What is Your Life Built On?

My family and I recently had the opportunity to stay in a cabin in the mountains of Pigeon Forge, TN. While outside of our cabin I noticed the cabins to the left and right of us. I saw that the foundations of the cabins were built on a large slab of cement blocks. The cabins’ foundation reminded me of the parable of the wise and the foolish builders found in Matthew 7:24-27.

Matthew 7:24-27

Jesus proclaimed, “24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

   In the parable Jesus invites us to evaluate and consider the foundation on which we have built our lives. Our lives are a sum total of our decisions, God’s grace, mercy and sovereignty. Are we basing our decisions on the rock of God’s word and his Holy spirit or on the sands of the world and our ever-changing emotions?

If we find ourselves making decisions and emoting based on our current sensory input and or the input from the world we can end up making decisions that lead us unto paths we do not want to be on. We will also find that making decisions based on our unstable emotions result in an unstable life. Jesus teaches us that if we make the decision to take heed to his words and live them out we will be like the wise builder whose house was built on the rock. The house built on the rock could withstand the harsh elements. If we choose to build a life on the rock of Christ he will  empower us to withstand and even flourish during turbulent times.

 

     Questions to reflect on

What are you building your life on?

Do you make decisions largely based on emotions or on the stable wisdom of God’s word?

Is your life in alignment with God’s word and direction?

What is your life’s mission?

Is your life’s mission in alignment with God’s purpose for your life?

How can your life serve as a light in this world?

What can you do today to progress in attaining your goals?

 

 

Latoya Williams

True Beauty

              Webster defines Vanity as. “inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance”.We may not hear the word vanity much today, but it is a very real and pervasive problem in today’s society. We are encouraged to take pride in ourselves and our appearance. Self-care is important but self-preoccupation is idolatrous. Looking good on the outside is nice but it should not be the ultimate priority for a Jesus follower. The ultimate priority for Christians ought to be fulfilling the greatest commandments which, according to Jesus are to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:37-39. Vanity, self-exaltation, self-preoccupation and self-centeredness is idolatrous and is rooted in ungodly pride.

Unfortunately, Vanity is not exclusive to the secular world it also operated in some churches. Before Covid it was not uncommon for many church attendees to treat Church like a fashion show especially during Easter. I’m guilty of it myself. I think it is proper to dress nice and modestly if possible out of honor to the house of the Lord and our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ but our fashion should not be the ultimate priority when preparing ourselves to worship our heavenly Father and fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look nice outwardly but we need to be mindful that having the latest fashions, make up and jewelry does not make us truly beautiful. True beauty is Godliness. The best beauty treatments we can undergo are spending time with God, studying his word, worshipping him and loving others. We have to be careful to not allow the temptations of vanity to creep in and flourish in our hearts and attitudes. We all know that someone can be gorgeous on the outside yet ugly on the inside. But how much effort do we place on our inward beautification? Some of us may spend hours on our outward appearance and just a few mins with the soul healing, sanctifying/beautifying word and presence of God.

                                                                                                                                                                        

Challenge

Let’s spend more time on our spiritual/true beauty than our physical one.

May we not be puffed up in pride or slumped down low due to our outward appearance

Let us be ever mindful that true beauty lies within our Godliness.

May we not treat our outward appearance as a means to compete with or “outdo” other women.

May we find our value in God and not our outward appearance.

Let us not succumb to the temptation to be consumed by how we look.

May we be so inwardly beautiful that we operate as a safe space for people especially other women who are hurting.

Let the adorning of ourselves be an expression that complements us but ultimately glorifies God.

Let us have a beauty that glorifies God and heals other.

By God’s grace may we not be desperate to try to measure up to the world’s standard of beauty.

 

 Prayer
Father God thank you for your grace and mercy please forgive and heals us of any vanity within. When vanity tries to rear its ugly head and tempt us to be overly consumed about our outward appearance please lovingly remind us to turn our gaze back to you father for you are the most beautiful one and you are the one who has the ability to give us true beauty. Please help us to base our identity and self-worth in you and not our outward appearance and please help us to see ourselves and others the way that you do. Father God please help us to not be puffed up in pride about our outward beauty. Please help us to be more concerned with our inward beauty than our outward one. May our inner and true beauty shine in such a way that you are glorified, and the people around us are blessed and loved by you through us.

 

Scriptures/ Beautifiers

1 Peter 3:3-4

3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.

4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight

1 Samuel 16:7

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Timothy 2:9-10 

9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,

10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God

Proverbs 31:30

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

 

Latoya Williams