I'm thirty-five today. If my math is right, that makes 12,775 days of living. Many of those moments I once wished I could unlive. In fact, in a past life, I spent much of my time attempting to unlive through various vices. I was different then.
Threaded throughout my years of unliving were also efforts to cleanse myself. I strived to please God. I tried to pray more. I tried to read the Bible more. I tried to be a nicer Christian. I tried. I tried. I tried until I failed. Then, I went back to unliving.
I unlived until I began to let the Master live through me.
Earlier today a coworker showered me with birthday Scriptures—literally. It is her tradition to pray over and write out Scripture that speaks to the birthday girl (or boy). She writes the Scriptures on colorful paper destined to be curled into wonderfully-bouncy-confetti-strings. Of course, all of the Scriptures spoke to me but today one verse stood out in particular: "Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work" (2 Timothy 2:21 NIV).
There are many "latter" aspects to our lives. This particular chapter is specifically teaching about dealing with false teachers. I would argue that there are many types of false teachers. However, for today, my heart is inclined to focus on the Master.
This inclination is partly due to our daily staff devotions. This week our time of worship and prayer has centred around the theme of drawing near to the Master. As I read my wonderfully-bouncy-confetti-string Scripture it occurred to me that the only way to cleanse ourselves from the latter is to know the Master. In knowing Him—not just knowing of Him—but deeply diving into knowing Him is the only way to live.
On this thirty-fifth birthday, I am struck by a simple and profound reality. My lil man—all of three months and thirteen days old—will only ever know me as I am now. He will never know me as the girl that broke hearts—including my own. That amazes me. Yet, I am humbled by another simple and profound reality: the Master of the Universe chooses to only ever know me as I am now. According to His Word, He says, "I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again" (Isaiah 43:25 NLT).
He lives through me. He cleanses me. He chooses to know me as I am...and He gives me good gifts.
Speaking of gifts, today, my mom gave me a homemade scarf. My favorite Aunt Betty called to love on me. My hubby showed up at work with a dozen red roses and a lil bling. My coworker, Julie, baked a Reece's Peices brownie cake. My boss blessed me with a pretty picture frame. My dear C also dropped by the office. She made me a swanky hankie. Of course, she also had a Starbucks in hand. It's been a wonderful day but nothing beats the gift of the Word of God. Nothings beats the gift of a relationship with the Master. It is solely because of that relationship that I can celebrate a new found appreciation for my mom, a deepening respect for my husband, and the delights that only girlfriends can share. Truly, my unlived days are over.
Choose the Master and He will live through you. He will cleanse you. He will choose know you as you are...and he will give you good gifts.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights
with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow" (James 1:17 NASB).