Colossians 3:1-5,7-8,12-14 – Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. But Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (NIV)
My story is like many others. As a teen I had heard God's call to the ministry, but didn't follow. So I tried other things — things which ultimately led me far away from Christ straight into the bottom of the recycle bin. But Jesus never gave up on me, he rooted through the bin and pulled me out of the bottom. Jesus had always been nearby, I just wasn't looking for him. When Jesus finally got my attention, a new joy flooded my life. Like sunshine flooding the glistening, snow- covered landscape after an awful, wailing, wind-driven, dark blizzard, Jesus' joy filled the bottomless hole which the wind whistled through.
Not all my years were lived as Jesus wanted me to live, but as long as I kept coming back to the foot of that blood, smelly, awful instrument of death, the Cross, then a new start was mine. Although I was nearly 40 when God's calling to the ministry reawakened from long hibernation in my soul, it was now possible to say yes. Even so, I felt too old, too female, too encumbered with life's trappings. Like others before me, I pleaded with God, "Not me Lord. Someone else would do better, be better." Probably there was someone else, but that person may have said, "No". With my heart in my throat, I said "Yes". With the strengthening which God gives, Jesus has used me in spite of myself — or maybe because of myself. No doubt God saw something which God is polishing into something more like the image of Christ. Now I praise my Saviour and Boss for the new self image. Now my life is serene, filled with true joy — a joy that comes from Christ through serving others.
Dear Jesus, We recognize that we have blown it. Jesus, would you enter into this picture? Jesus, our self-image has been in the recycle bin. Would you recycle us transforming us into your image? Take our lives and use them so that someone else will find true joy. Amen.