May 22, 2007

Take note, take action!

My husband writes notes to me and puts them beside my cereal bowl before he goes to work. When I get up, usually just before or just after he goes out the door, I’ve a message for the day. These are often thank you notes, sometimes reminders to do an errand, and occasionally a few words to let me know that I forgot something or didn’t do something.

The note this morning was one of those “you blew it” messages, and it didn’t sit very well. I’d turned the television off last night, but the way our TV works, sometimes the cable box turns off but the TV doesn’t. This time, I didn’t notice the little red light that indicated it was still on, hence the note.

It’s a small thing, but I felt deflated and annoyed. I wanted to retaliate with, “Why did you tell me this? Just turn the blasted thing off. It happens to you all the time and I don’t make a big deal about it. Blah, blah, blah.”

God’s timing is priceless, again. My devotional guide takes me today to 2 Corinthians 4:10-11. It says, “ . . . always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

I know exactly what that means. Because I am a Christian, and because Jesus lives inside of me, I’m to be transparent and obedient. Otherwise, when people look at me, they see only me. That is not what God wants. He “commanded light to shine out of darkness” and has shone His light into my heart “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” He is the treasure that this chapter of 1 Corinthians describes, the treasure in the “earthen vessel” of my life.

When Paul wrote this letter, he was under all kinds of pressures. He used words like hard-pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, yet he knew that God was using these trials to bring out the life of Christ in him. As the trials worked death in the sense that his human efforts became weaker and no longer effective, the power of God began to shine through him. People could see Jesus, not Paul. The life of Paul diminished and died as the life of Christ became the power that governed his responses to these difficult experiences.

So I get a little note and the life of me jumps out and reacts. If I follow through with my reaction, confront my husband (who is only trying to be helpful), insist on refusing this oh-so-mild rebuke, and act like an insecure little kid, then I’m not “carrying about in the body” the crucifixion of sin and selfishness that Jesus is trying to accomplish in me.

Little “trials” like this one reveal who and what is controlling my life, and show me where I need to die to self and allow the "life of Jesus to be manifested in my mortal flesh." If Jesus is shining in me and ruling my responses, I would think, Thank you. I missed that and need to pay more attention when I hit that off button.

Nit-picking? No. This is a bigger problem than not using the remote properly. It is an “I refuse to let you correct me” attitude. Since my spouse is to love me as Christ loved the church, part of what that love means is that he also desires I be sanctified and cleansed so I might be glorious, holy and without blemish.

I need to cooperate. It isn’t about TVs but about being willing to say ‘yes’ to correction, whether it comes to me through him, or directly from his Lord and mine.

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