Pockets

 

Let us turn away from everything wrong, whether of body or spirit, and purify ourselves, living in the wholesome fear of God, giving ourselves to him alone. —2 Corinthians 7:1 TLB

I love pockets! Into them I cram the bits and pieces of my daily life—stuffing from the dog’s chair, paper clips, pens, screws, fingernail clippers, gum wrappers, pop bottle caps, rubber bands, used and unused tissues, receipts, keys, loose change, buttons, even the cat’s shed hair.

One pocket is not enough. I like at least two. Into the left pocket I put the things I will throw away. Into the right pocket go the items I’ll either use soon or need to put where they belong. At the end of the day I empty my pockets. It wouldn’t do to carry today’s debris around with me tomorrow, and neglecting to remove a tissue buried deep in the pocket of a pair of jeans that later get tossed into the washing machine can get messy. The items in my right pocket are put where they belong—in a cupboard, closet, or drawer. Tomorrow I will start my day with pockets clean and ready.

I have “spiritual” pockets, too. In them I stuff the bits and pieces of my spiritual life. Deep in my left pocket I push that exaggerated truth, twinge of envy, thoughtless remark, moment of discontent, act of selfishness, word of gossip, and bitter feelings. Into my right pocket go the things I often need at my fingertips: honesty, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, kindness, gentleness, and humility.

Like my physical pockets, my spiritual ones also need to be emptied and scrutinized every day. Disposing each day of the accumulation in my left pocket through confession makes tomorrow’s lighter to carry and quicker to discard. Too often, however, I don’t dig deeply enough, and bits and pieces of an overlooked “tissue” cling to the fabric of my life. That’s why it’s important to ask God to show me what I’ve missed. After I’ve cleaned out my left pocket, I sort through the contents of my right pocket and apply them where they belong—to a relationship, attitude, habit, or perspective.

And tomorrow I start over, with pockets clean and ready.

Father God, keep Your hands in my pockets. Amen.

Read and reflect on Ephesians 4:23–32.

From Minute Meditations: Meeting God in Everyday Experiences, © 2000 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The Ending Is Sure

 

“These words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 22:6 NIV

My friend George Caylor and his wife, JoAnne, once met the late actor Charlton Heston when he visited Lynchburg, Va., where they live. Now George is not one to pass up an opportunity to meet someone like Heston, whose career included lead roles in such movies as The Ten Commandments, El Cid, and Ben Hur, for which he won an Academy Award in 1959.

Heston regaled them with the story of filming the famous chariot race in Ben Hur. Refusing to use a double for the scene, the actor had practiced for months. He was trying desperately to win the race when Director William Wyler drew him aside.

“Chuck,” he said, “the plot has been written! You win! Just stay on the chariot!”

What a reminder for believers!

We, too, often feel as though we’re running a desperate race—and losing.

Jostled about, thrown from one side to the other, bouncing every which way, we try to stay on our feet and maintain control. We take our eyes off the finish line to see what the enemy is up to.

And we do have an enemy—an unseen adversary who does whatever he can to trip us up, sidetrack us, get us to doubt our faith. If we abandon that faith, he’s won.

Have no doubt: This enemy is real, and he means business.

“For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood,” Paul wrote the Ephesian believers, “but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world” (Ephesians 6:12 LB).

Indeed, our adversary prowls around like an insatiable lion, looking for his next meal (1 Peter 5:8). One of his favorite strategies is to get you to take your eyes off the finish line and look in the rearview mirror—at your past. Your sin. Your guilt. Your shame. “How could God ever forgive me for what I’ve done?” you wonder.

Don’t fall for that trick. Your sin, guilt, and shame have been washed away forever by the blood of Jesus. As the saying goes, “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.”

The race may be fierce, but the outcome is certain: You win; the devil loses (Revelation 20:10). If you’re a believer in Jesus (see 1 John 5:1112), your victory was sealed over 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem by none other than God’s own Son.

So if you’re being tossed about in this race called life and it seems as though you’re losing, remember: The plot has already been written! The ending is sure! You win!

All you have to do is stay on the chariot.

When doubt steps up in my life chariot and I try to take over the reins, remind me, Lord, that You are in control. My victory is certain, for You won it for me on Calvary. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on the finish line. Amen.

Read and reflect: Revelation 19­­–22

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God  ©2017