She was coming.
Yes, I’d invited her, but I really hoped she’d be unable to come.
After all, she intimidated me. Her clothes were better. Her house was bigger. Her lifestyle was best. And yet, it was Christmas. I was supposed to have peace and good will toward all – even her.
So, as I had always done, I began to dread the holiday. I moped as I put up the tree, sulked as I wrapped and brooded over my hot spiced punch. Even Bing Crosby’s “Round and Round the Christmas Tree” didn’t have its usual appeal.
Then one morning, without much ado, the Lord spoke to me afresh in His Word. It was a verse I’d memorized as a college student and had highlighted in every Bible I owned. Yet, today the verse spoke directly to me: “Do not regard equality a thing to be grasped, Kandy” (Philippians 2:6).
I knew that Jesus hadn’t grappled about His rights with God, but somehow, I’d never thought about this particular verse applying to my life as well.
This was my problem though. I wanted her to view me just as brilliant, just as well dressed, and just as well liked as she was.
But here He pierced my heart and opened my eyes.
“Equality isn’t your goal,” He revealed anew.
“So, what is?” I countered. “Just how am I to pass those days with her here in my midst?”
And then, as He so often does, He answered in His still small voice with the next verse: “Empty yourself. Take the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).
Although written in black and white, my heart pulsed, knowing that the Word was speaking directly at my festering attitude.
As I received these words, others flooded immediately to mind:
“That you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the Truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24).
“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, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
Before I could talk myself out of it, I grabbed a little notebook and jotted down these words. I knew my weakness toward forgetfulness and tucked the truths in the shelf above the toilet in my bathroom. I would refer to them often during that holiday weekend, especially when the tempter whispered “equality” into my ear.
I’m not sure what kind of holiday she had. But I found that I had the best time with her I ever had – allowing her to be herself and following my divine instructions to make sure the needs of my guests were met.
Who are you dreading seeing this holiday? Could it be that you have been seeking the foreground, when the Father is calling you into the background? Let’s pray for one another in this area…okay?
Moving two preschoolers overseas is not for the faint of heart.
I’d heard about the crowds on the streets of Asia and decided to buy a backpack type harness for our two-year-old. Turned out to be a good idea, as we walked everywhere within a mile radius of our residence. Hilary wasn’t fond of the restraint, but my attached leash/handle assured that I returned home with her every evening.
Lloyd, one of our single friends, agreed with Hilary’s viewpoint of the “leash” . Together, they decided that when “Uncle Lloyd” was around, she would ride on his shoulders. Of course, Hilary loved her tall vantage point and could survey the crowds rather than examine their leg hairs.
One evening, as Hilary sat perched upon Uncle Lloyd’s shoulders, we stood waiting on a street corner for the change of signal. Since this was a holiday weekend, streets were especially packed and even pedestrians were waiting through several lights before crossing.
As we inched forward for our chance to cross, Hilary tapped “Royd” on the top of the head and queried,
“Dunkle Royd, why did God make so many Chinese peoples?”
Thankfully, most of the crowd either didn’t understand her or at least was polite enough not to show it. After all, we were the guests.
It seemed we’d managed to restrain her body, but couldn’t restrain her tongue.
James says we should start with the tongue first.
“For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James 3:2 NLT)
Granted, we can say that a two-year-old didn’t know to keep her thoughts to herself. I’m pretty sure that is not my problem.
I can’t help but wonder –
If more attention was focused on Christ and less on what I could say, maybe I would find lots of my other problems solved as well.
After all, Christ has given us an example to follow:
“…who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in HIs mouth; And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:21-23)
Did you ask Him to bridle your tongue today?
Did you follow His example in speech?
I know that whatever is in my heart spills off my tongue. Maybe that’s where we need to start – in revamping what I put inside. If I have purity within, then my mouth will speak with purity. If I don’t really trust You from the overflow of my heart, then my words will be doubtful and anxious as well.
May the Word of Christ live inside of me abundantly, so that whether I am singing, speaking or doing – it will be done thanking You.
I know that turning my heart to praise is quite a sacrifice. It takes conscious effort but it is one that I really want to make. Touch my tongue as You did Isaiah’s. Forgive me of all the worthless and unkind things that I say. And send an angel to stand guard over my tongue, touching it before it gets out of hand. I grant You authority over my words. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.