Friday, April 15, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Grow closer to God and reflect His Image

Broken Image

A devotional by Erin M. Handley

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
– James 1:22-25 (NIV)

It’s interesting how the human body communicates with us.

It may be something in the air that makes us cough, sneeze, or itch. Sometimes we eat something, and our stomach will always find a way to let us know that it does not agree with what was on the menu. Sometimes we wait too long to eat, and we find ourselves with what some of us refer to as a “hunger headache”. No matter how subtle or severe, our body finds a way to communicate with us. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what is wrong, but we do know that something is not right.

Some can attest to suffering from an allergy or a symptom of some type. It can be a nuisance, but it can also serve as a gentle reminder that a change has to be made in order to fix what is essentially broken. The sneezing, itching, or watery eyes can serve as a reminder that allergy medicine must be taken to prevent an allergy attack. The stomachache that is a result of eating the wrong food can be the body’s way of requesting a change in diet. The hunger headache may very well be the body’s way of saying we have to slow down to take care of ourselves by simply feeding the body.

But what happens when the symptom is ignored?

Do the seasonal allergies grow into more severe allergies? Do the stomachaches turn into ongoing stomach issues if a change in diet does not occur? What is the worst that could happen if a person chose to never eat again? Yes, this series of questions may seem to become slightly irrational, but what happens when the tendency to ignore symptoms evolves into a habit of ignoring our sins?

The body communicates when it does not agree with something in our environment. On a spiritual level, the Holy Spirit is with us to help make us more like Jesus Christ. If we are doing something that takes us further away from Christ’s image, the Holy Spirit lets us know in efforts of getting us back on track. So much like ignoring when our body tells us that it does not agree with something it has been exposed to (food, allergens, etc.), ignoring when the Holy Spirit tells us that we are not in alignment with God’s plans for us, is us making the decision to ignore our sins.

The Lord consistently sends us reminders as ways to grow closer to Him and get better at loving Him. Some things are easier to address than others, but what about when we are intentional about ignoring His Word (The Holy Bible)? James 1:22 tells us that we can’t just listen His Word; we have to actually abide by it (do what it says). If we don’t, then we prove to be the person who looks in the mirror and walks away without remembering what they just saw in the mirror. Even worse, sometimes we develop a pattern of avoiding the mirror to prevent the image we are not ready to see. If a person does not want to see what the mirror has to offer, it can often be because the person is not ready to address that, unlike the pristine mirror, the image is broken.

Don’t take for granted all the opportunities we have to look in the mirror and address what is not in agreement with God’s Word. The Holy Spirit (our mirror) will continue to be the constant reminder of who we are and who God created us to be. The Holy Spirit urges us to remember that Jesus is the Savior. Our Savior is the reflection we should aim to be in alignment with. God knows we will not always get it right, but our attempt to look in the mirror to address our flaws is what He recognizes and will ultimately bless us for.

Let’s Pray:
Lord, thank you for your subtle reminders that we sometimes need to slow down and remember that you are in control. We also thank you for your mercy. Sometimes, you elevate from the gentle reminders to reminders that are more aggressive. No matter how intense the reminder is, it is still rooted in love. If we never understood what firm love was before, we understand it once we realize you were attempting to get our attention for some time. So, we thank you for your patience. We thank you for your grace. And we thank you for loving us through our process of growth. We thank you, and we love you. All these things we pray in Jesus’s Name. Amen.

Author Bio:

With an ever-growing desire to continually learn the Word of God and present teachings based on Biblical principles, Erin M. Handley is committed to her calling of teaching and inspiring others to ‘be more by doing more’. With this in mind, Erin mentors young women and appreciates seeing the growth and change in the lives she impacts. 

While she sincerely enjoys mentoring and speaking to young people, she is most passionate about educating and empowering women from various stages of life about Biblical Womanhood and how to live out those principles in today’s world.

For over 15 years, Erin has worked with youth and adolescents in the fields of mental and behavioral health, education, and ministry. When reflecting on her experiences in ministry and non-ministry settings, her most memorable encounters have been those that allowed her the opportunity to teach the Word of God in a way that is most relatable to the audience she served in that moment. She has enjoyed writing since her youth, but only recently felt the call to share her writing with the world.

With an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Ministry and Pastoral Counseling, Erin M. Handley has been fortunate to be able to leverage her gifts and her passions throughout her career in Education.

Aside from reading, writing, and mentoring, Erin enjoys dancing, interior design, cooking, and most other activities which allow her to utilize her creativity.

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