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  • Ed Hlad

Out of Practice

The more I am being grown into the image of Christ the more I realize how backwards I look at life. The Word of God speaks in ways that are sometimes so foreign to my way of thinking. I am learning, more each day, to trust the Word over my opinions but it still amazes me the difference sin has made in my life. Each time I see these differences I thank my heavenly Father for his patient, longsuffering, love in my life. These times of introspection are not discouraging but are times of worship as I am brought to the foot of the cross and amazed at how much my salvation has changed my life.

Just like so many of you, my pandemic life seems to consist of going to work and coming home. Each time that I wander from those two places I feel the pressure of the pandemic and the realization that so many of the things that I used to do for a distraction are still closed. Times of fellowshipping at a restaurant, getting wings with the guys, or going to a movie are gone. I could walk alone in the woods but I have spent enough time with myself lately.

With this lack of distraction and too much time alone, you would think that my heart would be overflowing with giving to others. My lack of opportunity to share with others should have my heart bursting with the desire to share with others. But the truth is that I find my heart being selfish. When I finally am able to be around people I find my needs shout so loud that I am not sensitive to the needs of others. I want my needs met before I seek to meet the needs of others. I want them to hear me and feed me before I am able to serve them. It is interesting, if not sad, that once I have my needs met then I find my heart desiring to meet the needs of others.

That is not the heart of Christ described in Philippines 2 or John 13. Jesus came to serve and not to be served. In his time of great distress he still ministered to his disciples. He continually thought of others first. It is in the serving of others that we find true joy. It is in serving others that we find that our needs are met best. Having the heart of Christ means ministering out the abundance of grace that he has given to us. We do not minister only when we feel we have what we want.

Some folks would shout to me that we must first take care of ourselves. Fill our cups first and then we can serve others. That makes sense to me. That is the best advice that makes the most sense to our sin ruined minds. But I want to live out of the new heart that Jesus gave me. I want to live out of the new heart that has been filled to abundance. I want to serve, even when my sin stained heart is empty. During my most stressful and empty times, I want to serve like Jesus and pray for people as I wash their feet. I am not there yet. But by the work of Jesus on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit he is slowly conforming me into the image of his son.

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