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home : religion : religion August 15, 2018

10/29/2017 12:11:00 AM
Your True Colors
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.'
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

I love fall because it reminds me so much of our personal relationship with God. When most people describe a tree they say that it has green leaves - and it does for most of the year. However, in the fall trees are transformed and their leaves change to deep red, neon orange, or golden yellow.

Although we don’t know all the details, we do know enough to explain the basics of how this happens. Both chlorophyll [green] and carotenoids [underlying colors – red, orange, yellow] are present in the leaf cells throughout the growing season. During the growing season, chlorophyll is continually being produced and broken down which makes the leaves appear green. In this way, the green is like a mask over the real color of the leaf underneath. As night length increases in the autumn, chlorophyll production slows down and then stops and eventually all the chlorophyll is destroyed. The carotenoids, the true colors of the leaves, are then revealed and we
see them.

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The true colors are only visible to us for a short time during fall, but God sees them all along. So it is with the spiritual condition of our hearts.

God loves us from the inside out, although many of us still feel that God’s love is dependent on our outside condition and how the world sees us. We may feel unworthy. We may feel we can never do enough to please God, and be in right relationship with Him.

As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we need to remember that this is how Martin Luther felt for so long. In his younger years as a monk he was consumed by guilt and shame over his sin. He strived to be perfect in the rituals and liturgical practices of the church, paying for indulgences for forgiveness, staying in confession for hours, and even physically punishing himself by sleeping in the snow with no blankets or whipping himself.

Then Luther had a revelation. Salvation was a gift from God that is received by faith, not by striving to be perfect in the rituals and liturgy of the church. When we open ourselves to God in a very personal way through a relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior, we receive a new heart and a new mind.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Our new nature is on the inside. It leads us to turn from sinful behavior and embrace the forgiveness of God. Our true colors in Christ came from God and are beautiful to Him. If we want to honor the courageous stand of Martin Luther 500 years ago, let us remember that his personal relationship with the Lord Jesus transformed him from the inside out. Accepting the free gift of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness through Christ freed him from self hatred, guilt and shame. How this works is a mystery, but we know it is true by his first person testimony and the testimonies of others who have received this gift – a gift that can also be yours today.

So when you look at the true colors of the leaves are they are revealed this fall, remember that this is how God sees you. If anyone be in Christ, your true colors are beautiful to God all the time.

Rev. Susan Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church

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