Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Words of Encouragement: Kick it up a Notch

2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (MSG) ~

Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,
I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.
 
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing.
 
Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
 
One of the dishes I love to make is roasted pork loin.  The flavor is outstanding.  The reason this happens is because before I put the loin in the oven, I rub it with seasoning and sear it in a pan with a bit of olive oil first.  Contrary to widely held belief, searing meat doesn't actually seal moisture inside the cut of meat or result in a juicier finished dish. It does, however, give meat dishes an incredible depth of flavor. Additionally, it gives meat an appetizing color and kills off any bacteria that might be hanging out on the surface of the meat.  The heat helps kick the flavor up a notch.
 
The same is true of our Christian walk.  We can either choose to be pale and tasteless followers of Jesus or let the heat of our trials and troubles seal in the flavor of Christ.  Either way we choose, the world is watching. They are looking to see how we handle the every day occurrences in our lives.  
 
There are many things that we are going to deal with in the course of our lives - good times and bad, trials and struggles, joys and concerns.  What counts in the end is whether we allowed God to work through us in those times and our reactions to them.  Will our actions, attitudes, words and emotions point people to Christ or away from Him?  Will we allow Him to remove the bacteria of sin from us as we go through the heat of trials, or will we cling tightly to our attitudes and behaviors?
 
As believers, let's kick it up a notch.  Let's allow the heat we experience in our circumstances to seal in the flavor of Christ.  Develop some depth as a believer.  Don't just be a pale and tasteless dish.  Let's be bold and flavorful Christians that actually reflect Jesus!