11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 NLT.
I am sometimes the one who needs the action plan, rather than the call to action. Having not grown up in a Christian home/community, the examples around me were, quite often, worldly. I think of the lifestyle I was born into and see how hurts and reactions carry forward. It is sometimes discouraging to see a family history repeat itself, but to me, I see the need for Jesus that much more.
Grudge, deception, bitter roots–these are things I grew up learning. Forgiveness, loving-kindness, good works–these are just years old to my life; they are values I want to instill in my children. I’m thankful for a church community and friendships with believers who lead by example. God has placed women in my life for me to learn from: sisters in Christ of any age … they teach me, so I can learn and teach too. They are the “Rack, Shack and Benny”s in my life–ones who stand for what is right, sometimes at a cost of criticism and condemnation. But their example helps me–that I don’t bow down to looming statues of past, but commit myself further to following Jesus.
I so prefer the heat of a figurative furnace of my trials than literal flame of Daniel’s book, but regardless, I don’t stand alone. Christ is with me. And others are watching–whatever it is I might face, God can use for his glory–perhaps even as an example for someone else to choose to follow (or not).
Dear Jesus, thank you for showing me brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and honor you in deed and truth. My story could have had a very different ending. I’m thankful for your loving intervention and access to you through prayer and your word–you are the one who knows my heart. You know what needs to be changed and you know how to bring it about. Your refining fire is difficult, but I know you stand with me.