Lord Teach Me to be Different
Amazing how God’s truth never goes out of style. Fashion and music come and go and fade, but the truth of God’s Word is fixed. I would like to share a devotional I did 20 years ago at a lady’s conference in Mississippi. My life situations have changed, but not the message of my gracious loving Savior. My desire is to encourage you to be different on the inside by making Christ the focus – and the outside will be taken care of!
I would like to share what the Lord has been doing in my own life lately – teaching me how to be different… Malachi 3:15 says “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” This Scripture speaks of the prophesy of the last days – but I want to focus on “when I make up my jewels.” The Lord is referring to you and me – those who are saved and belong to Him. We are God’s precious jewels. A jewel is a precious gem. The dictionary puts gem like this: A precious stone that has been cut and polished; a beloved or highly prized person. God is in the process of cutting and polishing us to be His prized jewels. Proverbs 31:10 says: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” We are different, special and worth a lot to His kingdom.
Many years ago in England there lived a woman whose love for the Savior and beautifully consecrated life were an inspiration to all who knew her. About midnight on February 4, 1974 she took her pen and wrote the words of a hymn. We still sing it in our churches today. “Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” She closed the song with: “Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.” Francis Ridley Havergal meant those words and proved them everyday by the way she lived. Four years after she wrote this hymn she wrote in a letter to a friend: “The Lord has shown me another little step, ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church missionary house” (including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess.) She kept back only two brooches for her daily wear. Nearly fifty articles of worth were packed up and she said she has never packed a box with such pleasure. Oh, that more of us today had that kind of dedication to Christ and that kind of burden for His work. Would we be willing to give up our dearest earthly treasure that others might hear the gospel?
Probably not many of us have the kind of jewels she had but we can pray Miss Havergals prayer: “Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.” As I read this, it prompted me to look into my own jewelry box and clean it out, organize it and evaluate it. Just as I did this, the Lord began to show me things in my jewelry box that relate to evaluating my spiritual jewelry box. I’d like to share some treasures of truth from my jewelry box.
As I was cleaning out my jewelry box I cam across some special necklaces but they were so knotted and so tangled together. I know that you know what I mean. I had to very carefully work getting them all sorted out. My life this past year has been like this, so it seems. The Lord has allowed difficult situations to come into my life. I’ve been learning that sometimes waiting for God to answer and struggling to be sure of His leading are marks of spiritual maturity. I have known rejection, physical pain and learned in my ministry how to forgive my enemies.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” I wasted so much time on my problems I was not seeking the Lord with my whole heart. God’s thoughts are not evil towards me. These difficulties are brining me closer to that expected end He has for me. We can’t be different if we are not willing to suffer for Christ and be willing to seek and search for Him with our whole heart. The Lord has been untangling me!
The next piece of jewelry is my Noah’s ark necklace. This speaks of God’s promises. God always keeps His promises. As I began to get back into God’s Word and pray and look to Him for answers, it was then that I began to see He was keeping His promises to me. Hebrews 13:5 says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” It is really being different when we don’t look to our emotions to survive but to rely on God’s promises. It takes great faith and God’s grace to be different. Women of the world do not operate on this principle. But it has to be a moment-by-moment thing in our lives. I love this verse (2 Peter 1:3) which says it so perfectly: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Ladies this verse tells me that we can and should be different because He has give us all to function in life for Him. He has given us the ability to forgive, the power to be that godly mother, wife and friend. The list could go on and on. It is not easy. I fail everyday. Some days I feel like I fail every moment.
Then God gave me a gem of inspiration from my jewelry box. You know in my jewelry box is some jewelry I like then there are those pieces that really go together and match and when I put them on, boy, do I feel confident. I don’t know about you, but when our hair is fixed and we like what we have on, we feel pretty confident about ourselves. I was reading Proverbs 3:26 and that Scripture just leaped out at me. It says, “For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” I was running around putting my confidence in everything in my life except in the Lord. Ladies, I think we, as Christians and churchgoers, can be guilty of putting too much confidence in the wrong things.
…It might be in our husbands
…It might be in a job
…It might be in money
…It might be in acceptance of others.
This verse says, Pam, even when everything seems to be falling apart around you, you can put your confidence in the Lord and he will surely give you rest. And believe me, it can fall apart. I know I homeschool, I am a pastor’s wife and I am a mom. But I am God’s jewel because I have trusted Him as my Lord and Savior and he becomes my confidence. Confidence means trust, a trusting relationship, a feeling of assurance. Do you have a trusting relationship with Christ?
The next piece of jewelry I cam across was a charm bracelet that I had when I was sixteen, given to me for my birthday. There were a lot of junk jewelry pieces I threw out, but I just couldn’t get rid of this bracelet even though I would not wear it. This charm bracelet brought to my mind a very favorite song of mine. “When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss…Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.” The last few months the things that charm me most have been different. You know I found myself reading a country sample magazine for hours but not spending much time in God’s Word and prayer. We must give to the Lord those things that charm us most – and they may even be okay things or really good things. Philippians 1:10 says, “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.” When you start choosing the excellent things you will be different and it will be though.
My next gem is not a piece of jewelry, but it is a treasure! A silver box. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Oh to be able to minister grace to others by our encouraging words. When words come out of our mouth, they should be like little presents all wrapped up to be given away. Our words should be a gift to each other – verbal presents that would encourage others. We all have those special people who have been our sliver boxes – encouraging us to keep going, smiles to lift us up. Maybe someone in your past is responsible for you being in the ministry today. I keep this silver box by my bedside (a large one!) to remind me that my children, my husband and everyone I encounter today may need a silver box. It doesn’t need to be a lot, sometimes just a hug, a smile or a special note… just the silver box someone needs. If you are like me some days, I need to tape it to my head to keep me in line!
Lord, teach us to choose the excellent things in order to be different. What is in your spiritual jewelry box? Deep prayer, Scripture memory, Bible study, forgiving that person hard to forgive, being a better witness to the lost – things that are excellent! Mending a relationship, or just getting closer to someone in need. Does your spiritual jewelry box need cleaning out or just organizing, to fit more into it.
Ladies, we need to always be making a clean sweep of our homes, and our personal lives. Sweeping out all the sin that has collected just as junk collects in our lives. God may bring something to your mind from long ago: ungodly thoughts, unforgiveness, wrong motives, complacency, the list goes on. The Lord is gracious and merciful. What a freeing thought!
I close with the last verse I quote earlier…
“Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
In His Love,