For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior,.– Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)
The supernatural outcome of seeing the power of the cross is an eagerness to do good works. We are not doing things to get God’s attention; we serve others because we HAVE God’s attention. That attention unleashes God’s grace to us that sets us on a path toward restoration and redeeming the world around us. In other words, grace will produce faith, and our faith will be seen by what we do for the betterment of those around us (David Whitehead).
Ornamental Cabbage (of all things!)
It is the middle of December and in the mountains of Virginia, very few plants bloom. Those which do, get our attention. For the past several years, I’ve planted ornamental cabbages in the fall. They are early winter hardy and give interest to a winter garden. This year I added about 5 to our Church Bible garden. As the cold weather increases, the tops become a more vibrant purple.
As cold — stress, persecution, health problems — occur in my life, my thoughts turn to a cabbage. Under cold weather, I can die off like my zinnia blossoms or even go into hibernation like my primrose. Or I can show a more vibrant color to the world like my ornamental cabbage.
Cognitively, I know which option I prefer — to become more vibrant. To evidence more love and more understanding, just as Christ did under the severest stress. The only way for me to be more vibrant — like the cabbage top — is to spend time with Christ every day in my devotions.
Reflection: What helps you be become or stay vibrant? Are you getting attention from others for the right reasons?
Copyright December 16, 2013; Carolyn A. Roth, updated April 2021