Chameleon Living

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Ephesians 5:1 NLT

The overhead loudspeaker crackled to life. A familiar voice announced a page for an individual.

“Mr. So-and-So please call blah-blah-blah-blah.” There was hardly a pause, “Mr. So-and-So please call blah-blah-blah-blah.” I had no idea to whom Mr. So-and-So was referring and despite the familiarity of the voice, I had no idea what the speaker looked like. The overhead loudspeaker went silent and the familiar matter-of-fact voice of my coworker standing behind me spoke.

“Ruth-Ann’s been in Alabama longer’n I’ve been alive but she refuses to acclimate to the accent. She still talks like she’s in the north.”

I literally burst out laughing and spit out the water I had just taken a sip of. I snorted and turned around.

I knew exactly what he was talking about. I had never actually knowingly laid eyes on Ruth-Ann. I do not know her state of origin, her last name, if she wears glasses or not. If I had to pick her out of lineup I’d have to be blindfolded because I only know her voice; she has a distinct accent, not at all like my own. She sounds, well … northern.

As I pondered on the statement, I thought about the acclimation that takes place when we inhabit a place for any length of time. How we take on the accent of those around us, words and phrases of the speakers. Case in point, I watch a lot of British TV and find myself saying the following:

                    “That’s Brilliant!” Instead of “That’s great!”
“Queue” instead of “Line.”
“Rubbish” instead of “garbage.”
“Bin” instead of “trash can” and “tin” instead of “can.”

Without even knowing it I’ve acclimated to the television vocabulary. I’ve become like a verbal chameleon, speaking like those I have heard.

As I thought about Ruth Ann (if that actually is her name, I have no idea) and her apparent refusal to acclimate to the Southern-speakers around her, I found myself challenged.

This world is not my home, yet there are times you would never know that, not based on my behavior anyway. I look so much that the world and so little like Christ that others can not distinguish the difference residing in me. I walk around so defeated and beat down you’d never know I possessed the joy of the Lord. Perhaps I should live more like Ruth-Ann, with such intention as to not look so much like the world around me and more like the unique me I have been created to be.

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:2 MSG


Peter: Chosen & Holy


(If you haven’t read April’s first article on Peter, check it out here.)

Thoughts on 1 Peter… continued.

As mentioned before, Peter uses the word chosen several times in his letter to the exiled Jewish believers. It seems such a contrast to how they must’ve been feeling though…these believers are exiled from their home! They’re suffering persecution. They’ve fled for their lives. They’re experiencing everything but “chosen-ness” at this time, are they not?

However, herein lies the beautiful tension of being a chosen people of God, we are chosen to accomplish much more than our own narrow plans, our personal agendas, our finite purposes. We are chosen for the glory of God, to glorify the One who has indeed chosen us. And then there’s more

The richness of Peter’s letter begins early on in just the first few verses. He says these believers have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit

And there’s the more… The sanctification process.

He’s working to make me holy.

He’s working to conform me to the image of His Son.

He’s working to sanctify me by the Holy Spirit.

I recently finished reading through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and on into Numbers. God is teaching the children of Israel how to be His people, how to live as holy. He gives them the guidelines and demands of receiving His blessings within this chosen community. And, He’s giving them the Tabernacle where He will dwell with them.

Image result for public domain picture tabernacle utensilsThe utensils in the Tabernacle are deemed as holy and are set apart, sanctified, for service in the Tabernacle. So often those utensils and other pieces were sanctified or made holy by blood or even fire. The process was intense and – if I may say so – quite gruesome at times. In order to purify an instrument for service, blood had to be shed, and sprinkled or applied or poured; a fire had to be lit while the instrument or the sacrifice itself endured or was consumed by the flame.

From the beginning, God has demonstrated to us that holiness doesn’t come by way of sheltered pampering and soft caresses. No, not at all. It comes in a violent way. Fire. Blood. Pain. Struggle. Trial. And if I may be so bold, we shrink back from this because we are not aware of the un-holiness that lies within, the depth of our un-cleanness. We cannot possibly recognize and acknowledge our colossal need for the strenuous cleansing that is required to make us holy. Glory to God for His abundant Grace. Amen!

Peter knew these things and he knew his fellow Jewish believers simply needed reminding. The trouble is seeing by faith the holy outcome while we’re in the midst of the fiery making. He reminds them, “You’re being sanctified by the work of the Spirit. Hang in there. The outcome will be worth it.”

So often we lose sight of these precious truths. The truth is we are a chosen people. The truth is we are being made holy. The truth is that God is working on our behalf and for His glory.

In the midst of the trial, there is a Craftsman and He knows exactly what He’s doing.