King David knew what it meant to be refreshed by the Lord. He wrote in Psalms 103:2-5,
2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
You see, David knew it was not only possible, but likely that we would forget the ways in which God desires to bless his people. On any given day, or in any given season in our life, perhaps we’ll be aware of some of God’s ways. But how often are we mindful of all of the benefits of walking with the Lord? And just in case we were short on ideas, he offers just a few for us to contemplate.
Are you ever mindful that…
- God forgives ALL your sins?
- God heals ALL your diseases?
- God redeems (purchases back for himself) your life from the pit which it came?
- God puts a crown on your head; a reminder of his constant love and compassion for you?
- God wants your desires to be fully satisfied, so you feel young and strong – able to soar?
If these thoughts aren’t what scroll through our minds on a regular and consistent basis, David admonishes us to ‘forget not’. That means we must make an effort to remind ourselves. Some of us are spending a lot of time and energy trying to get God’s attention, saying, “Look at me, God! I’m over here! Don’t you see me, God?” But according to this passage, it’s not God who needs reminded of us – it’s we who need reminded of him & his constant, positive presence in our lives.
We all know that as Christians we should display the fruits of the Spirit. But other than becoming more loving, patient & kind, are there any other ways to tell that your life is working?
I came up with this list of indicators that God is actually working in me. Read these indicators to see if God is working in you, too!
Characteristics that will be present in the life of a person who claims to know God:
- an ability to quickly admit faults or offense, accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness.
- transparency about his/her relationship with God, evidenced by an nearly uncontrollable desire to testify about God’s goodness in his/her life.
- willingness to limit one’s freedom for the benefit of others.
- a desire to discipline oneself for oneself, others, and for one’s posterity.
- an ability to change course quickly.
- an “others” focused lifestyle.
- a desire to serve for serving’s sake, and a self awareness of when one is serving to fulfill a need to be validated by one’s own works.
- not requiring one’s own way.
- established in one’s value before God and an ability/willingness to assist others in finding their value in God.
- light goes “on”.
- sense of peace and well being; aka “all is right with the world.”
- not so busy that it’s impossible to enjoy relationships/life now.
- okay if “He” is increasing, even if it seems that you may be simultaneously decreasing.
- life becomes less “me” focused, (i.e. “What will make me happy?”), and more kingdom focused, (i.e. “What will make God happy?”)
- clarity about the future; not necessarily where you’re going, but on who will be there when you arrive.
- focused not on changing yourself, but on being transformed by Him through deep, personal fellowship.
- a life defined by favorable encounters; not anxious endeavors.
- things “work”.
- desire to demonstrate “belonging” to others despite their behavior and/or other external factors.
- lack of judgement toward people, (i.e. assuming you know the reasons why a person did what (s)he did), & lack of judgement toward God, (i.e. “This must have happened to me, because…”).
- resting in the labor, and laboring into the rest.
- no need to be in “control”; glad to relinquish control in favor of utilizing the gifts of someone else who may have the answer/solution; or better answers/solutions, than what you currently have.
- excited to store up one’s treasures in heaven; doesn’t feel swindled by God when giving of one’s time, talents and money.
- supernatural strength and wisdom for each task and each circumstance.
- ability to give and receive a timely word.
- desire to plant the word deeply in one’s heart.
- desire to water and cultivate that word by removing the weeds of sin, which so easily entangle.
- ability to confess one’s righteousness in the midst of sin or “sinful behavior.”
- grace is so affecting one’s own life that it overflows to affect others.
- others begin to comment on the impact you’ve made in their lives.
- others look to you as a role model and an example of Jesus residing in one’s heart.
- a contagious display of excitement regarding life.
- feeling of limitless opportunities.
- one’s outside reflects a care for the image one is portraying of God both in physical appearance and in actions toward others.
- more discerning heart evidenced by making right choices about one’s life.
- frustration with the “status quo”.
- desire to make a difference/impact the world.
- ability to see oneself as an important part of history and God’s plan for the redemption of humankind.
- willingness to be vulnerable about one’s weaknesses, but not elevating one’s physical or emotional weaknesses above one’s spiritual reality in Christ.
- renewed boldness in sharing the truth of God’s word.
Of course no list could ever encompass all the characteristics of a person transformed by the grace of God, but I believe if Jesus has really changed our lives, it will be evidenced by the above mentioned features. If the grace of God doesn’t transform us, then whether we admit it or not, we have inadvertently demonstrated that Jesus’ words have fallen on ground too hard to receive them.