When I least expect it, God chooses to show me a new lesson in some of the most unique and least expected situations. I like to craft and I love to quilt. I enjoy working with my hands to create something from nothing...to pull pieces of fabric together in a unique design to form a beautifult quilt. There are spiritual lessons to be learned in sewing if one pays close enough attention to the voice of the Lord. Well, this weekend I was working on a wreath for my front door. I wanted a new wreath to hang up to finish the winter months. I bought a wreath foam form and the material I was going to use, the pins I needed to attach the material to the form, my scissors, and sat down and began preparing my material.
To begin with, I had to wrap the wreath form in the material I had chosen so the green styrofoam wasn't visible to anyone that chose to look at the wreath. It occurred to me during this process that this is very similar to what Jesus does when we accept Him as our Savior. If we allow Him to, He will wrap us in the unfailing, neverending love we need to grow in Him as believers. Jesus said in Matthew 22 -
37 - Jesus said him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38 - "This the first and great commandment.
39 - "And the second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 - "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
The common thread is love between ALL commandments. I once heard love described as the curtain rod on which all other commandments and fruits of the spirit hang." I prefer the wrapping analogy because I believe it is more fitting to the thought of restoration than a curtain rod. The wreath form can represent our heart. We become wrapped in His love through accepting the gift of salvaation when we accept Him as Lord and Savior. His love that we show to others through words and actions is the foundation for everything else He wants to cultivate in us. We become grafted into Him. We begin to grow in His ways. We should produce the fruit indicative of a servant of Jesus Christ.
5 - "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much frut; for without Me you can do nothing."
The branches bear the fruit of the type of vine they belong to. A honeysuckle vine does not produce grapes just as a grapevine does not produce blueberries. If God is Love, and His Word says He is, then we should produce love if we have been grafted into the vine - Jesus Christ. The world should be able to look at our lives, our actions...our fruit...and know we belong to The Vine, Jesus Christ.
Back to the wreath...
Wrapping the wreath not only covered the green styrofoam, it also covered the imperfections in the foam. Maybe it was handled too many times in the store...maybe I nicked it putting it into the car...or whateve. The fabric that I was using to wrap the wreath covered those imperfections and formed a smooth surface around the wreath on which I could attach the squares of fabric I would use to complete the wreath.
God's love is very similar to the fabric I am using in this example. Proverbs 10:12
12 - Hatred stirs up strife, but LOVE covers all sins.
Just as the fabric covers the imperfections in the wreath, so does love cover the imperfections in us. It covers our hurts, places healing balm over our wounds and scars. The love we have been covered with allows us to see others through His eyes...if we look hard enough. We can see past hurts, anger, and other displays of defense from others. The love we are covered with allows us to overlook the flaws others have and only see them for what God sees them.
BUT...love is just the foundational part of what God is trying to restore within us. Sometimes, restoration can be painful. To put the pieces of fabric onto my wrapped wreath form, I used quilting pins - 350 of them to be exact. Halfway through, my wreath looked like this:
My wreath is obviously unfinished and I have quite a bit left to do to it. Our walks with Chist are the same way. We become saved and in the beginning have a desire to know Him more so we read the Bible and begin to try and implement the teachings we hear and read. But you know, sometimes it hurts to build the characteristics of a citizen of the Kingdom of God (see 2 Peter 1: 5-11). He must "pin" these traits and fruits of the Spirit to our hearts. We often face situations that He is using to add patience, perseverence, self-control, godliness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and all the other fruits (see Galations 5:22-24). Sometimes, like my foam wreath, it may take just a little extra "push" (or another situation) for the pin to be settled well into the foam. Praise be to God the Father, He always finishes what He starts. He does not give up until He has a finished product that is well pleasing to Him and that will bring Him glory each day with each word and with each action...until the return of Jesus Christ.
6 - being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.