Recalls happen all the time. Each time I hear of one, I check to see if this effects our family. Did I buy the romaine lettuce, ice cream or flour that is contaminated? Is one of our cars in the list of having a faulty part that could lead to an accident? Do we own one of the toys that was recalled for being a possible choking hazard? Have we taken medicine that is now found to cause cancer years later? Have we fed our dog food that will make him sick? It seems something new comes out weekly that needs to be recalled. However, most manufacturers are good about letting the public know when what you have bought from them is damaged, it does not meet the set, original standard and can be hazardous and maybe deadly.
Companies have standards that what they are producing must measure up too. Granted, some of the standards are not very high, but they are there nonetheless. For food to be considered organic as its standard, it has to be grown a certain way. For cleaning products, makeup, skin care, bug spray and sunscreen to be considered natural, non-toxic or chemical free, they have to have potentially harmful ingredients missing in them. Products are then labeled accordingly to let the consumer know. So much research has gone into what makes our bodies sick and some companies are working hard to remove these dangerous elements. I love all of this and enjoy organic, clean products as much as we can. But I think we are missing something significant.
Do we know our original design? Do we know the standard our Creator has for each one of us? Do we meet the standard or are we in need of a recall? Are there things in our hearts, being manifested into words or actions that have the potential to make us sick? Are we consuming things that may or may not be labeled as sin today? Have we as a nation gotten so far away from our original design that we have begun to look like a completely different country? So many questions run through my head.
We can start with our original physical design. “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” (Genesis 1:27). Our original design is a likeness to the One true God. I can hardly get over that! Each one of us is so unique, but all bear the image of our Maker. Incredible isn’t it? Remember that the next time you look in the mirror. Maybe memorize this verse or tape it to your mirror just in case you start to speak critically of how you have been designed. I wonder if all of those who are confused by their gender need to be reminded of this as well? I remember answering the phone at Gap Kids one day while working there during college. A 12 year old boy was on the other end of the line. He told me he was being made fun of for his size and was thinking about buying some skirts and dressing like a girl. I told him that was not who he was and encouraged him to be the boy, not girl, that God created him to be. I have never forgotten that conversation. Let us always be willing to tell people the truth.
When grocery shopping I have lots of choices before me. In the produce section alone I can decide between things grown organically, hydroponically or with chemicals. Price is different for each one and at times makes the choice a bit more difficult. What if the fruits and vegetables, that were grown with harmful chemicals, had labels attached to them? Would we pick them up regardless of the cheaper price? I’ve noticed the organic ones bear the labels. What if we checked the fat, calorie and serving sizes more when we consumed food and became healthier by reading what is right in front of us? Maybe we might feel better about that image we see in the mirror and have more energy. This makes me wish ice cream did not come with a label!
What about our hearts? Are there sins in your heart that need to be confessed and repented of? When we confess and turn from our sins, we are a bit closer to our original heart design. We have been recalled over and over again. Warning after warning fills the pages of the Bible. God knows how we, His creations, function best. He gives boundaries and standards that keep us living in freedom. They are not constrictive rules that remove all the sweetness of life here and after we die. They are quite the opposite in fact. I have found them to be quite life-giving.
Can I tell you what can be tricky? Living out of this freedom in relationships. When we read this passage in 2 Timothy, we are given boundaries that are for our good as it pertains to interacting with others. “Avoid irreverent and empty speech, since those who engage in it will produce even more godlessness, and their teaching will spread like gangrene.” (2:16-17). That is pretty serious. The words that fly so carelessly out of our mouth can infect and harm others. We must watch what we say. We can keep reading in this book and gain more guidance. “Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know they breed quarrels. The Lord’s servants must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2:22-26).
When I encounter someone that is not gentle, patient and a bit loud, I do not want to stick around. My initial response is to flee and avoid an uncomfortable conversation or listen to empty words. However, what I am learning is to speak the truth in love. I stay calm, not judging the other person, just confident in the Author of truth and what He has spoken. It seems the Lord wanted to work out my fear of conflict and lined up many for me to be forced to engage in. It was by no means easy or comfortable, but I no longer fear telling the truth. My heart is to point us back to our original design and stay grounded in the firm foundation that is built inside of me. I love the verse that says, “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, bearing this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.” (2:19). This gives my heart confidence when my legs want to run!
This recalling has some amazing benefits. “So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2:21) What is God preparing you for? It is pretty exciting to think about! Who doesn’t want to be useable, special, set apart, prepared and have a purpose? When you know who you are and whose you are because you have accepted the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus that recalled you from your life of sin, a life of love and freedom begins. “For freedom, Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1). Come be free today!