Stark Contrast

Gwen Smith Anger, Blog, Christian Living, Holy Spirit, Worship 28 Comments

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It has been a long winter this year and I’m really looking forward to summer. I like it nice and warm, but at times the summer heat can be unbearable – even for a sunshine girl.  North Carolina is by no means a place of cool summers.  To the contrary, we Tar Heel residents expect to have our air conditioning units running almost round the clock. But the heat we’ve experienced the past few years has been uncommonly sweltering.  At times, it’s been so balmy that my sweat drops have had sweat drops! Now, you can call it global warming, or you can call it chance, but I just call it plain old hot!

On one of those crazy-hot summer days, I spent time at our local library.  I sat on the lower level, which is the coolest area in the building.  The vigilante AC unit worked aggressively to protect us book-reading occupants from the external heat wave.  I was on that chilly lower level for the better part of two hours, and gradually turned to a human icicle.  My fingers were completely numb as I signed out a Hardy Boys book for my son and turned to exit the building.

As I opened the door to leave, a forceful wave of heat swept over me.  In that moment I thought, “Wow!  That sure is a stark contrast!  What a temperature change!”  From one extreme to the other, the heat pendulum had swung.  Hot to cold, and then hot again.  As I considered the contrast, it occurred to me that the temperature of my life might sometimes look the same.  It gave me reason to pray.

Have you ever gotten up early and had a sweet time with the LORD, only to turn into an unreasonable, raging screamer hours later?  Have you ever had an argument with your spouse or children on the way to church, only to cross the threshold of the lobby with blessings and kindness on your tongue?  Have you ever driven in traffic with worship music on the dash and praise on your lips when suddenly, someone cut you off and the praises on your tongue turned to cursing?  If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, welcome to the Sinner’s Club.  All humans have an automatic membership that activates at birth and is irrevocable until we accept forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and see His face on the other side of glory.

The Bible calls us to a higher, more consistent temperature of living.  We must be careful not to praise and curse with the same tongue. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:9-10 NIV).

Are you swinging the pendulum of your responses, or are they swinging you?  We are accountable for our behavior.  We are accountable for the way we respond to circumstances.  Our responses reflect the core of who we are.  They reflect our faith … good or bad.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

As we go through today, let’s center the thermometer of our hearts on Christ so we are less likely to respond in stark contrast to His perfect example of love.  Let’s live out God’s grace and heed the wisdom found in Proverbs 3:3:  “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Lord, please forgive me for the times when my responses are unkind.  Please forgive me for the times when I over-react and under-love.  I need the power of the Holy Spirit to moderate the temperature of my heart and my responses. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Will you live out deeper grace today? If you’re ready to start fresh and declare, “By God’s grace I am a new creation,”


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Comments 28

  1. Oh, how I needed to read this today! I am so thankful for God’s merciful patience with me. If it were up to me, I would have thrown up my hands in frustration and given up. Positionally and, by God’s grace, I am a new creation. Practically, I am a work in progress. I am amazed, because it’s His work and yet He involves us in it. Romans 12:1-2 and Ephesians 4:20-24. Oh, how I long to be more like Jesus!

  2. Help me sweet Jesus!!! How easy it is for us to just fall into this. Help me guard my mouth and practice self control. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart”. Yes, Lord, this!!!

  3. By God’s grace I am a new creation!! Today’s devotion really got to me because this morning I was writing verses on inappropriate anger to memorize. My glory moment today. Thanks!

  4. By God’s grace I am a new creation, therefore I must not complain. For when I was young I acted and spoke as a young child. But I’m not new to my Faith in Jesus as Lord of my life. I give this day over to my Lord to use my words for blessing not gossip. For praise not complaints. For compliments not tear downs. Lord use me today. Amen

  5. I am a new creation! Thank you for your love of God, loving-kindness, honesty, humor and willingness to reach out to others. Thank you for your time, energy and sincerity to connect with us. May God continue to bless you and your family! Thank you for taking time away from them to reach your Sisters in Christ. You truly are an AMAZING daughter of Our King! <3

  6. I am a new creation! Thank you Gwen for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you and touch so many lives. I am guilty of praising and cursing with the same tongue. Today’s devotion is confirmation of what has been weighing heavily on my heart for 5 months…I need to chose my words carefully and purposefully so that they are a reflection of God’s love. Thank you so much. God Bless!

  7. I am a new creation! Thank you for today ready….it touched my heart and I know you were talking about me. Thank you for sharing!

  8. I am a new creation! My tounge gets me in a lot of trouble and by asking God and making myself more aware of what I say (even before I say it) then I would be so much better off and a better example for Christ 🙂

  9. I am freeeeee!!!!!!! From all cursesssss Jesus said so on the Cross. I was born & bread in a home of idol worshipping. But thank Jesus today, the Blood of Jesus has set me free and l am now a new Creation the Old has passed away n the has come through Jesus. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I am a new creation! Thank you, Jesus for the sacrifice you made for me. Thank you, Gwen, for sharing your heart.

  11. My prayer and meditation… 🙂 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:30-32 ESV

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