FIRST-PERSON: A well-woven life
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) -- Perhaps you've never woven fabric at a loom, but you and I are sitting at the loom of life, spinning out our days like a weaver.
Waking or sleeping, we're forming our lives according to the choices we make and the convictions we hold. Some people spin the fine linen of a righteous life; others find their lives unraveling or becoming tangled in knots and snarls.
A well-woven life is tailor-made by the Master. When we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, He designs a perfect pattern for each of us. The psalmist said, "You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother's womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous.... You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in Your Book!" (Psalm 139:13-16).
The Lord is a God of infinite variety, and your life's purpose and pathway will be different from those of every other person who has ever lived.
Have you ever showed up at a function to find someone else wearing the same dress, an identical sport coat, or the exact tie you have on? That happens because most clothing today is mass-produced. But God's plan for our lives is never store-bought, and it never comes off the rack. When He is your Lord, your life is a one-of-a-kind tapestry in progress; and He who has begun a good work in you will carry it on to completion.
A well-woven life is also stain-resistant, like the slogan says: "Resists Whatever Life Throws at It." The Bible describes our lives as garments stained with sin, but Jesus' blood washes them white as wool (Isaiah 1:18). We can't live a stain-resistant life by our own efforts. "Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before Me" (Jeremiah 2:22). Though sin had left a crimson stain, Jesus washed it white as snow. Now He wants to present us as a "radiant church, without stain or wrinkle" (Ephesians 5:27).
Think of it: Not only stain-resistant but permanent-press -- no stains or wrinkles. In literal terms, this means we should endeavor to keep our lives free from sin. I think of the old Welshman who would hold his shirt up to the setting sun to see if it could be worn another day. His wife would snatch it and throw it in the hamper, saying, "If it's doubtful, it's dirty."
What we weave into our lives day by day becomes the fabric of who we are. Don't interweave cheap, dirty threads with clean, quality ones. Our lives should be holy to the Lord.
The fabric of life also needs to be flame-retardant. The apostle Peter said we may have to pass through fiery trials so our faith may be tested and developed to the praise, glory and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7 and 4:12). Suffering can have a positive purpose.
If you're beset by bills, illness, prodigal children, remember the Bible is packed with stories of faithful people who suffered similar afflictions, promises to claim during the period of trial and verses of hope, joy and peace for every occasion.
Finally, the well-woven life dresses in the wardrobe of praise and thanksgiving -- always in a state of worship toward our triune God.
Our wardrobes may be modest, but we can craft a garment for the soul made of super fabric, incapable of becoming frayed or threadbare. A well-woven life may suffer adversity, but it never falls into irretrievable depression and it's never a pauper at heart, for Jesus gives us a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3).
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org. This column has been approved by Turning Point for redistribution in Baptist state newspapers and in Townhall.com; for other reprint requests, contact Myrna Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.