Friday, April 28, 2017

Tainted living-—recognize it, lay it aside

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Peter 1:17-2:3

TO CHEW ON: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” 1 Peter 2:1,2

I have recently found a new way to meditate on Bible passages—through Bible journaling. A book that introduced me to this activity describes what it is:
“Bible journaling is a way to express your faith creatively. Putting pen to paper is a great way to remember and record biblical concepts that are meaningful and relevant to your life. Whether you are drawing, coloring, and writing right inside your Bible—the most commonly understood definition—or writing and illustrating scripture verses in a separate book or on paper alongside your Bible, the essential thing to understand is that Bible journaling is about creating while reflecting on God’s word” - Joanne Fink & Regina Yoder, Complete Guide to Bible Journaling, p. 8.

The guidebook has tons of ideas, introduces prominent Bible journalers and their work, and suggests ways and places to share Bible journaling, doodles and lettering.

I was instantly attracted, dug out an old notebook New Testament with wide margins, and tried my hand at it.

My first attempts were meaningful and rich. As I drew and lettered, my mind dwelt on what I was illustrating. More snippets of Bible verses came to me, and I added them to the design. It was worthwhile and uplifting to me spiritually.

Then I searched #biblejournaling on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I found many wonderful ideas—brilliant and bold artwork, flawless lettering that looked like it came from a computer. I joined a Facebook group where members share their work with each other. And slowly the purity leaked out of this activity for me as it became about comparison, envy, wanting "likes" for my work, pride. Yuck!

Today’s Bible text is right-on for this situation. It reminds me, and us, of the tendencies inherent within us (toward malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, evil speaking) and that they can infect any aspect of living (even studying the Bible!). It tells us in plain words that we need to lay them aside as we give attention to taking in, with the focus and single-mindedness that babies give to drinking a bottle, wholesome Bible truth.

May this be my (our) template for thought and action:

“Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of Jesus (not myself), thanking God the Father every step of the way” - Colossians 3:17 MSG).

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” Colossians 3:17 NLT.

“Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him” Colossians 3:17 AMP.

Dear Father, help me to not only recognize the carnal tendencies within myself, but to lay them aside by starving them—refusing to give them what they want. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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