Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tuning up

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. – Psalm 119:133 (NIV)
Mine had six strings,
 but it looked just like this.
I’d always wanted to learn to play the guitar, so in the spring of my first year on my own (40 years ago), I bought a Harmony acoustic guitar. OK, I admit, I didn’t know much about guitars and my selection was based on how it looked. 
Added into the purchase were a few music books and a chord chart. Since I’d learned to play chords on the piano, I understood the progression of chords in a song. All I had to do is learn the fingering—and practice. But practice wasn’t a chore, even when blisters developed on my fingers from the steel strings.
One of the first things I learned to do was to tune the guitar before I began my session. Even one string out of tune creates discord, so I checked each string carefully, using middle C on the piano as my guide. Only when the all strings were properly tuned and in harmony was I ready for my concert.
I, too, am an instrument that needs frequent tune-ups. And like the guitar, I must check each string separately.
First, I check the “E” string: How is my enthusiasm? Am I a wet blanket or a ray of sunshine? Do I maintain my initial gusto for a worthwhile project over the long haul? Do I approach each day and activity with eagerness and energy?
Next, I pluck the “B” string: Am I a blessing to those I meet daily? Do I uplift others not only in prayer but also by going out of my way to help in times of need? Do I encourage others when they face challenges that threaten to overwhelm them?
Next, I check my gratitude level (“G”): Am I thankful for the good things that I have, or do I focus on what I don’t have? Do I show my appreciation to others, or do I take for granted that they should know I’m grateful? Is the phrase “thank you” part of my daily vocabulary?
On to the “D” string: Do I discipline myself to have a quiet time every day, to keep my mouth shut and think of the consequences of my words, to resist feelings of envy, to quell my anger, to use my time and resources wisely? Ah, that’s a hard one.
But it must be in tune before I check the “A” string—my accountability level. Do I accept responsibility for my thoughts, words and actions? Do I make right that which I’ve done wrong, even when it’s inconvenient or costs me time and money?
The bottom and final string is another “E.” This one stands for endurance. Can I continue to do the right thing when I’m tired, hurting or facing opposition? Do I keep plugging away and hang tight, or do I turn tail and run when the going gets tough? Do I choose to have faith and trust God before He answers my prayers?
And what do I use for my “middle C”? Jesus Christ, for all these others will be in tune only if I’m in tune with Him.
Let my life be a pleasant song in Your ears, O Lord. Let my words and actions be in harmony with You. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read 1 John 1:3–5

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