Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)
TITLE: Who Will Accept us?
By Sheldon Bass
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America spends billions of dollars on health and beauty aids every year. We seem to be obsessed with our physical appearance.
Television viewing today can be hazardous to our self esteem. More dangerous however, is the spiritual trap of zeroing in and focusing on ourselves. It is difficult to love my neighbor when I'm so engaged with myself and my physical appearance. And there is also the danger of getting that tunnel vision, which does not allow a clear view of our own hearts.
I think we should take good care of the bodies God has given us. Yet when the externals become our main focus we begin to lose sight of the more important issues of the heart. It was no different when Jesus preached on earth. He chided the Pharisees and religious leaders for washing the outside of the cup and not the inside. He called them "Whitewashed tombs", clean and pleasing to look at on the outside, but full of "Dead men's bones" on the inside.
Praise God, that the righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to us when we place our faith and trust in Him, making us pleasing and acceptable in His sight. Good News: You don't have to have washboard abs to be loved and accepted, or to get into heaven. The world's measure of a man or woman is much different than God's. He puts the tape measure around my heart and not the bulge around my middle. It's a good thing too. The older I get the more difficult it becomes to visit the gym more than once a week, and I'm just coming up on the double nickel marker.
What drives us to want the perfect appearance anyway? Perhaps we have been programmed by Hollywood, television commercials, and the world's desire to keep us fixated on ourselves. No wonder that in Jesus' wisdom and foresight He said;
"If any man will come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me."(Luke 9:23 KJV)
Though we do try to deny ourselves that third donut or too many trips to the buffet, our focus needs to be more on the inside measurements than on the externals. We deny ourselves those unfulfilling sinful desires and follow the Spirit's leadership. Through the lens of the Bibles illuminating pages He reveals the areas that need work in each of our hearts. I can't do that by holding myself up in juxtaposition with the latest sports star or Hollywood heart throb.
We all fall short of God's glory and righteous standard. But He provides that righteousness for us, through faith in His Son, Jesus. It's quite the good deal and the best self improvement program out there--and it's free! He takes our flaws and imperfections and gives us His Righteousness, then leads us on to victory over all of our defective spiritual characteristics.
There are two brothers at my church. Let's substitute Mike and Jerry for their real names. One is fat and the other skinny and both felt unloved, unappreciated and unwanted. God deposited them in our congregation many years ago. Through God's love and acceptance of them, He led us to do the same. By accepting them as valuable and lovable regardless of their faults and flaws, they have become wonderful and fruitful men of God. One is still fat and the other still skinny. But they smile a lot, and they are on fire for God. They too are now accepting and loving others regardless of the world's views.
Every soul is precious to our Heavenly Father. When God takes the measure of a man or woman He puts the tape around the heart. The girth of our maddening midsections has no bearing on His acceptance of us. The big and small, the ugly and pretty, the smart and the simple: God takes us all in His powerful arms and say's, "I love you".
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