And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 NLT)
There are many self-help guides and programs to help you overcome “flaws” in our character such as anger management, behavioral issues, etc. These programs are very beneficial. However, when it comes to sin we need more than self-help programs. We need a heart transplant. We need a new beginning. We need to be born again. God promises He will remove the hard heart of sin and replace it with one that is tender and responsive to His Spirit. If we will ask and allow Him, He will remove the heart of pride and replace it with a humble heart that can hear His voice. He will put His law in our hearts. Not a law that is demanding obedience but a law of law that causes us to want to follow Him and obey Him. That is grace.
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. Revelation 1:5b (NLT)
18 people. There were 18 people coming to lunch after church. Normally, my husband and I pull these off without a hitch but he wasn’t going to be around this day. No problem, I thought. I pulled off huge parties by myself before we were married. I can still do this.
I had a plan. First, I planned the menu and made sure that it wasn’t too complicated. I had a busy week so I made sure to buy the groceries early in the week. I took Good Friday off and made a couple of the big dishes. The morning of, I knew what I was supposed to do and when I had to do it.
Did I mention I had company for the weekend? Some of my family was staying with us. And, did I mention that my grandson also spent the night? No worries! I had it all figured out. The morning of the lunch came and I was still doing OK. I knew when I had to put the turkey in the oven so it would cook while we were at church for Bible Study and the Service.
Then, my grandson got really tired super early, an hour and a half before his normal nap time. Well, I thought, I’ll let him take his nap and we’ll skip Bible Study and just go to service. He went right to sleep. Then, as I was prepping food, I got into a great conversation with my nephew. After a little bit, I looked at the clock and OH NO! I forgot to put the turkey in. I was a full hour late!
I popped it in and prayed that it would cook fast and off we all went to church. When we got home, the turkey wasn’t done and 18 people were waiting around for it to finish. Of course, everyone was hungry and I felt terrible. My family was super gracious and very understanding but I was pretty hard on myself. I’d pulled this off so many times before – what happened? I had a plan!
As we bowed our heads to thank God for the meal, I realized that this is what Easter is all about. In spite of our best efforts, all the planning, the prepping and the good intentions, we still make mistakes. We still mess up. And God says “It’s OK. Your worth is not defined by your performance; it’s defined by your love for me. Relax and enjoy.”
Thank you, Jesus. It’s good to be able to take a deep breath and enjoy the life you have given me. And it’s good to know that it’s not all about me. Amen.
–Elaine Kapetanakis (thought4theday.com)