PHP 4:9 ESV
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Yes, if any message is written specifically for me, this one sure is (and they all are, if I forget that I’m in trouble).
Talk is cheap.
Yes, I can see those words coming from my Savior’s mouth.
Talk is cheap, Harold. Are you living it?
And when I’m bold and proud enough to answer yes, something happens to bring to my rememberence a recent event where I failed in that area of my life – or a challenge comes up that day and I see that I could have handled it better if I was aware and ready for the challenge when it came.
You see, my danger comes when I say, “No problem, I’ve got this”. When I base my confidence for the future off the experience of my past successes – I start to think that I’m the one winning these battles and overcoming these challenges on my own. And pride and confidence in myself is a dangerous place to be, because my confidence needs to be in the Lord. He is the one winning battles on my behalf.
So if I find myself speaking boldly and loudly about trusting the Lord, but I’m not practicing it – Look Out – pride comes before a fall.
With every lesson that I learn, if I first think to myself, “So and so really needs to hear this message” – I’ve missed the point that I REALLY NEED THIS LESSON! Any pearls that He shares with me, these lessons are for my sake first and foremost – otherwise I am the blind leading the blind. I’m not looking to lead anyone, I just don’t want to stand still.
So I must remind myself, this lesson is for ME. I need to APPLY this lesson and every lesson in MY life TODAY.
I don’t share what I learn to say, “Look at me, I’ve mastered this”. No, I share to say, “Look at what a mess I am, but Christ is cleaning me up, and making me new, and molding me and changing me”.
I don’t encourage people to listen so that I can be a teacher lifted up above anyone else, I share so that I might find others who I can walk with, hand in hand with Christ as the bond that ties us together. But we all need to be walking, not just standing still talking – because there is a destination, and we have a purpose, and our time is slipping further away with each breath.
So more important than my words, is the example of my life – even in all of my stumblings and shortcomings – even in my looking like the hypocrite of all hypocrites to those who might meticulously examine my imperfect life searching for some glimpse of Christ within this physical body.
But my purpose isn’t even to live a life that looks Holy on the outside for others to see. My purpose is to live my life as a testament and in grattitude to a God that has saved me from the pit of despair, hopelessness, shame, guilt, powerlessness, and worthlessness – and rescued me to a life of purpose, love, and seeking His honor.
I don’t want to just talk it out.
I don’t want to just think it out.
I NEED to WALK IT OUT.
And when I do, I find that peace – that peace that passes all understanding – that presence of the Holy Spirit touching and guiding and comforting my life, keeping me on this narrow path.
Please forgive my visible stumbles, friends, I have been weak and stubborn and prideful and rebellious – but Christ is overcoming those things in my life. You may not see it yet, you may just see this loud, noisy person talking a whole lot about God who still has visible flaws and shortcomings. I’m sorry about that, I’m not a finished work, but there is some major construction going on.
Hopefully my actions, my life backs up these words that I share. These lessons humble me daily, giving me a glimpse at the work being done on the inside. I just hope the work on the inside will one day be visibly louder than my mouth on the outside.