I intimated that I found three applications for what I learned from my non-matching brown shoes escapade. Read the previous entry for the gory details of my shoe-buying goof. Suffice it here to say that I accidentally ended up purchasing two different brown short lace-up boots, but didn’t recognize my mistake till I’d worn them for roughly one month!
Beyond “no lie is of the truth” and the importance of making sure my thoughts line up with the whole truth, I recognized almost immediately that all too often my “walk” doesn’t line up with that of Jesus. I may do the kinds of actions you’d expect from a “What would Jesus do?” good-deed-doing person . . . but that doesn’t mean my life is even close to a match with His.
Case in point (and isn’t there always a recent one handy?) is last spring’s battle with weeds in our front yard. I remember this life lesson afresh, as January rains have brought their usual crop of weeds springing up in otherwise rock-hard, “desert landscaped” aka rock-covered ground. Our neighbors just never seem to get around to weeding along our mutual property line. In their defense, they both work full-time – a thought that did not escape me as I surveyed the two-feet-tall sprouts going to seed on their side of the line last spring. I’d just spent an hour weeding our side of the front yards, with the beginnings of a stiff neck to show for it, and as I sat doing neck rolls on my side of the line, I realized that all my weeding was for naught as soon as one gentle breeze spread those seeds our direction.
What to do? GET RID OF THOSE WEEDS! “They certainly aren’t going to,” I muttered as I unkinked my way upright and strode over to their side. I began pulling up the sinister spikes, which turned out to be easier than I expected, given the good length of stem on which to get a solid purchase. Down from their fence, around the parked car, under the parked car, out to the sidewalk . . . . To the casual observer, I was doing a good deed weeding my neighbor’s yard. I heard the “Ahem . . .” about the time I reached under the front bumper of the car to grab a handful of plant, thinking, “They could spend an occasional weekend working in the yard instead of off riding their ATV’s. . . .” Grumbling intercepted, I recognized the voice: that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit that intrudes upon my ruminations. “What you’re doing is fine . . . but your motivation is anything but God-honoring and neighbor-blessing.”
Of course I realized that was completely true, and no matter how it might have looked even to the neighbors, I wasn’t doing them a favor out of love. It was pretty ugly weed-pulling. As awful as I sound in these self-revelations on this blog, I really do want a heart more like Jesus, and it was to that desire that I turned my attitude. “But they . . . ” gave way to,”Transplant your love in me, Jesus. No matter how they choose to spend their time, I’m going to secretly bless them. They may not even notice the weeds are gone, but that doesn’t matter.” The great encouragement is that God wants this transformation in me even more than I do, and he promises to make it happen:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.: Ezekiel 36:26-27
That passage goes on to enumerate blessings and provision God promises his people. Oh, do I want the blessing of a warm and beating “heart of flesh” walking out of love for everyone whose life mine intersects! Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Admit it – you do, too, and let out a big sigh of longing and gratitude.
I get to choose: will I do the right things out of the wrong heart, souring my own day in the process and doing Heaven-knows-what to my brain chemistry, or will I do the right thing out of the right heart, Jesus’ heart, protecting my own heart in the process?
There they are in the yard again this spring . . . . Where will my heart be?
A ” . . . but . . . ” for you to pray: Jesus, I don’t like the difference I feel when my heart is in the wrong place. I fight this battle so often, BUT thank you that you promise to give me a new heard and your own Spirit! Thank you that you are SO patient with me when I wear the wrong “shoe”, loving enough to point out the differences I don’t see, forgiving me, and enabling me to have a blessing heart in all I do. Amen!
Your own ” . . . but . . . ” : Jesus, I see that I’m not walking like you when I _______________, BUT I believe your promise to change my heart and I know I’ll see your change in ________________________________________. Amen!