“A single word can make a lot of difference. In Isaiah 61: 3, the world instead is repeated three times. Its repetition makes the difference between a life of gloom and a life of joy. . . Instead is a word of exchange” (Eugene Peterson in As Kingfishers Catch Fire).
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me . . . . God sent me . . . . to give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. (Is. 61-1-3; MSG)
As apprentices of Jesus we are called to help others leave a life of gloom for a life of joy Here are some “insteads” we can offer our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our country. Can you think of others?
♥ encouraging words instead of harsh criticism
♥ clarity instead of confusion
♥ joy instead of gloom
♥ truth instead of clever, insidious lies
♥ support instead of backstabbing
♥ calmness and serenity instead of chaos and turmoil
♥ integrity and honor instead of corruption and deception
♥ graciousness and mercy instead of revenge and vindictiveness
♥ peace and tranquility instead of agitation and distress
♥ love and forgiveness instead of loathing and confrontation
In 1976, theologian Francis A. Schaeffer wrote a seminal book with a penetrating question as its title: How Should We Then We Live? In 2004, Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey updated this concept with the book, How Now Shall We Live? In 2018, Christ-followers are challenged more than ever to write our own books – with lives that bring light to the moral morass that surrounds us instead of withering in the destructive darkness.