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Monday, March 4, 2013

5:58 PM

Proverbs 23:7 - "For as he thinks within himself, so his is."


It was a cold, windy, somewhat snowy day, when I drove into my neighborhood.  The snow wasn't falling heavily but it was falling.  I had taken my son to school and now was heading home for just a minute before going back out.  As I rounded the corner at the top of the hill leading to our house something caught my eye.  There is a row of cedar trees going around the curve and it looked as if someone had taken a paintbrush and painted the backside of those trees white, while the front was green.  It was amazing because it formed an almost perfect line.  Half white from the snow and half the green of the cedar.  It was beautiful.

I got out of the car and came inside but what I saw stayed with me.  Part of it was white and part green, why was it that way?  It was that way because the snow had been on and off, and during the time that it wasn't snowing the wind was blowing and the sun was gently peeking through the clouds.  The combination of the wind and a little bit of sun had taken the snow away on the front side of the trees.  They were exposed and because of that the wind blew some of the snow off and the sun caused some of the snow to melt.  All that was left was the dark green cedar shining through.

The backside continued to have snow on it because it was protected.  Protected from the direct hit of the wind, and hidden from the sun.  It wasn't exposed so the snow was still hanging on.   It really was a beautiful picture. 

But it was more than just beautiful, it was a picture that had a message.  Psalm 19:1 says "the heaven declares the glory of God."  And certainly the Bible tells us that all creation points to the reality of God.  That reality was evident that day, God was alive and well and still painting pictures on trees through the beauty of His creation of snow. 

But the message went deeper than that, it showed something about life, and what it showed was this, we become like what we are exposed to.  The snow was gone on the front because it was exposed and on the back where there was no exposure it was still there.  The exposure was transforming.

We see that in life too don't we? We become like what we are exposed to.  Proverbs 23:7 reminds us of that "as a man thinks in his heart, so he is."  We become like what we think about and we generally spend a lot of time thinking about what we are exposed to don't we? 

If we want to become people whose lives are filled up with worry and with fear we probably should spend a lot of time watching the news and on social media.  If we want to become people who are never satisfied with life, we should spend a lot of time watching TV shows that show affairs, greed, jealousy, murder, and people who are workaholics because they aren't satisfied with life.  If we want to become critical people we should continually expose ourselves to chat rooms and spend a lot of time reading anonymous comments on the internet.  If you want to be miserable expose yourself to the world, it will gladly tell you what is wrong with you, all the while never offering any hope or a solution.

If however you want to become more like Jesus, expose yourself to His word.  If you want to love people more spend more time praying for them.  If you want to become a more loving, more joyful, more patient, more peaceful person expose yourself to the truths of God and to the Holy Spirit.  If you want to know your problems but know that you are loved in spite of them expose yourself to the Gospel.  Meditate on the reality that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and problems, He died to give you forgiveness. He said while hanging on that cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."  He died so our sins could be forgiven  but He also died so that you might be changed.  He died to offer you a solution to the problem of you.  John Piper says that "Jesus went to the cross to offer us a solution to the problem of fatalism, to show us that we don't have to say 'well that's just the way I am'."  He died so that  we could become different, changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our problem is our sin but Jesus gives us a solution to that problem, He takes our sins away and then He begins the process of changing us, especially as we expose ourselves to Him and His word.

No wonder Paul reminded the church at Philippi, "finally whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8)".  In other words think about the love of God, the justice of God, the mercy of God.  Think about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It will change you because you become what you are exposed to.  So expose yourself to Jesus.  Spend time with Him, not just as individuals but as families as well.  We become like what we are exposed to, so lets spend time with Jesus so that we might be more like Him.