This past Sunday afternoon, I took a little time and looked through some old journals. By old, I mean about 6 years ago. I was amazed by the similar themes still running through my life today. I skimmed over quotes from bible studies, scriptures and my own thoughts and prayers about being steadfast, genuine, and loving with authenticity.
I was especially amazed as I paged through the journal, to see God's hand. Scriptures which have been coming to mind in the last few weeks, were there on pages dated 2005. I was reminded, yet again, of His faithfulness and thankful that He's not finished with me. ;-) Here are some thoughts from a verse that impacted me the most, it's I Peter 1:22:
"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart."
The King James Version uses the word unfeigned, so I looked it up in my good old Strong's Concordance and I LOVED what the Greek word means:
unfeigned - dissembled (without disguising intentions or motives), not concealing one's true nature, without hypocrisy
I long for my love for my family and others to look like this, but so often...OK, most of the time, it falls so short of that mark. My love, apart from God, is full of selfish, hidden motives, insecurity and a boat load of other junk. And thankfully, that doesn't surprise my God. He knows the only way my heart will ever look like that "unfeigned" definition is by, "having my heart purified by obeying the truth". OBEYING the truth. Actually doing what it says. Not in order to be saved, but BECAUSE of the great gift God has given me in Jesus. Which brings me to another scripture that I've been chewing on lately. :-) We are studying the book of James at Community Bible Study and it's been eatin' me up. Steppin' on my toes. Gettin' after me. Makin'... well, you get the picture. The biggest culprit of my uncomfortableness is James 1:22-25:
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do."
I've listened to a lot of "the word". I mean, I'm a pastor's wife for goodness sakes. I've had a front row seat hearing the word. I've looked in a mirror many times, only to go away and forget what I look like. I've read the truth about who I am "in" Jesus and experienced the freedom James talks about, only to turn around and be bombarded by who the world says I am or should be and have chosen to believe those lies, forfeiting my freedom.
The passage says "whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it - not forgetting...". I want to look intently at God's word, because it is the only place in my life I've ever found true freedom. I want to stand still in it and live in it. That seems to be the major struggle for me, the "continues in it - not forgetting" part. So, 6 years later I'm still trusting that this true, unfeigned love is developing in my heart a little more by His grace.
I'm hoping that my heart looks a little less like my own junkyard, scarred by hurts and offenses I've held onto and a little more like God's standard of love from
I Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Thanks for reading - would love to hear your comments if you've stuck with my ramblings for the length of the post. ;-)