Sorry, this isn't about baby triplets, but that's a wonderfully cute picture, isn't it?
There is a literary style of using triplets as descriptors that makes reading flow. For example if I were to describe my kitchen to you I would say, My kitchen is bright, comfortable and inviting. Three descriptors that keep the sentence flowing. Now I could have written four or five, or even just two, but there is something about three that just fits.
Same with decorating. I have been told that you should never hang two pictures, there should always be three. You should never put an even number of something on display - it should always be an odd number. I am not sure why, and maybe it's outdated, but there is just something right about triplets.
So this morning I want to share a few power triplets from God's Word - I call them "powerful triplets" because any of these if purposefully and practically applied would be immediately life-transforming. They are rich and deep enough to keep your mind engaged and if, by God's grace, we would strive every day for the rest of our lives to master these truths, it would be an honor to have these triplets put on our gravestones in memory of the lives we chose to live.
(wow…no pressure there…)
James 1:19 - "But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger."
As a mother I have been known to interrupt my children's stories with solutions to their problems. Here's why - I had six children. Children do not tell stories quickly. If I waited to hear all the details of every story from each one of them…well, there's just not enough time in the day. So I would quickly throw out a solution and move on to the next. Great parenting, right?
God says, Slow down. Listen. Mull over your response and don't lose your temper. He is so different than my natural instincts. But here's the truth - I was often solving a problem that didn't exist. I needed to hear the whole story to find out what the need was. I needed to ask questions, to listen better. Proverbs 18:13 says, "He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him." Yes, I agree. Through the years God has taught me to slow down, to listen, and to seek His wisdom before solving the world's problems.
There is great truth to this first triplet. If we would write these down, tape them to the fridge and glance often on them during the day (notice the triplet), it would be life changing.
Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."
Kind, tenderhearted, forgiving. What a great way to live your life. I have often suggest to some of my counselees who are struggling in their marriages, when their husband is asleep, take a Sharpie and write these three words on his forehead. Then every time you look at him, you will be reminded of how God wants you to love him. I don't think anyone's done it, but it's a good mind picture.
Remember that God does not ask us to do anything that does not flow from His very character. His kindness, His compassion, His forgiveness is on broad display at the cross. That alone is enough motivation for me to work on this triplet. My God is kind, tenderhearted and forgiving, so guess what? That's what I want to be.
Again, a great headstone, don't you think?
Micah 6:8 - "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Okay, the piece de resistance! (That's French for noteworthy or prize feature!) This triplet will take much more study than this blog has time for, but what a great road map for life:
- Do justice - behavior - do what is right, lawful, moral - this is a daily battle in each of our lives, not to live by the flesh but to live by God's principles. I use the word "battle" because if it came easy, we'd all do it. But our flesh fights to sit on the throne and God wants that chair! When we choose to live righteously, when we choose to live according to God's law - we are placing ourselves within His boundaries, which are there for protection, not for testing. His ways are best, His ways are safest, and His ways are where the fruits of the Spirit flow freely
- Love kindness - other translations say, "Love mercy." Kindness means to be of a good or benevolent nature or disposition. We need to love kindness but I think we tend to love justice. Let me explain the difference - justice disciplines law breakers. Kindness shows mercy to law breakers. We are instructed to do justice (live rightly) and love kindness (be happy when mercy is extended, not just to you but to others) but because we tend to think more highly of ourselves, we want to see people get what they deserve, rather than receive the mercy that we've been extended. We need to stop that. We need to start being kind, tenderhearted and forgiving because that is what has been given to us - we need to love kindness
- Walk humbly with your God - and here's how we can do justice and love kindness - through a humble walk with the Lord. Humility does not come from horizontal living - looking at and comparing ourselves to those around us. Humility comes from vertical living - constantly keeping our eyes on Jesus, comparing ourselves to His holiness and perfection - that will humble us on a regular basis! Humility is defined as not proud or arrogant; low in rank, importance, status and quality; courteously respectful; having a modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance. Wow. The only way to live a life of humility is to walk with God. And here's an added bonus - Dave has pointed out that we have to humble ourselves - we are constantly instructed to humble ourselves, to be humble - it's a choice.