Baby Steps

She read Ps 37:23-24 in The Living Bible (TLB):

“The steps of good men are directed by the LORD. He delights in each step they take. If they fall, it isn’t fatal, for the LORD holds them with his hand.”

Hmmm… she thought. Who are these good men?

Paul says when we are saved, we are washed of our sins and we become good in the eyes of God. So these good men must be the saved. That means I’m one of the good guys.

“He delights in each step they take.”

The thought of a baby came to mind – one that was just learning to walk. And the delight on the dad’s face as he watched his son take each hesitant step.

God, as my Father, delights in my steps? That’s hard to believe because I sure don’t delight in them. I’m a baby in my faith and am just learning to walk. The steps are slow, often painful and awkward. But God delights in them, and He will always delight in them no matter how old I get.

“If they fall, it isn’t fatal…”

Wow, good to know. Because I fall a lot! My salvation does not depend on how well I walk, but on how well Jesus walked.

“for the LORD holds them with his hand.”

Jesus is right here, all the time, holding my hand as I continue taking steps.  I’ll never be separated from Him because it’s Him holding my hand, not me holding His.

Whew. This takes a lot of pressure off me!

She thought for a few minutes. So what I think God is saying is…

Relax! Don’t beat yourself up for your failures, but enjoy the whole spiritual learning process, because I do! I’m with you every step of the way!

Amazing!

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Muddy Purity

She read, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“God, I have a problem. My heart is not pure.”

“Yes it is.”

“It sure wasn’t when that driver cut me off in traffic.”

“True, you could have handled that differently. But your heart is still pure.”

“No way, not after I yelled at my kids for not cleaning up their stuff.”

“Yeah, they told me about that. It’s something to work on, but your heart is still pure.”

“How can You say that after the way I ignored that homeless person holding up that handwritten sign on the corner last week? I didn’t want to give anything to him so I pretended I didn’t see him. I’m so ashamed.”

“Now that you’ve experienced that sorrow, maybe next time you won’t ignore the pleas of the poor. But your heart is still pure.”

“How can my heart be pure if I’m doing all those things? No matter how much I don’t want to, I keep sinning.”

“Sinning is not the same as purity.”

“Huh?”

“Maybe this will help. Imagine holding a diamond, a pure diamond without any flaws. IMG_20180415_052040472Now picture dropping this diamond into some mud. Is the diamond still pure?”

“Yes. The diamond didn’t change. The mud is only on the outside. Inside, the diamond is still pure.”

“That’s right. The mud cannot get inside the diamond. The mud can make the purity hard to see, but it’s still there.”

“So, my heart is pure. But my sins make that hard to see.”

“Exactly.”

“I don’t know. That’s a good illustration, but my heart sure doesn’t feel pure.”

“Purity is not a feeling. It’s a fact.”

“How do You know that?”

“Because I’ve said so.”

“You did? When?”

“That night I ate supper with my disciples just before Judas betrayed Me.”

“Wasn’t that when you talked about the vine and branches, and when You prayed for us? I don’t remember You talking about a pure heart.

“Sure. Read John 15:3.”

“It says, ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.'”

“What do you think I meant by that?”

“Um, I guess I thought that meant our sins were forgiven.”

“You guess? Maybe you should look it up in a dictionary.”

“OK, here it is. Clean. There’re two definitions. The first one says ‘free from dirt, marks, or stains’. That would be the mud, right?  My sins that you’ve forgiven?”

“Yes. What does the other definition say?”

“It says, ‘pure, innocent’. Oh wow, I never associated clean with pure.”

She thought for a minute.  “So in John 15:3, when you were telling them that they were clean – pure – you were talking about their hearts and not their behavior.

“Yes.”

“And nothing they did, no sin they commit, changes that purity?”

“Right. It can be hidden under a lot of mud, but it’s still there.”

“That’s all well and good for the apostles. But I wasn’t there.”

“It applies to you, too. Read the rest of the passage and you will see that it applies to everyone who abides in Me.”

“Oh, right.” She was embarrassed that she had already forgotten that connection. “So, You said it and my heart is pure.”

“I did and it is.”

“No matter how muddy I get.”

“No matter how muddy you get.”

“Amazing,” she thought as she pictured that diamond in a mud puddle. “Simply amazing!”