“I just hope I can be decent about it”, is a phrase my Grandmother Suderman used, and then my Mother. As I near my 92nd birthday, I contemplate their thought, not in passing, but as a prayer.
The book Mother wrote about her parents, Gerhard and Anna Suderman, The Lines are Fallen, teaches me about a life of honoring God living a life of honor that is honest, simple and decentness. I can see them as I remember them at their 50th wedding anniversary. I sang a song that day — “The Green Pastures!” (Referenced to Psalm 23). After I finished singing Grandpa said to me, “That is where I would like to be.” In one week, God called him Home to Heaven.
Their first house left a lot to be desired in the way of cleanliness, furnishings, and conveniences. After four young children died, and then raising six more, there was a lot of heartache but never heart breaks through the years.
I pondered the sentence that I repeated just the other day as I thought about extending my driver’s license for one more year. “I just hope I can be decent about it!” And smiled and wondered what ‘decent’ will look like. I had a synonym for decent, I would say ‘honorable’.
And just what will honorable look like? To me it is trusting in the Lord and having a planned response to the outcome. Where does trusting in the Lord come from? It is the way we respond to God’s Love. It is relying on Him for all of Life here on earth. It is loving others as Jesus loves us. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Understanding that the decisions I make now will determine who I am today and how my life will be tomorrow. It is when we lack self-discipline; we lack self-control and lash out in anger, determined to get even, that our life will look bleak, indeed, with no hope.
My brothers and I were young, and I teased them until they wanted to lash out at me. Mother came outside then. She was crying. She said that it hurt her when we didn’t get a long and fought. She loved all of us. Then she told us that God loves all of us, too.
When I learned the song as a child, I remembered this moment in the driveway with my brothers and Mom’s Tears.
Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black & white, They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world, Jesus cares for all the children,
All the children of the world. (George Root).
How can we learn how to live so that we honor and serve the God who created us all? The instruction book, God’s Holy Word, teaches us all the facets in Trusting Jesus and living honorably for Him. It begins with believing in Jesus. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. John 6:47.
What does it take to live eternally with Jesus? These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that become ours as we trust in Jesus with every facet of our lives. Whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him. And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. I John 3:22-23.
Pleasing Him is our path in Life, and this comes from loving Jesus and pleasing Him. All of the characteristics a ‘Love-Life in Jesus’ comes from believing and loving. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 22-25.
Love – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34.
Joy – Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Psalm 100:1.
Peace – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27.
Patience – And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him. 2 Peter 3:15.
Kindness – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.
Goodness – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.
Faithfulness – All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalm 25:10.
Gentleness – You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. Psalm 18:35.
Self-Control – For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. I John 2:15-17.
Love the Lord, all you, His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! Psalm 31:22-23.