood. But their ego and self-infatuation made them blind, so they could not see the one who was standing in front of them was the Messiah himself.
I’m reminded of another song when I think about how Jesus came, how he walked, and how he interacted with the people in the villages, hillsides, and lakesides. The song is “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw. Jesus knew He had an uphill battle, a mountain to climb as the song says. He knew there would be those who would accept Him and those who would reject Him. All along His journey, even to the point when being beaten and having thorns pierce His scalp, He never lost His humbleness.
Sometimes it’s hard to be like Jesus, humble and kind. When we realize there are just some things over which we have no control, and there are some people who are determined to have a bad day and share it with everyone, being humble and kind in the face of adversity will have a greater impact on the world we live in. Our health will be better, our friendships will be stronger, and our relationship with the Heavenly Father will be sweeter because we are becoming what He wants for all His children – to be like Jesus.