Words to Live By
I have in my office a small deck of angel cards. Each card has a cartoon picture of an angel and a single word on it. Periodically (meaning at random intervals whenever I feel like it) I pick three new cards and place them face up on my desk by my computer monitor where I can easily see them.
I pick three for the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Sometimes I have a specific issue in mind when I pick them, other times I just want three new words. There really isn’t a bad word among the lot and all tend to be “words to live by.”
Today I picked three new words: Obedience, Release, and Strength. I am pondering how to live by those words today and what help they can be to me (and maybe to you).
Obedience: This was the first word I picked, and so corresponds to the Father in the Trinity. The word obedience appears 21 times in the Bible according to my www.Biblegateway.com search. The word obey or obeyed appears another 223 times. Obedience to the Lord makes one prosper. 2 Chronicles 31:21. One who scorns obedience to his or her parents comes to an unpleasant end. Proverbs 30:17. The verse I likes most regarding obedience was 2 John 1:4-6:
It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
Release: This was the second word I picked, and so corresponds to the Son in the Trinity. The word release appears 57 times in the Bible. One interesting section involves the release into the desert of the scapegoat upon which the sins of Israel were to be placed. Leviticus 16:22. This is an interesting forshadowing of what Christ would do for God’s people when He carried our sins to the cross. In Luke chapter 4, Jesus is in the synagogue and reads a scroll from the prophet Isaiah, which He says is fulfilled in Him. Being one of the “oppressed,” I really like this passage:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Strength: This was the third word I picked, and so corresponds to the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. The word strength or strengthen appears 237 times in the Bible. Some of those references are to the strength of men, but more often it is God who gives strength. In Exodus is the song of Moses and the Israelites to the Lord: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Exodus 15:2. One of my favorite New Testament passages is from Paul’s letter to the church is Ephesus, where he refers to the Holy Spirit as being the source of our strength. “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16-17
Obedience. Release. Strength. These are words to live by. When I use them to reflect on scripture and God’s plan for me, they become part of the Word of Life that gets me through another day.