Monday, February 19, 2018
Psalm 139:1-3 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
The next word in our acrostic on the NAME of Jesus is Attributes. If we are going to live our lives according to Colossians 3:17, then we must live it in such a way that it reflects the attributes of Jesus.
When I was a young boy, my father was the pastor of a church in Michigan. It was customary in this church for the pastor and his family to be invited out to dinner at someone’s house on a regular basis. On those nights that we were headed to our host’s home, I remember clearly something my dad always did. As I and my two brothers would pile into the back seat of the car in our usual rowdy way, fighting over who had to sit in the middle, dad would already be in place in the driver’s seat. He would reach up and tilt the rearview mirror down so he could see us and he would say, “Now boys, don’t embarrass me when we get there.”
I’ve thought about that statement a lot. It had its positive and its negative sides. From the negative perspective, it assumed that we were both capable of embarrassing him and likely to do so. Be realistic. Imagine three boys ages 5, 6, and 7 together in a home of adults with nothing to do but sit still and behave. Yeah – that’s possible. We were by nature rowdy little boys, with expectations of adult attributes thrust upon us. Dad knew it, or he wouldn’t have told us his expectations before we even left the driveway.
On the positive side, dad was trying to help us grow up. We all want our children to emulate the attributes that we believe are important for maturity. Any word or action that doesn’t reflect those attributes is an embarrassment, both to the parent, and hopefully to the child who really wants to be the best they can be. Every kid wants to measure up. If motivated by love, that’s a good thing. If motivated by a lack of love so that it becomes a performance to earn value, then that’s dysfunctional.
Measuring up is a biblical concept. The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 3: 19, “…that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Then in the next chapter he says, “so that the body of Christ may … become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Christ is the perfect model of maturity for our lives. When we are motivated by love for Him, we will strive to emulate His attributes. When we don’t, it will be an embarrassment to us.
It is not practical to attempt to consider all the attributes of our wonderful Lord and Savior in one short devotional today. But yesterday we gave you a list of questions from a short list of those attributes. Here they are again, with a little twist on them as we consider them from the perspective of emulating them or being an embarrassment to them.
- Does this word or activity support my belief in the attributes of Jesus?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t measure up to the fullness of God’s love in me?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t reflect the maturity of the life of Jesus in me?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t reflect His holiness?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t reflect His righteousness?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t reflect His love and compassion?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t reflect His truth?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t reflect His grace?
- Does this word or activity embarrass Christ because it doesn’t reflect His mercy?
The Apostle John, the one whom our Lord Jesus loved, wrote about this embarrassment in his first letter to Christians around the world. He said, See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
Wow! According to these verses, it is possible for us to be ashamed and embarrassed before our Lord because of the way we have lived our lives. So, according to those verses, what’s the key to not being embarrassed? Remain in Him and continue in Him. What does that mean? Very simply, it means to live according to His attributes.
Our lives are to be the constant reflection of the characteristics of Christ. He is our model. He has sent His Holy Spirit to bring the fullness of His life into ours. We do not live in obedience to a set of laws and standards. We live as an expression of the life of Christ in us. Anything less than that is an embarrassment.
O Lord, motivated by our love for you, may our lives reflect your life in us, and not be an embarrassment to you.