I now know why I don’t polish my nails. Our church had its annual women’s ministry cookie exchange last week, and being new to the church, I looked forward to getting to know some of the women. Eager to make a good impression, I crossed all my beauty t’sand dotted all my preening i’s. You know how we do…we style our hair our favorite way, pick an outfit we love, and top it off with a great pair of shoes and the perfect accessories. That day had been crazy with back-to-back commitments, starting with a funeral, immediately followed by a birthday party, then to a Christmas dinner with dear friends, and finally to the cookie exchange. In between all the running around, I had to finish my seven dozen peppermint shortbread cookies, at which time the dish full of melted white chocolate chips slipped from my fingers and exploded all over my kitchen floor and cabinets. At some point during my harried day, I noticed the perfectly polished nails from my manicure several days earlier had become a jagged mess.  Instead of opting for my normal natural buffing, I went for it and had the nail technician paint my nails a sparkly pale pink for the holidays. Something out of the ordinary and fancy for this special time of year. And I do love to have polished nails, but since it only lasts about two days on my fingers, I don’t do it often because I know I won’t take the time to keep them looking nice. So, by the day of the cookie exchange, my nails looked more like tattered rags then shiny riches. I made a mental note to remove the polish before jetting off to the cookie exchange and promptly rushed toward my next deadline. Two days later, on Christmas Eve, I was in the shower and noticed my scruffy nails. I never removed the polish!

I don’t know if God speaks to you in the shower, but I have received some powerful revelations in that quiet, private place. Maybe it’s because it’s generally a time of total uninterrupted peace, and I can reflect on my day, consider what’s in my heart, and look to the Lord for answers. As I looked at my nails and wished I would have removed the polish the moment I noticed their state of disrepair, I thought about obedience. When the Lord tells us something to do through the Bible, or by speaking to our spirit, or by revealing His will through a sermon, conversation, or circumstance, He wants us to obey right away. When we put it off and disobey, don’t we find ourselves full of regret?  When I don’t do what the Lord tells me to do immediately, I am likely to stare down a state of disrepair at some point in the near future. How many times have I regretted my willful resistance to a heavenly directive? My silly nails truly are no big deal. But putting off God…that’s a big deal.

Being that it was Christmas Eve, later that night, my family enjoyed our annual tradition of sharing the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Jesus and what His birth means for us in His death, burial, and resurrection. After that, we all present a gift to Jesus. The gift is an area of our lives we believe the Lord is asking us to commit more completely to Him. We write it on a card and share it with the family so we can pray for each other throughout the year, and then we place the card in a stocking for Jesus. Before we present the current year’s gifts, we each read last year’s card and share any progress we made. Guess what my gift to Jesus was last year? You got it. Obedience! I wrote: “Jesus, I will obey without question every time.” How did I do? Overall, the Lord made great progress in me toward total obedience. But on the matter of immediacy, I still have a long way for Him to go with me. But I think this year’s gift is the answer. I gave Him my love and adoration. John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Then in verse twenty-one, Jesus says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

For the last several months, the Lord has been pressing on my heart that loving Him is the answer to every wrong condition of my heart. It is the answer to every habitual sin, every despicable attitude of my heart, every misdirected belief system, every disappointing relationship, every misplaced desire, every frustrating challenge. He’s showing me the reason Jesus named loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind as THE first and great commandment (Matt. 22:35-38): If we love Him, we will do what He says. If we’re doing what He says because we love Him more than anything in this world, we won’t be doing the wrong things that reflect our love for self and the things of this world. If He is our first love, He puts everything else into order in our lives. Love truly does cover a multitude of sins.

So I put my chipped nails in Jesus’ stocking, and this year, I long to love Jesus and my heavenly Father to the point of immediate obedience no matter what.

What is your gift to Jesus for 2012? Whatever it is, I pray you become more wholly His this year.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His