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I’m liking the candy corn around me, deep azure skies above, and an extra hour of sleep on the horizon. I like autumn, but it’s not my favorite. Before passionate fall-enthusiasts take defensive aim, let me just honor your right to like whatever you choose. Perhaps your heart skips a beat when pumpkin pie shows up on the table. My eyes glisten at herald angels singing, but my kids wretch at the first carol on the radio. Though I wish they could enjoy my favorites with me, it isn’t a household rule. My family knows what they prefer, and it isn’t always aligned with my wish list.

 

We often bristle against our dissimilar preferences in the family of God. Professing what we like and what we don’t can turn into household rules edging out those who disagree. Options diversify and thereby beautify the world, but make poor legislators. Scripture doesn’t command us to like everything, nor does God insist we all like the same things.

You’re welcome to enjoy the old hymns while I prefer the electric guitar. Both obey the Biblical call to worship. Please serve the homeless, but allow me to encourage the abused. Both follow the call to care for those in need. As long as we follow the Word of God without changing it, we can show His love in the unique ways we like. The Lord created us with intentional differences in likes and perspectives. He knows what His children enjoy better than we know ourselves. 

So, whether you eat candy corn by the layer, by the handful, or never touch the stuff, notice how the varied colors offer beauty to the season. The same ingredients flavor each part, however. In God’s Kingdom, each unique hue carries the potential to deliver joy sweetened by the same Spirit of Love. When we join hands in love, God transforms us into a beautiful family which honors our unique brothers and sisters to more perfectly glorify the same Lord.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink… Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? …But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be…The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ …But God has put the body together… so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”

– 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

 

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Have you ever had a “gee” statement hovering over your life? You know, one of those wistful comments that recur in your mind which usually end in a sigh? They tend to come with “if” and “wish” phrases, and weigh more than a sack of wet laundry. To put a finer point on them, gee thoughts bog the mind and heart, discouraging action.  

I’ve had a heavy one looming over me like an energy-zapping thundercloud.

Gee, it’d be nice if I could finally pursue my life’s purpose with confidence. 

I’ve long assured my little “gee” that I only lack self-confidence, but trust God’s faithfulness. What if I pursue the wrong course? After all, I could make a mistake. I’m rather goof-prone, so I can justify distrusting myself. Gee, I wish I were more graceful and less flawed. If I were made perfect, of course, I’d be successful for Jesus.

Gee…that made perfect phrase sounds familiar. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Scripture reminds me I don’t have to be perfect. God is perfect when I am flawed. Self-confidence remains a little “gee” issue, which faith renders a non-issue. Not only is God big enough to eclipse my flaws, He will be more glorified through them. 

My problem lay in granting authority to that little “gee” instead of trusting in the sovereignty of my big “G” God. My big “G” God can call down fire of inspiration, energy, and possibility. My big “G” will do His purpose through me if I just step into deeper faith. Come on Holy Spirit, set my life ablaze! 

Autumn’s cascading leaves and glimmer of auburn across the horizon offers a perfect setting to consider falling. Though I’m as prone as Lucile Ball’s screen characters to stumble through my home, today’s blog won’t highlight the comic relief of physical clumsiness. As we delve into squash season, let’s take a moment to plan how we deal with a spiritual spill.
Even the most grace-filled Christians trip over their tongues, attitudes, and fingertips now and then. Asking whether we’ll stumble remains a moot point. The significant issue lies with what we do during and afterward.
How do you cope with your fall?
1. Do not stiffen.
Bracing against the impact includes techniques such as denial, burying, avoidance, and blame-shifting. Take responsibility. Apologize. Don’t put it off.
2. Use your knees.
Pray. Ask the Lord to help you humble your mind and heart as soon as possible. Pray. Seek reorientation and transformation from the Holy Spirit. Pray. Listen for direction from the Lord, scripture, and mature Christians. Did I mention you should pray?
3. Take the hand helping you up.
Jesus might lift you up in Spirit, or also employ a Christian friend in the process. Once your heart has changed, take that grace extended to you.
4. Move on.
Only the enemy would have us remain defeated in the dirt. God convicts us in order to move us forward in His purpose.
If you absorb all the spiritual renewal Christ offers in the process, God can strengthen you beyond your pre-tumbled state. Learn. Transform. Proceed.
May Jesus bless your autumn and renew you through every fall.

“…only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.'” – John 8:9-11

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