In the Bible times the perfume, nard, was composed of lavender oil. My inspiration for this poem were two stories of women in the Bible. One is the story of the sinful woman who came to Jesus and weeped at His feet, wiping them with her hair and pouring perfume on them seeking forgiveness (Luke 7:36-50). The other story is of Mary who anointed Jesus in Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:1-8).
One day at a girl's retreat that I went to with my church we had a dedication time. In that dedication time we all got a little vial of lavender perfume which we poured out as symbol of pouring ourselves out to God and dedicating ourselves to living for Him. I will always remember this time because it was there that I started to pursue a relationship with my God.
Once there was a rose. Her parents planted her, watered her and made sure she got plenty of sunlight (as every parent should). She prospered and thrived.
Then her aunt came along and told her she made a wonderful daffodil. So the rose started to think I am such a good daffodil, I should keep on acting and being like a daffodil.
People she knew continued to tell her she made a good daffodil. Some even said she was a good daisy, or a good sunflower or a good morning glory. The rose lost track of what God had created her to be and kept on being what others thought that she should be.
The moral of the story is this: don't let people tell you what you should be, be what you know God wants you to be. Center your plans around what God wants. A verse goes, " For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10).God has made us with certain things in mind, seek out His will and follow Him like He said we should when He was on earth,
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"(Matthew 16:24-26)
Life here on earth doesn't matter, we should not forfeit our soul in order to become wealthy or prosperous. No, rather we should follow God, losing our life for His purpose. We should be roses when the world around us tell us to be daffodils.
So think about it: what is God calling you to do in your life? Shine the light of Jesus more? Or maybe be a more faithful friend? Whatever you do, do it for God. Do it to follow God and to be the handiwork that He skillfully created.
Yesterday I did a devotion for a youth group I'm in; it was about training in godliness. I thought I would post it here so more people can see it.
"Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others,
I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
What Paul is saying here is that we should live our lives for God, we should live our lives the way He would want as revealed to us in the Bible.
As I was preparing my devotion I noticed just how many verses have this theme of training in godliness in it. So I thought to myself, "it must be important then!" One of the verses I found was 1 Timothy 4:7-8 which says,"...train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." I love these verses! They show me why I need this training, it has value for the life to come (heaven).
The other verse I found is Hebrews 12:1 which says, "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." This gives me an analogy for why I need this training in godliness. My life is a race, the training I do helps me to "throw of everything that hinders" and "run with perseverance."
You might be thinking as you read this that to train yourself to live like God wants is something impossible. I'll be truthful, the reason I chose this topic to do for a devotion is because I've been struggling with training in godliness. I've been discouraged about it, but God has been teaching me some things and that's what I want to share. God has shown me that He is faithful and will help me with my training in godliness. I guess you could call Him my Personal Trainer.
As someone who has accepted God's gift of salvation we can go to Him in prayer about our training, we can tell Him about the sins that we seem not to be able to overcome in our training. We can confide in Him, for we cannot do our training without Him. Even though we want to believe we can train on our own, we need our Personal Trainer. By praying we are able to contact our trainer God.
My current favorite verse (it changes a lot) is Philippians 4:6-7 which says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." This verse has given me a lot of encouragement in the past and recently. It reminds me of what I should do- when I don't know what it is I should do: I should pray.
Sometimes in my life I get so stressed and anxious. When I go to God in prayer about it, He is faithful to do what He says in the Bible and He gives me peace.
My advice to you if you are struggling in your training in godliness is to pray about it. Give it to God. It is the best thing to do and it's what God's Word says to do.
"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
These verses show what a person who has accepted Christ as their Savior from sin's relationship with God should look like. You might have heard before that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship, and this is completely true.
When I was almost twelve years old I started to get to know God like the psalmist did. I had gone on a grirls' retreat with my church, and at it I noticed all these older girls who had such a wonderful relationship with God. It was like the Lord was their number one desire, and that He helped them in their lives. When I noticed all of this, I decided that I wanted God to be like that in my life, too. After the retreat I decided to start having a quiet time and then started getting to know God, my Savior.
Well that's my story, or testimony as you might call it, and it helps make the point that I'm writing about: we should all get to know God, that is what He made us for. It says in Romans 12:2 to, " not conform to the pattern of this world..." in other words don't conform when books or movies or friends tell you that God does not exist, or that getting to know Him isn't worth the time. The verse continues saying, "...but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." A way to renew your mind is to get to know God through prayer and study of His word. The last part of the verse goes, "...then you will be able to test and approve what God's Will is, His good pleasing and perfect will."
A big struggle for me is finding out what the Lord wants me to do with my life, or even what He wants me to do during the day in regards to how to treat people or the decisions I make. This verse encourages me to trust God and get to know Him through prayer and His Word because then, it says, I can know what God's Will is. Life is so confusing though, decisions to struggle with are everywhere whether it's deciding if that TV show is pleasing to God, or if that friend is a godly influence or if you should go on that mission trip.
This last example I gave is one that I had to make recently. The opportunity to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua or Guatemala. It was an incredibly hard decision to make, it tested my faith in God to supply me with the wisdom and the spiritual discernment, but He did prove faithful.
I have decided to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua for a month with a group called Adventures in Missions or AIM. I'm excited about going! A month long mission trip to another country will be a new experience for me. I can tell that my relationship with God will be tested. It's a good thing that I've learned that it's amazing how we can learn to trust God and have peace in Him when we get to know Him. Until the mission trip, and during the mission trip I will be learning more and more about how that is true.