April 13, 2011

April 13: Simultaneous flattery and humility

author_portrait

By Jessica Gotwals, a junior nursing major from Telford, Pa.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 50:4-9a (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
For the past three summers I have worked as a camp counselor. This was simultaneously the most flattering experience and the most humbling experience I’ve ever had.

Counseling is flattering because the kids that you’re with admire you (whether or not they should), and they imitate you all the time. Counseling is humbling for that exact same reason – kids imitate you all the time – and the fact that hundreds of children and teenagers watch and analyze everything you do makes you evaluate yourself a lot more closely. You catch yourself right before you say something negative about another person, right before you complain, right before you choose the easy way out. You make sure that you’re living up to the standard that is expected of you.

At camp and in life as a Christian, my purpose is to be an imitator of the character of Christ. Lent is a time for Christians to repent, to be mindful of our sin – a time for me to remember the situations when I failed to imitate Christ. Lent is also a time to set goals and refocus our relationship with God.

I love the beginning verses of today’s passage because they remind me that God is a Teacher, committed to challenging me and making me Christ-like; God “wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” Especially during Lent, I am reminded of the times I was resistant to God’s leading. I am reminded that God is working in me to do away with the old, redirect my path, and turn my whole being into an imitator of Christ. As verse 5 says, “The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away.”

God equips us with the Holy Spirit to be more like Christ. And, when we walk in the way of the Lord, we are not ashamed. We have confidence that the way of God is good. During this time of Lent, may you be made aware of the moments when you failed to imitate Christ, but be reassured that God is refining you to bring about Christ’s love. Praise to the God who walks with us as we grow more like Christ.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 50:4-9a (NRSV)
4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. 6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. 7 The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. 9 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

»

«

Comments (6)

  1. Thank-you, Jessie, for these wise words. You have the tongue and the pen and the life of a teacher.

    Becky Horst April 13, 2011 |
  2. Your next to last sentence is powerful and helpful as I stumble along trying to be faithful.

    Dennis April 13, 2011 |
  3. Good thoghts for today. God bless. Ora

    Ora April 13, 2011 |
  4. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. Your words and the scripture are life-giving and what I need today.

    Rose Shetler April 13, 2011 |
  5. Proud to know you Jess. Well done.

    Brenda Shelly April 13, 2011 |
  6. Having been a teacher all my life, I believe you when you say that the students look up to you for every word and gesture. I discovered the best way is to be objective, and objectivity is assured by faithfulness to the Word of Holy Scripture: to allow the Word enter and transform me.

    Mervyn Carapiet April 14, 2011 |