14 Dec Marked
In Exodus 33 and 34, Moses wants to know God more; He wants more of God’s presence. He experiences the unimaginable blessing of meeting with God and getting a small glimpse of God’s actual physical presence.
As God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses for the second time, He tells us some things about Himself in Exodus 34:6-7: “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.” In these verses, we learn so much about God’s character. He is good, compassionate, merciful, present, kind, generous, glorious, patient, loving, faithful, infallible, unfailing, unchangeable, forgiving, and just. He is both Hope and hopeful. Even more amazingly, God personifies all of these attributes at the same time. He’s not bragging; it is simply the truth of who He is.
I, on the other hand, am nothing like this. I hold grudges, I am unkind. I judge others’ motives and actions. I demand my own way. I elevate myself at the expense of others. I am self-absorbed, short-sighted, impatient, and prone to wander away from the God who loves me more than I understand. I know God calls me to become more like Him, but I am completely unable to change on my own.
“He is good, compassionate, merciful, present, kind, generous, glorious, patient, loving, faithful, infallible, unfailing, unchangeable, forgiving, and just. He is both Hope and hopeful.”
Thankfully, as a believer, God’s presence lives within me, just as His presence remained with the Israelites. His presence in my life marks me and sets me apart as His follower, slowly changing to more closely reflect His character. While I know intuitively that the Spirit of God resides inside of me, can anyone else see this mark? I’m challenged by Matt’s question this past weekend: does the Spirit of God define my life? Are there qualities about my life that point to change only attributable to Jesus?
Recently, my husband and I ran into two different couples that we know at a local restaurant. These two couples also know each other, but they are from completely separate parts of our lives. We know one couple socially, and our paths have crossed fairly often over the years. The other couple we know through Grace. We all chatted for a while, and after our conversation, I walked away wondering if the couple we know socially would ever notice anything different about me. Do they notice the presence of God in my life? Am I living such a compelling lifestyle that it is clear God is with me, not because of anything I have done or deserve, but because He is forgiving, redeeming, and transforming my broken, sin-filled life? Or do my life and my conversation just fit in with everyone else’s, not different, not changed, not compelling, not pointing to anyone but me? I am concerned that my desire for acceptance often clouds my judgment, and I seek more to fit in than to be set apart.
“While I know intuitively that the Spirit of God resides inside of me, can anyone else see this mark?”
Does my life point anyone to Jesus? That’s my prayer, but I need to take time to reflect and repent when it clearly does not. No heart change happens by my own striving but only because He is unfailingly patient, loving, and powerful enough to “change this leper’s spots and melt this heart of stone.”
Lord, set me apart; let my life, my words, and my actions point others to You in bold, dynamic ways, for You alone are the answer for every human heart.
Midway through launching her four teenage/young adult kids into the world, Keri enjoys life with her loving husband, a fun job, and random volunteer roles. She has a weakness for iced mochas and cookie dough, but fortunately likes to exercise too. She’s working on saying yes to more things that matter and no to more things that don’t. Keri attends our Downtown campus.