How should I live in a world of constant turmoil, strife, and change? All around me, I see signs of stress. I see people filled with anger who strike out at others and need minimal provocation. I feel concerned for these people because they feel they have no outlet for their anger. They feel hopeless, and they are afraid of tomorrow.
I see people who meet smiles with frowns. I see them crush the spirits of those around them. I have been one of them too. How can I get rid of my frowns? Where do the smiles come from?
Smiles come from within. They are the expression of quiet joy in the heart. They cause a relaxation of the body. They release some of the muscle tension. They are the beginnings of a laugh or a giggle. They open up the possibilities of hope. They bring happiness to someone else. They are the tentative beginnings of friendship. They bring light into life. Even the slight lifting of the lips on one side – a quirk – can brighten someone’s day.
So I lift my eyes to the Smile-Maker. He is the one who brings hope to my life. He is the one who shares his kindness and patience with me. He loves me, even when I take life too seriously. He prods me to smile. He shows me silly things in life. He shows me awesome things. He shows me how he cares for me through the kindnesses of others.
And how shall I live? I will live with kindness and patience. I will depend on God for his kindness and his patience. I will use his strength to smile and stay full of compassion. I will rely on his great love to stay true to him and reach out to others.
I will use his mercy to forgive others and ask for forgiveness when I do wrong. I will use his grace to be a gentle listener. Through God’s help and God’s love, I will smile.
2 Corinthians 5:5-7 Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . .
in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power;
when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die;
immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
Colossians 3:12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
Be even-tempered, content with second place, and quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and thoroughly as the Master forgave you.
And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
2 Timothy 2:22-26 Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights.
God’s servant must not be argumentative but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey.
You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.