“Personalize”

How often have you heard or read the same information without realizing its relevance to you?  You may have heard your parents give a warning about the danger of fire and the destruction and pain it can inflict.  But the general truth really sunk in when the match or firecracker burned your hand.  The same might be said of the stop sign, the speed limit, or wearing your safety belt.  Hopefully we won’t need to find out up close and personal about the logic of these restrictions.  In most people’s life the more we see and experience things the more we understand the reasoning behind a law or a restriction.  However, it might also be a case of familiarity breeds disregard.  Sometimes it can be a belief in our own superiority or supposed invulnerability that causes us to bypass and ignore very obvious messages.

This can certainly be true in our spiritual walk.  Recently while reading about the Apostle Paul’s return to Jerusalem (Acts 21:16) the disciple Mnason of Cyprus jumped out at me.  He gave Paul and his companions lodging but what personalized it for the first time was that he was OLD.  Just like me.  If he was still serving the church, then I should too.

How many other scriptures will the Holy Spirit open for us as we read and internalize them?  They may be commands to help and serve others or admonitions to pray for love and be longsuffering towards our brethren.  We tend to better comprehend the Holy Spirit’s commands when we ourselves have already been the recipients of such kindness.  It is tempting to generalize rather than personalize such verses.  I hope that we will all open the eyes of our hearts so that they will be enlightened. (Eph 1:18)

—Jim Bailey