Have you looked in a mirror and wished you were different—not just your outward appearance but the deeper, inner features? We see imperfections that no one else would notice and question whether our intelligence, social skills, and faith are good enough. For many of us, we are not happy with the way we were made. No matter how hard we try to change ourselves to win signs of love and acceptance from other people, external affirmation will never be enough.
I volunteer with Kairos Prison Ministry, whose purpose is to share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to impact the hearts and lives of persons who are incarcerated. While the exterior scars and tattoos cannot be changed, participants are invited to discover and embrace the genuine acceptance and authentic affection that may have been absent in their lives but are freely offered by the God who exquisitely made them and who already loves them just as they are.
When an inmate in my group realized the relentless love of this inescapable God, a tear trickled from behind the reflective sunglasses that concealed his eyes. It wasn’t long before an internal reconstruction began; his heart’s desire was to change his imprinted gang affiliation that was emblazoned on his chest to declare, “Jesus Christ is my life!” There is no better feeling of comfort and security in the world—or in prison—than to know that you are completely known and absolutely loved.
God loves us and made us for a purpose.
Don’t be afraid of what you see in the mirror, because you are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Jeremiah brings another warning of impending judgment. If the people will not turn to the Lord, God will break the nation and reshape it, just as a potter breaks down and reshapes clay on a wheel. The psalmist praises God for God’s intimate knowledge of each one of us. Even from the moment of conception, God knows us and has a plan for our lives. Philemon is often overlooked, but it packs a punch. A text that some used in the past to justify slavery teaches a very different message. Paul warns Philemon not to enslave Onesimus again but to receive him back as a brother. Secular power structures have no place in God’s kingdom. In Luke, Jesus uses striking examples to teach us that the life of faith cannot be lived well with half-hearted commitment.
Read Jeremiah 18:1-11. As clay, how can you better respond to the Potter’s guiding hand?
Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. God knows you better than you know yourself, yet God has given you the ability to make your own decisions. How do you respond to God?
Read Philemon 1-21. How do you honor the full humanity of those who serve you through their work?
Read Luke 14:25-33. What does it mean for you to take up the cross in your life?
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