Choose your FACE...Change your DAY

Choose your FACE...Change your DAY

Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart. Proverbs 27:19

I love 4 year olds...they understand so much!  A few years ago, I told my then 4 year old grandson Evan that we choose our attitude.  And he got it!

I didn’t always think that was true, but the older I get the more I believe our choosing has a lot to do with it. And if we are children of God, the living, indwelling Christ empowers us to have an appropriate attitude for the situation.

I experienced this simple truth with another 4 year old when I was teaching preschool many years ago.

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Choose your FACE...Change your DAY

Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart. Proverbs 27:19

I love 4 year olds...they understand so much!  A few years ago, I told my then 4 year old grandson Evan that we choose our attitude.  And he got it!

I didn’t always think that was true, but the older I get the more I believe our choosing has a lot to do with it. And if we are children of God, the living, indwelling Christ empowers us to have an appropriate attitude for the situation.

I experienced this simple truth with another 4 year old when I was teaching preschool many years ago.

It was getting toward the end of the school year...maybe April or early May.  I was reflecting on the precious group of "free spirits" entrusted to my care that year.  The Lord had done some amazing spiritual work in the lives of those five four-year-old's and in my own life as their teacher.

But I was somewhat distressed, feeling that I hadn't quite "reached" one little boy.  I felt that way because he usually looked stressed.  And he often had a negative expression on his face...what might be called a "NO" face.  Somewhat resigned to the fact that "you can't win them all," I just kept on doing what we were doing.

One day, the children were washing their hands two by two.  Little Johnny (not his real name) was not acting properly toward the child at the sink with him.  So of course, I reprimanded him.  He glared at me with his "NO " face, obviously not happy!

I said, "Johnny, don't give me that face!  Give me a gentle face!"  Immediately, Johnny changed his face...and peace came over him!  I was amazed!

Then just about an hour later, we were lining up by the door to go home.  At the end of each class day, I would stand at the door and face the children, waiting until they formed a line in front of me.  Then we would proceed down the hall and out to the waiting moms.  I looked at Johnny who, at that point, had the usual, somewhat negative, expression on his face.  When he made eye contact with me, he must have remembered our little interchange at the sink.  He immediately relaxed his expression and smiled.

Later I asked the Lord about it.  "Lord, what just happened?"  He led me to an incredible Scripture I had never noticed before:

A man's wisdom illumines his face and causes his stern face to change. Ecclesiastes 8:1b  NASB

Days later, Johnny's mom came up to me and said, "Jan, you changed Johnny's life!"  She had seen a new peace in her child.  And I praised God, knowing it wasn't me who made the change, but the Holy Spirit working in one little boy's life by enabling him to "change his face."

Not long ago, this very thread ran through discussion with a group of friends.  One woman said she wanted to be more gentle, so the Lord led her to start closing doors and cabinets quietly.  Another person wanted to not respond to mistakes in anger and frustration, so he began to speak out a gentle answer and found that it turned away his own wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)

After my husband's heart attack, John and I went to his cardiac rehab class called, "The Emotional Side of Heart Disease."

This was an excellent class about managing stress...especially the stresses associated with having just suffered a heart attack.  We both looked at each other when Patty, the rehab nurse, read an excerpt from an article called, "Laughter Really is the Best Medicine."

Move joyfully.  If you wake up in a bad mood, act like you're in a good mood, and your body can actually 'fake out' your own brain.  It's called 'fake it till you make it.'  When the copier breaks down in the office, instead of hitting it, try twirling while you tell people the copier isn't working.  Trust me, when you do this, it's impossible to feel stressed.  By substituting playful gestures for angry ones, your brain often short-circuits your own stress.

I'm not so sure I can see my engineer husband twirling at the copier, but this principle seems to be at the heart of the way the body and mind work together.

But the even better news for us believers is that we have the mind of Christ, and so we can choose to submit our body to Him and His indwelling life. We can "chose our face" and expect that His empowering, indwelling, resurrection Life will live through us...as us, all to the glory of His Name!

So dear brothers and sisters, "chose your face"...and change the way you live your human life in this world...to the glory of God...one day at a time!

...we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor 2:16b

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:5-8

Choose Your "Face"...Change Your Day

Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart. Proverbs 27:19

I love 4 year olds...they understand so much!  I keep telling 4 year old grandson Evan that we choose our attitude.  And he gets it!

I didn’t always think that was true, but the older I get the more I believe our choosing has a lot to do with it. And if we are children of God, the living, indwelling Christ empowers us to have an appropriate attitude for the situation.

I experienced this simple truth with another 4 year old when I was teaching preschool many years ago.

It was getting toward the end of the school year...maybe April or early May.  I was reflecting on the precious group of "free spirits" entrusted to my care that year.  The Lord had done some amazing spiritual work in the lives of those five four-year-old's and in my own life as their teacher.

But I was somewhat distressed, feeling that I hadn't quite "reached" one little boy.  I felt that way because he usually looked stressed.  And he often had a negative expression on his face...what might be called a "NO" face.  Somewhat resigned to the fact that "you can't win them all," I just kept on doing what we were doing.

One day, the children were washing their hands two by two.  Little Johnny (not his real name) was not acting properly toward the child at the sink with him.  So of course, I reprimanded him.  He glared at me with his "NO " face, obviously not happy!

I said, "Johnny, don't give me that face!  Give me a gentle face!"  Immediately, Johnny changed his face...and peace came over him!  I was amazed!

Then just about an hour later, we were lining up by the door to go home.  At the end of each class day, I would stand at the door and face the children, waiting until they formed a line in front of me.  Then we would proceed down the hall and out to the waiting moms.  I looked at Johnny who, at that point, had the usual, somewhat negative, expression on his face.  When he made eye contact with me, he must have remembered our little interchange at the sink.  He immediately relaxed his expression and smiled.

Later I asked the Lord about it.  "Lord, what just happened?"  He led me to an incredible Scripture I had never noticed before:

A man's wisdom illumines his face and causes his stern face to change. Ecclesiastes 8:1b  NASB

Days later, Johnny's mom came up to me and said, "Jan, you changed Johnny's life!"  She had seen a new peace in her child.  And I praised God, knowing it wasn't me who made the change, but the Holy Spirit working in one little boy's life by enabling him to "change his face."

Just a few weeks ago, this very thread ran through discussion with a group of friends.  One woman said she wanted to be more gentle, so the Lord led her to start closing doors and cabinets quietly.  Another person wanted to not respond to mistakes in anger and frustration, so he began to speak out a gentle answer and found that it turned away his own wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)

The other day, John and I went to his cardiac rehab class called, "The Emotional Side of Heart Disease."

This was an excellent class about managing stress...especially the stresses associated with having just suffered a heart attack.  We both looked at each other when Patty, the rehab nurse read an excerpt from an article called, "Laughter Really is the Best Medicine."

Move joyfully.  If you wake up in a bad mood, act like you're in a good mood, and your body can actually 'fake out' your own brain.  It's called 'fake it till you make it.'  When the copier breaks down in the office, instead of hitting it, try twirling while you tell people the copier isn't working.  Trust me, when you do this, it's impossible to feel stressed.  By substituting playful gestures for angry ones, your brain often short-circuits your own stress.

I'm not so sure I can see my engineer husband twirling at the copier, but this principle seems to be at the heart of the way the body and mind work together.

But the even better news for us believers is that we have the mind of Christ, and so we can choose to submit our body to Him and His indwelling life. We can "chose our face" and expect that His empowering, indwelling, resurrection Life will live through us...as us, all to the glory of His Name!

So dear brothers and sisters, "chose your face"...and change the way you live your human life in this world...to the glory of God!

...we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor 2:16b

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:5-8

A Day of Reckoning...Put Off/Put On!

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:11 KJV

reckoning, ledger
reckoning, ledger

Today is a Day of Reckoning...but not how you think!  Usually we use that term to mean to give an accounting, a calculation, a settlement of accounts.  In fact according to Wikipedia, it can mean a host of things from the Final Judgment Day to heavy metal albums and Nintendo games.

But in the Bible sense, EVERY day is a Day of Reckoning.  This word reckon in the Greek is often rendered consider.  In other words, "count on something to be true".  My reckoning doesn't MAKE it true.  It already IS true, so I count on it and live from it.  So each day is THE day to reckon to be true what God says is true...because it IS true.  I can take it to the bank and live from it :)

In my last post, I described how I got free from the LIE that held me captive.  As you may remember, it was by considering myself (reckoning) to be dead to it, because IAM dead to it through my union with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.

For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1

How this can play out in the life of a believer in a practical way is found in Paul's letters, especially to the Colossians and Ephesians.  There he uses the imagery of clothing to show what reckoning yourself dead to sin, self, flesh, legalism, and the lies of the enemy looks like in real life.   Paul then shows what it looks like to live alive to God.  It's all wrapped up in the key words put off and put on.

Taking off clothing and putting on other clothing are things we do everyday.  We hardly even think about it (except to chose our outfits ).  Let's compare this to the spiritual activity of living from the life of the indwelling Christ each day.

old nightgown
old nightgown

Let me illustrate from my own "world of fashion".  About 15-20 years ago, I bought a beautiful nightgown to keep me warm and feminine in the cold Ohio winters.  I've loved that nightgown!  I could wrap myself in it and be cozy and comfortable.   And despite the fact that it's faded and worn, I've had a hard time giving it up to the ragbag.  Every year as the weather has turned colder I've taken it out of said bag to put it on "just one more year".

Now my husband is not a rich man, but he is a good provider and has enabled me to have other beautiful options.  But they are not as comfortable to my "flesh" as that old "friend".

new nightgown
new nightgown

Yet in reality, that old rag is not consistent with who I am as John's wife...a well-loved and cared for woman.  I just have a hard time putting on those new gowns.  So out "she" comes for yet another season.

It's kind of the same way with our spiritual clothing as beloved believers united to our True Lover Jesus Christ.  He has provided His own beautiful character as clothing for our human life on this earth:  love, forgiveness, kindness, truth, compassion, peace, self-control...

But what do we do?  We continually go back into the "ragbag" of our fleshly life before Christ and put on those comfortable characteristics that are inconsistent with who we are in Christ:  things such as sexual immorality & impurity, pride, greed, jealousy & competition, unforgiveness,... [For further study look at these passages:  Ephesians 4:17-5:21; Col 3:1-16; Gal 5:16-26; Rom 12:1-3,9-20; Rom 13:8-14; 2Tim 2:22]

God says to put those off!  Every time we are tempted to live out of the ragbag, we can chose to

put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14

After all, the indwelling Lord Jesus Christ IS our wardrobe!  In fact, by choosing Christ in all His fulness of character, we are at the same time laying aside the ragbag characteristics of life without Christ.*

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life...is with Christ in God. He is your life.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God...bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:3-14  MESSAGE

[*For an inspiring, though challenging sermon on this very point, readThe Expulsive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers.  This is not for the faint of heart, but you will be incredibly blessed!]