Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
I bet you thought I would write a column about traits of a good Christian wife this week. Well, no. In the Bible study I'm teaching, we are studying wisdom so I revived the bones of an old column about the seven habits of godly women. I got to thinking about how wisdom is expressed these days, and the huge difference between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom, and it isn't just for women... besides men are wonderful cooks, too. It is a crucial message for all Christians that are just sorjourning in this wicked world.
Habits can work for us or against us, and the smart person learns what habits will be most beneficial and which ones are better tossed out with the garbage. I look back at my life and wish someone had shown me what cigarettes do to the lungs like those commercials of the egg frying in a hot skillet illustrated drugs on a brain. I would be a lot healthier now if I’d never smoked. If someone had designed a class for young people that illustrated all these wonderful habits, I think I’d be a much better Christian today.
1. Put on a fresh apron every morning: There is something about fresh clothes that refreshes. In Exodus 19, right before God gave the Israelites the 10 Commandments, God told Moses to consecrate the people and for the people to wash their clothes. Jesus told the disciples, John 13:10 Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean. Revelation 3:4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. Aprons are designed to keep the grime of cooking from soiling the chef’s clothes. With just a little twist of lime, we can see that the apron is the shield of our salvation. NOT that we need to revise or refresh our salvation. We should be like those few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. When we confess our sin, align ourselves with God's righteousness, He renews a right spirit within us. We are then keeping our fellowship with Him fresh and exciting. God is our shield. Our feet may get dirty from walking in this wicked world, but He keeps our garments white as snow.
Psalm 3:3 But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
Psalm 5:12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
Psalm 18:35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.
Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.
Psalm 33:20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
2. Stuff life with the savory things of God: Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. We are saturated with messages about self and selfish things. In this life and the next, it is all about bringing God glory and all about Him, not self. Things we see and things we hear cannot be unseen or unheard. We have been given the Mind of Christ, therefore, we have the power to shun the wicked things of this world putting to death earthly desires and allowing God to give us our heart’s desire. It is the only way to look more like Him and less like the world.
3. Soak in the marinade of God’s Word: John 13:5 Then He put water into the basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe off with the towel with which He was girded. Peter was horrified that his Lord would wash his feet, the lowliest of slaves’ work. But, Jesus told him if he would not let him wash him, then he did not belong to Him. Jesus was asserting that we are clean because of Him, and that we can be cleansed daily by immersing ourselves in His Word. Interestingly, there is a distinction in the Greek words for baptism. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change in the vegetable which is preserved almost indefinitely.
4. Allow God to sift out the lumps of wickedness that Satan tosses into our path: Psalm 141:4 Do not let my heart turn aside to any evil thing, to practice deeds in wickedness with men who practice iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies. It is very easy to embrace wicked things because the world is full of subtleties. Satan uses others to draw us away from godly things; and he uses our fleshly desires against us to drag us into his web of intrigue. A daily date with God will assure our safety because He will shine a light into all the dark corners of our heart and mind. He will make sure our path is well-lighted when we hide His Word within our hearts.
5. Pepper every relationship with godly love and wisdom: John 13:34 I give a new commandment to you, that you should love one another; just as I love you, you should also love one another. John also affirms to us that Jesus said this is how the world would know Him, by our love for one another. Wisdom is essential to our well-being, and God has a lot to say about throughout the Scriptures. James tells us we need only ask for it, just like Solomon did. Astoundingly, God gives us His wisdom which is part and parcel with the Holy Spirit as noted in Isaiah 11. We have much scripture about wisdom; and I am constantly amazed at Christians who do not practice it.
6. Allow God to blend in faith, whisk you with joy, fold self-control into your soul, ladle you with the whipped cream of peace, swirl your being with kindness, all combined with grace, then bake you with goodness, and test you with meekness. Ephesians 4:29-30. May only that which is pleasing to You come out of my mouth. The fruit of the Spirit is both a state of being and actions of the Christian who has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, we don’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is the gift from God that empowers us to obey the greatest commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind as well as the second commandment to love others as we love ourselves.
7. Allow God to serve you as the dish of His pleasure: to please Him and make Him proud so that we might hear those precious words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Lord, help me in the kitchen of my life. Help me to cook what is most pleasing to you and therefore what will be most digestible to my siblings in Christ.
(The kitchen analogy was inspired by Cindy Townsend, Mississippi's Women's Missions Director at Mississippi Baptist Convention, from notes I wrote on February 8,2003 in Louisiana.)
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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