How we use our hands communicates a lot about us. Do you approach life with a clenched fist or with a soft touch? Take some time to notice what people do with their hands. I saw great contrast in the way people used their hands on a recent overseas trip.

One of the ways we can pass along God’s goodness to others is through our words.

 
Recently, our house was full of people. Usually I enjoy having people around. But I was tired, and sometimes when I’m tired out, I need to be alone and recharge, so having a houseful was wonderful, but challenging. One morning, I got into it with one of our adult kids. I got out of hand and my words became hurtful to the point that another of our adult children said, “Dad!” Gotta hate being called down by your own kids, especially when they are right!

When people rub up against you, what do they feel? Back in December, while Christmas shopping for my wife, Pam, I found myself sampling the feel of some clothing I was thinking of buying for her. Some felt soft to the touch; others not so much. What is the texture of your life? In one of his letters to the early believers, the apostle Paul described the texture that will be produced by the Holy Spirit’s work in a person’s life:

How do we measure the output of our lives? How do we tell if we are “tube-people”? (See my previous post about “tube-people” vs. “can-people.”) Looking back at my own life story, I find there were seasons that were characterized by genuinely living for God, and seasons that smelled of self-motivation. Jesus used the idea of “fruit” to express the outflow of a person’s life.

In spite of all the good with which God has enriched my life, I sometimes struggle to live in a way that reflects God’s lavish, extravagant spirit by passing His goodness along to others.

Tim Hansel, in his book, When I Relax I Feel Guilty, told a story that relates to the idea of “noise” (see previous post):

 
An American Indian was in downtown New York, walking with his friend, who lived in New York City. Suddenly he said, “I hear a cricket!”
“Oh, you’re crazy,” his friend replied.
“No, I hear a cricket. I do! I’m sure of it.”
“It’s the noon hour. There are people bustling around, cars honking, taxis squealing, noises from the city. I’m sure you can’t hear it.”
“I’m sure I do.”

I spent my two final years of high school in the city of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio. During those years I was pretty fond of Ted Nugent, KISS, and Rush. No, Barry Manilow did not make it on my “playlist” in those days! Ever been to a concert like that? It defines the word LOUD.
 
As I mentioned several posts back, we live in a loud world. The noise that distracts and overwhelms us is not just “noise” that can be measured in decibels. “Noise” comes in many shapes. Sometimes it is visual “noise,” or schedule filling “noise”—but in every case it drowns out what is really important.

The last couple of blog posts have focused on where we can find courage. Without a doubt, how we view our daily circumstances plays a huge role in whether we approach the day with courage or with fear.

 
Of greatest importance in how we each view our circumstances is how we personally view God and ourselves (what we considered in the last two posts).

So—Jesus says, The eye is the lamp of the body…” (Matthew 6:22ff). He says, “If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

 
What about how we view ourselves? When your mind goes into neutral or when you find yourself under stress, what do you say about yourself under your breath? Do you say, “I’m such a loser!” or “I’m so stupid.” or “I’ll never amount to anything.”

In past posts I’ve mentioned Matthew 6 where Jesus speaks strongly about how important it is to “see” and how devastating it is when we don’t see clearly. “The eye is the lamp of the body…” (Matthew 6:22ff).

Without a doubt, if our “eyesight” is “poor” and our view of God is distorted, it impacts everything!