We talk via Skype and she asks what brand of wallet I want her to send me. If she had asked me ten years earlier, before I had known the Savior who wore dusty sandals, I would have told her a very expensive brand that would suit my fancy. I tell her now an American brand that has become so popular with the masses, and she goes “Eeeww! That’s the national bag of America!” Was I offended? No. I can’t think of my Savior staring lustily at an expensive bag whose price tag could feed a thousand children dying of hunger.
It is easy to “forgive” such extravagance in fashion and speech, for one can easily say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop to weary me when I see material wealth being paraded on FB.
But what if a Christian does that? A Christian whom thousands expect to exemplify a Christlike life? You can’t imagine the pain! I had felt that – I was too stunned to speak, and then a palpable sadness took over. Why would one choose to enumerate the imported labels of clothing one is wearing down to the footwear and bag? To the brother or sister who has nothing, what would they feel? Wouldn’t they be lured to be envious and tempted to covet? I mean, I don’t see the point of naming the imported brands except maybe to boast?
The Bible teaches us to “be clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5) and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14). The Lord must be the one to be seen in us and not our clothing’s labels being advertised. …Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall (Rom. 14:13 NLT).
But though I’m wearied with these things that I see and hear, I am more wearied, dismayed and disappointed with my own serious blunders and failures as a Christ’s servant, wife, mother, friend. Too dismayed and discouraged sometimes to the point of being tempted to give up, slump, and just do nothing! Why are the very things that I pray and work hard for – to be a better wife and mom and a delightsome child of God – are exactly the things I bungle and stumble on? (Maybe one of the reasons is that, I always want to reach for excellence). And I know that my tears of repentance are never enough to heal the brokenness – it is always the Lord’s mercy that does the job.
A self-examined life is always a good thing. For if one didn’t know how to acknowledge one’s mistakes and failures, how could one correct oneself? For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged (1 Cor. 11:31).
Lately, I’ve been watching music videos with scenes from The Passion of the Christ. And looking at Jesus’ life, I feel like all the dross that had gathered in me is exposed. Seeing Him hanging on the cross bloody, wounded, bruised, dying, I see myself clearly in a mirror, and yes, I see the “log”. I see the shortcomings, the mess, the repeat offenses, the pride, the ugliness I foolishly and repeatedly choose over His glory. Ah! If not for His enduring mercy, where would I be?
Seeing Him there barely hanging on to life, for He still has last words for me, the wave of truth hit me hard: nothing that I do would earn me my salvation. (What made me think otherwise?!). He did it all for me. He sustained all my wounds and bruises. He received all my shame and the insults that were for me. He took all my sin upon Himself and carried me on His shoulders. He died my death. I don’t have any right to brag about the things I have done and do in His name. I can only respond by loving and obeying Him.
We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Friends, I urge you to watch this deeply moving and convicting music video of Todd Agnew’s “My Jesus”. I echo his lyrics.
AN INVITATIONJesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry live streaming of worship services: http://www.jmcim.tv http://www.justin.tv/jmcimusasf (for American viewers) Sunday 10am-5pm Friday overnight service 8:30pm-4:30am Saturday (All times Philippine times ~ 12-16 hours ahead of USA) This information is also posted at the side bar.
My gratitude list:
- Celebrating wellness. For there were times during the worst of my illness that I was too weak to even change my house clothes.
- Singing Ilocano songs with my beloved husband in the wee hours of the morning and giggling endlessly.
- Joy in reading the Word and the wisdom gained.
- Hannah and her continuing love for learning and playing the piano.
- homemade strawberry ice cream
- freshly-baked scones whose aroma seems to say, “Love is all around here.”