In the early morning quiet the redhead, clad in her white cotton granny gown, stumbles sleepily into her gray writing space. Asher, the snaggle-toothed cat, has assumed his spot on top of the brown roll top desk. Hopes of getting up before the brown and white hamsters can run away with her focus are dashed when the writers sleep filled eyes see her black shoes kicked carelessly by her desk reminding her of last night’s latest failed writing attempt.
With a resigned sigh the stubborn redhead gives in and opens her duck taped Bible to 2 Chronicles 12:14. The obstinate woman has ignored all week the Holy Spirit’s prompting to blog about this short but profound verse. The result of her refusal to obey has repeated each day with a growing band of familiar brown and white hamsters racing away on silver wheels with the focus, ideas, and creativity of an increasingly agitated redhead. ”Do you trust me?” the familiar voice asks patiently. It is time to surrender to the true author to do what the writer cannot do herself.
These words were written about King Rehoboam, son and successor of the wise King Solomon. King Rehoboam’s reign was characterized by an evil heart toward the Lord. This heart hardened King ruled for seventeen years, and he was at constant war with Jeroboam and his worthless rough necked rogues. An entire nation suffered because of one man’s heartless actions.
Most of us do not rule over a nation; however, we all have spheres of influence affecting how others rule their lives. Did you know even the most introverted of people will influence 10,000 people in their lifetimes? The words we speak and the actions we take matter especially in the realm of family, friends, and coworkers. What we dwell on becomes what we say and often what we say gradually becomes what we do and who we are.
“Guard your heart, take your every thought captive, meditate on whatever is true, good and noble.” Our minds have become numb to these words plastered and spoken everywhere. Even the self-help gurus have embraced and twisted the sacred words of God to fit into their own lucrative agendas. These verses, and many similar to them, have been ingrained in the minds of the comfortable church culture to the point we believe we are doing this intentional action automatically without conscious effort of what we truly dwell upon.
Humiliated does not convey the depth of how the prideful redhead would feel if the world knew how many times she has fallen on her pale face simply because she has decided only on a surface level in her mind that she would never do such a wrong thing. Never considering her reaction to an unthinkable place in her future where time, temptation, and a vulnerable moment inevitably meet, the redhead has fallen hard. The sudden and even not so sudden face plants have had great repercussions for not only herself, but for her family and close friends whom she loves the most.
Complacency and blissful ignorance continually conspire against us. We walk through the doors or our churches and listen online to rock-star preachers. Habitually we say the right words and act a certain way when we encounter the stained-glass crowd on our small-town streets. We throw up a couple of pop-up prayers, read a short devotional and call it over and above for God.
PREPARE, the insightful hamsters squeak shrilly in perfect unison, never missing a step as they continue to race on their shiny wheels. Long lasting good rarely results by going through the expected and habitual motions of devotion if we don’t or won’t prepare our hearts to follow through.
Is it possible we go down in flames burning our loved ones with stray embers because we do not first prepare our hearts before or even as we seek the Lord? The pensive redhead wonders out loud, as she gazes into the round green eyes of her snaggle tooth cat, if consistently taking the time to prepare our thoughts to seek our Lord is the true start of taking captive those tainted thoughts which become our actions and which in turn prove who we are to a hopeless watching world.
This week’s redhead challenge is this: make a list of your everyday activities. Record the places you go, people you see, things you do. Include the songs you listen to and the things you watch, read, or play. Include the things you eat and drink. You can make your list as long or short as you like. Take time to evaluate your list with prayerful, open and honest minds. Do your daily activities prepare your heart to seek the Lord or do they distract you from preparing your heart or from seeking God at all?
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Sarah Burnette 7-30-22