I need to get my hair highlighted. Because the length of my roots is weirding me out every time I look in the mirror.
Also on my list: buy new face cream. I’m running out, and the wrinkles around my eyes are not.
And I really wanted to wear my winter white pants today. Until I remembered I don’t have winter white pants anymore because the Shout ate a hole in one of the legs. (Apparently it’s so effective there’s a time limit that I didn’t know about.)
Those were the deeply spiritual things that went through my head one Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church.
About half an hour before those random thoughts went through my head, I had been reading a study on Ephesians, and had come across the following instruction:
“Examine yourself. Are you doing what God says to do? If not, why not?’”
My initial reaction was to give a church answer…until I realized this particular conversation involved no one except God and yours truly. Yeah. That right there is irony at its finest. I totally tried to pull the wool over God’s eyes (as if) with a surface-level Sunday school answer. Not awkward at all.
But seriously. It was Sunday. I needed to be on time for church, and I really didn’t have time to go deep into anything that morning.
I was on my way to church for crying out loud. And I still needed to shower, pick out clothes, put make-up on, and fix my hair. All of which proved difficult because, hello, roots, wrinkles, and no white pants. Because that’s what’s important on a Sunday morning.
Burn. Wrong answer.
The passage in question was Ephesians 4:29-31:
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
I would have preferred to pull the “examine yourself” card for a passage like, “Thou shalt not steal.” Because if we’re talking about that kind of thing, I feel like I’m surpassing expectations.
But with this one…sigh. It’s just that I get hung up on the “only speak words that build people up” part, and the “let bitterness…be put away from you” part, and the “forgive each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” part.
So basically, a categorical failure.
(Thank the Lord that he doesn’t see it that way at all.)
I was reminded of the way I had handled a recent “situation” with a friend. There were no ugly words exchanged out loud, but I had a great debate with her in my head. It was one of those conversations where wit and rightness on my side. (It’s just too bad she didn’t have the same script.)
As I read through this passage over and over again, I suddenly saw that I had been holding onto a bitter attitude with two hands, refusing to let go of my resentment. My feelings had been hurt. I wanted to hear “I’m sorry”. Because I was right, and she was wrong. So there.
After all was said and done, and God had worked this verse over in my heart, I started to wonder how often I don’t allow God’s Word to do it’s work.
How often do I skip over the hard questions, so I can avoid discomfort?
I can have great hair, flawless skin, and a spectacular wardrobe, but if my heart isn’t lined up to truth, all I am is window dressing.
God wants more for us than that. He wants his Word to shape our souls…he wants it to be more than a Sunday accessory that we carry into church. He longs for us to value heart change more than a change in our appearance.
He gives us his word, not so he can rake us over the coals with it when we fall short, but so that we will be renewed by it. We can’t pick and choose the pretty parts of God’s word that we want to obey.
So while I continued to get ready…and thought about my desperate need for white pants and Botox (or at least wrinkle cream), it struck me that I work very hard to keep up my outside image. I personally spend time and spare no expense to keep my hair blonde, to keep my face as unwrinkled as possible, and to keep my wardrobe in line with the latest trends.
But when it comes to my heart, heck, sometimes I don’t even have a minute to talk with God on a Sunday morning…because he might make me late for church. I’m pretty sure he’s not fooled by this. But if I don’t allow his word to reshape me, I’m fooling myself.
What about you? Are you giving God the Sunday school answer?
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