I had to chuckle this morning as I stepped out on the back deck after helping my wife up for the day. As I glanced over our gorgeous piece of heaven, I noticed two brown squirrels frolicking on the lawn. Once they saw me they slowly scampered up the picket fence that runs along the east side of our property line. Then they both just sort of sat on different fence posts and looked like they were giggling at me! So, with a smile on my face I called out to them stating “Oh yeah laugh at me! If Mandie (our recently deceased Australian Shepherd) were here you’d be flying over that fence!” Then I paused for a moment and added: “Get ready and enjoy yourselves while you can… ‘cause your freedom won’t last long (as we are actively looking for another dog)!”
That humorous interaction caused me to recall my time in the Word a little earlier in the day. In my continuing study of God’s Grace vs legalism in our lives from Colossians chapter two, I thought about a statement from the commentary I am using that fired me up. Summing it up in my own words, it made the point that as Christians we do not need the Law (or legalism) on the outside to control or regulate our actions because we have the Zoë Life of God on the inside!
2 Peter 1:4 declares that “He has given to us exceedingly and precious promises, so that by these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (MKJV) The word “lust” meaning cravings, longings, and a desire for what is forbidden (Thayer’s). When I see the word “lust” I always tend to equate it to personal purity. And that is similar to how the commentary described it by saying that “The new life in us functions in the believer to give purity and victory.” *
As I rolled that around in my mind I suddenly began to see that this new life “purity” is not limited to our morality, but also to how we see and function in our daily lives. It goes back to what I wrote the other day about how fear acts to scramble our responses to the situations around us. My experience with the squirrels this morning is a perfect example of my revelation!
When Mandie was around we saw very little wildlife in our yard. They were afraid of her and obviously stayed away and while that may be great for my vegetable garden, it makes the vision of our yard a little bland and lifeless. Without the threat of the dog, suddenly the yard is alive with the sightings of rabbits munching on the leafy weeds, the funny squirrels and the beautiful bright red Cardinals that come right up onto the deck at times!
Another good example (please don’t tell my wife I said this…) is Piper’s evening meals. She has pretty much been on a liquid diet for the last few months as she has a difficult time knowing to chew her food (one of the nefarious results of the Ahzeimer’s). So in order to be assured she is getting a nutritious meal, I regularly mix up various flavors of protein smoothies for her that contain all the daily required vitamins, minerals, vegetables, protein, fiber and Omega-3s.
Lately I have also been pureeing regular entrees like beef or chicken stews, soups, and even pasta based meals in the blender so she can still enjoy her favorite foods but in a fluid form. The one… shall we say interesting… thing is that once you blend everything together, the mixture can take on a really strange (or to put it nicely… a very un-appealing) look!
That to me is what fear can do in how we see and experience our world around us. It takes away the beauty or “purity” of what is in our lives and blends it together into an ugly and un-appealing blob! It can have the effect of taking away our ability to see the good in people, to make clear decisions when needed and to just be able to enjoy life in general!
I am thankful that the dinners I puree for my wife still retain their taste and flavor even though they may not always look inviting… but I can’t say the same about the scrambled effects of fear. In my experience fear has a peculiar odor all to itself… and it is not something that is pleasant to be around! That is another reason why folks experiencing fear find it very difficult to be joyful in the face of the situation they have to deal with.
In my understanding and experience, the Christian life should be a GRACE/LOVE based and empowered intimate relationship with Papa God that we actively believe in and practice on a daily basis. For while fear scrambles our lives, God’s grace and love perfects and enhances it.
What would you rather have… scrambling or enhancing, beauty or the blob? I know… I know… that’s a pretty silly question, but it is one that most of us will have to face almost every day in our lives. Let me tell you though, it is best that we make our decision on how we will face each day as soon as we get up in the morning, then you won’t be taken by surprise. Make the easy decision! Choose life… the life of the new nature that is already inside you! Enjoy the beauty not the blob!
Keep finding pleasure in the purity of your week, and as you do, keep confessing: “I am expecting today to enjoy the beauty of the God kind of life in and around me and not the scrambling effects of fear!”
*Be Complete, A Commentary of Colossians, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, Chapter 7