Strike a Chord

I’m working on the new book again today! I’m so close to the initial “finish” (pre crazy edits and finalizing everything) that I wanted to share a (albeit raw and marginally edited) piece with you. 🙂 I hope you enjoy (and that it gets you even more excited for the complete and finished product!)

Strike a Chord

image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tekhelet

Whenever I go to an event or conference, I want to buy a shirt. I want to have a reminder of my time there—the feelings felt, the revelation received, the progress made. When I wear that shirt, I’m brought back to that place and reminded of the promises and lessons I learned. The people of Israel were called to be set apart and as we have learned, we too are called to be set apart as believers. For Israelites, this meant strict guidelines surrounding their diets, interactions with others, and even the way they dressed.

In Numbers 15 we find instructions to add a blue cord to the hem of their garments to serve as a reminder of God’s commandments—His guidelines to live in a thriving relationship with Him. A reminder of the principles that were set before them to maintain a holy and righteous life that would be blessed. A reminder that our own hearts are deceitful above all[1], but by trusting in the guiding hand of God they would find strength and success. But distinguishing themselves through singularly small, inconsequential details allowed them to create an environment of change and devotion that allowed room for God to move and work in their lives.

As a devout Jew, Jesus would have followed this instruction as well. We find a beautiful story within a story in Matthew where a woman who had suffered from twelve years of bleeding—keep in mind that during their time of menstruation, women were found to be unclean (the association of blood with life and death and being one of the distinguishing identifiers of ceremonial cleanliness and not). For twelve years this woman would have been ostracized for fear of anyone who interacted with her might take on her uncleanliness. For twelve years she had spent everything she had to no avail—no doctor could heal her or even offer her a true diagnosis. For twelve years she had not been able to enter the temple because she was ceremonially unclean—but that didn’t stop her from entering into a moment of true faith in the healing power of Jesus.

“If only I touch His garment I will be healed…”[2] If only my fingers are able to brush against the visual reminder of the promises of my God. If only I can encounter the presence I’ve been kept from for so long. If only…

She wasn’t seeking personal glory. She wasn’t seeking selfish desires of a deceitful heart. She was seeking healing. She was seeking relationship. She was seeking wholeness. Her faith pushed her to go beyond what was deemed culturally acceptable in order to encounter the presence of her Savior. Through her act of faith, she was seen, called out, and made whole by the love of Jesus.

We have too long shifted and changed to mirror the look and feel of the society that surrounds us. For too long we have done everything within our power to mesh and blend in with our surroundings rather than stand out. For a time, I wore a small blue bracelet to serve as a reminder of who I was in Jesus.[3] I wanted a visual reminder that would catch my attention every time I reached out. Every time I looked down at my hands (which is surprisingly often), I wanted to remind myself who God called me to be—how He called me to speak and act. My desire to own shirts from every conference I attend is a similar motivation. Right now, I am wearing one that simply says “dwell.” It serves as a reminder to linger in the presence of my Savior, not simply use quiet times as another item to check off my list. Am I entering into the presence of God—drawing into Him that He can fill me throughout the day rather than approach Him as an afterthought?

It was this visual  that served as a reminder to the Israelites to remain in God’s desire for their lives—that they remain pure so that they may remain in His presence. It was this visual reminder that drew in the woman with a blood issue—that she might find wholeness through the presence of a man who came to break down the barriers that were keeping her from His presence. It should strike a chord within us to have visual reminders of God’s leading in our lives. Are we distinguishable to those around us or to we blend right into the seams of the broken society we live in? Do we allow our lives to be filled with visual reminders of God’s mercy and grace–to allow those reminders to draw us into devotion, obedience, and relationship? Are we actually different or just more of the same?

God has called us to stand up and stand out. We are not called to look and act the same as those who don’t know Jesus, but to be definitively discernible from them. Break free from the confines that society dictates and find your strength in the directives and direction that God gives us. That is where freedom truly lies.

 

 

[1] Jeremiah 17:9, though I love the entirety of the context. I recommend reading versus 4-14 from the Message version for a great point of reflection and study.

[2] Matthew 9:21

[3] Inspiration for this came from Believing God by Beth Moore.

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