It's really not about you. It's not.

It's about God.

Whether anyone might describe you as religious, or pious, or even good, none of these has meaning apart from the maker of all that is good and right. We are dependent on the one who made us to make us better.

But we can give in to the process; we can be willing to become more what God has in mind. Such a moment as this—now—provides one such opportunity for the change to continue.

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"And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

Matthew 6:5–6

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So there's "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15). "For I am not ashamed of the gospel" (Romans 1:16). So be a witness. Don't be ashamed of your faith or your God. Stand up, stand up for Jesus. Live out your love of God.

And then, "Pray in secret." What?!

There's a difference, isn't there, between what you do because it's who you are, and what you do so others will think it's who you are and be impressed? It's not always easy to tell that difference. We can fool even ourselves. But such an important difference to know. And praying helps us know it.

John Ballenger

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God, help me know why I am who and how I am, what difference that makes in and to my world, and who and how you would have me be. Amen.

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There before you lies all the world,
Given as a gift.

Go into the world as a work in progress,
Someone who is not yet who you will be,
But someone who is on the way.

The world will be better and blessed
Because you are in it,
Growing, becoming, gleaming with
The light reflected from above.

John Ballenger

John Ballenger is pastor of Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Worrying at Scripture and wondering about life constitute one of the great joys in his life. His wife, daughters, dog, cats, congregation, and friends (all also great joys—most of the time) keep him worrying and wondering!

Reflections on the Way: I Surrender All

Ken Medema -

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