Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Considering the Lily: Disposition

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the  grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!                                            (Luke 12:27-28 NASB)

In case you're just stopping in, we've been considering the lilies for the last few days. We began by considering the lily bulb. Yesterday, we considered lily propagation. Today, we're considering the lily's disposition. 

I learned an interesting fact as I was considering lilies. One of the reasons gardeners like to plant lilies is their reliable disposition. Lilies are simple plants. You nestle the bulb in the ground at the appropriate depth, provide water, good drainage, and protection from winter weather (by mulching). The lily responds by providing showy, fragrant blossoms every year and propagating itself. If you take care of the lily, you can rely on the lily to do what it was created to do. Flower and propagate. 

We serve a yesterday, today, and forever, same-all-the-time God. We can count on Him to be the same because He is reliable. It's His nature and it's supposed to be our nature as believers, too. 

Having a reliable disposition is more than doing what we've said or not doing what we said we wouldn't. Having a reliable disposition also includes having a consistent disposition. People know what to expect from us because we are the same, not swinging from one disposition to another. We're consistent, hopefully consistently kind.

Our goal with this reliable disposition business is not so much being consistent with our own dispositions. Our goal is supposed to be consistency with God's disposition. When the world looks at people who call themselves Christians, they expect to see people who act like Jesus. 

In case you've forgotten, when He walked the earth, He was funny, and friendly, and loved sinners. People were drawn to Him. He spoke truth but He did it in a nice way. (Except with the Pharisees, who were the church leaders. They were supposed to know better and He was uber-blunt with them.) Jesus was even kind to His worst enemies, the Pharisees. He shared meals with Pharisees and He died for them. Even though they voted to kill Him. Even though they tried to totally annihilate Him.

I'm not that nice.

I'm not that kind.

I'm supposed to be, though. 

When the world looks at me, they should see a walking, talking, smiling picture of Jesus. If I have a reliable Jesus-disposition, they should always see a walking, talking picture of Jesus. But they don't. I fail. On the days when I totally blow it, I repent and try again, and I'm grateful for the consistently reliable mercy and grace of our Lord that says, "Forgiven. Removed as far as the east is from the west. Do better next time."

I want that reliable, consistent mercy and grace for myself. For my failures. I want others to see it in me, to experience it in me.

Maybe you know something about this struggle for consistency, too. One day, we'll be like Jesus. All the time. Until then, we repent, rely on the lavish mercy and grace of our God, and try again. As we do, let's be as lavish with mercy and grace towards others as our Lord has been with us.
Our Father, forgive my failure, my inability to act like Jesus consistently. Cleanse me and help me to be more like Christ today than I've ever been before. Thank you for your mercy and grace. In Jesus name, Amen.