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Cool Water

I just finished catching up on yard work and gulped down a large glass of water. I was amazed at the transformation that took place. Prior to drinking, I was hot, tired, thirsty and had a sense of desperation. I even remember thinking, if I don’t get water soon I am going to perish. It was obviously overstated but it was intense nonetheless. Once my body got hydrated, my attitude changed. I was relaxed, refreshed and ready for the next challenge of my life. My thoughts were much different, I feel pretty good now and I am impressed that I recovered so quickly. I think it is going to be a good day.
It is a simple example but it illustrates what we are all looking for. We all get worn out by the realities of life and want to feel strong, capable, attractive and worthwhile. We feel the depleting nature of life and are looking for ways to refresh ourselves so we are ready for the next challenge.
In this sense, Jesus is like the cool glass of water that rejuvenates you after a period of intense exertion. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) When you encounter Jesus, a transformation takes place. Just like your body goes from thirsty to satisfied, your spirit goes from restless to calm, exhausted to energized.
After painting this picture of the transforming presence of Christ, Paul got personal. Speaking from his own experience, he talked about the personal benefits that came to his life when he spent sincere time with his Savior:
• He gained confidence. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:1) Paul experienced a lot of trouble in his adult life. He was beaten, betrayed and belittled on several occasions. He faced physical danger a number of times simply because he told people the truth. He was misunderstood and misrepresented and was even imprisoned without cause. It would have been easy for him to get discouraged and “lose heart.” But then, he would spend time with Jesus and find new strength.
• He found security. “. . . we have renounced secret and shameful ways.” (2 Corinthians 4:2) Everyone wants to feel like they matter and will do what it takes to belong or feel important. Many people resort to behaviors we know are wrong because they are intense and touch something in us that make us feel alive. We don’t like to broadcast these because we know they are wrong but we do them nonetheless. When Paul encountered Jesus, he lost his need for these things. The truth set him free to engage in activities that could be boldly proclaimed without shame.
• He found simplicity. “. . . we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2) The truth is simple and it is the same every time you tell it. When you develop a friendly relationship with the God of truth, life gets simpler. You can speak the truth. You can make decisions based on what is true. You can be honest in your interactions with others and you can read God’s word for what it is rather than distort it to make you feel better. It isn’t always easy to live by the truth but it certainly is simpler!
May we all be refreshed today by the time we spend with Jesus.

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