Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Cleanse Me"1 (Lyrics)
Revelation 3:3 – So don't forget what you have received and heard. Obey it. Change your hearts and lives! You must wake up, or I will come to you and surprise you like a thief. You will not know when I will come. (ERV)
For many years, I ran a small out-of-print bookshop from the bottom floor of my home. My training came from managing a similar business in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Shortly before I left the city, a woman about my age was murdered by a robber who came into her little shop near mine. So, when I moved away to start my own shop, I kept a Doberman behind the counter.
When a person is knowingly gearing up to do some wicked thing, their adrenaline gets high. This is a bad smell to a dog and causes its hackles to rise. On a quiet, everyday morning, just such a robber, wearing sunglasses to keep me from seeing his eyes, came into my dimly-lit shop. Even though I saw him pause to lock the door behind him, I wasn't really aware of what was happening until he came at me, left hand in his pocket, fingering a weapon (knife or gun, I never knew). Leaning on my counter, he said mockingly, "I like these little mom-and-pop operations."
He didn't see my dog. I stood there like a dummy, paralyzed, unable to believe that this was going on. My dog gave me an impatient look. "Do something, you idiot!" my return look said. "Don't you smell what's happening?" Then, shouldering me aside, she bared her teeth and sailed over the counter at him.
My would-be robber turned around hurriedly and ran to the locked door, fumbling as my dog got a firm hold on the back of his pants. Then he tore himself away and took off down the street, my dog at his heels till he was gone. Only recently did this story begin to teach me.
When we indulge in the bad-smelling actions of bitterness, anger, hatred, or pride, or when we begin seeking revenge for unkindness (calling it "standing up for ourselves") or employing sarcasm rather than humility, forgiveness, and love, then we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to let God change us into His likeness. Are we willing to accept God's help to change our response to others and thereby grow daily in the Spirit?
Romans 12:2 – Don't change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (ERV)
Prayer: Loving heavenly Father, forgive us when, through our desire to be always right, we let pride and self-will control our lives, which belong to You. Mold us into the creatures that You intend us to be, as we learn and grow in Your service today. Amen.