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Zebras

ZEBRAS…are a phenomenon to me. They are several species of the African equids (horse family) united by their distinctive black and white striped coats. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and donkeys, zebras have never been truly domesticated.
Our granddaughter, Annie, is serving orphans and widows in Uganda this summer. She got to go on a photo safari this past weekend right on the equator. She has always had a fascination with zebras from a very young age and was able to view some in their native habitat. This photo was taken by her.
Zebras are so distinctive because of their stripes. No one can mistake them for another animal. They stand out, so to speak. It would be interesting to know what other animals think of them. Possibly; ‘man, look at that striped dude.’ I wonder if the early prison clothing in our country was patterned after the zebra. Maybe even football officials. They are sometimes referred to as ‘zebras’.
As a believer in our walk through life, are you distinctive? Do you stand out from the crowd? In a positive way! Can people see your stripes? Is there enough evidence to convict you in a court of law if you were accused of being a Christian? There are words to a song–‘they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love’. That, my friends, is your ‘stripes’! Love distinguishes you from the world, or at least it should.
How does it manifest itself?
First, your love for the Father
Secondly, your love for your family
Thirdly, your love for other believers, and
Lastly, your love for our enemies.
Which one gives you the most trouble? There are four Greek words for love-
Eros – physical
Storgeo – family devotion
Phileo – brotherly love
Agape – self-sacrificial/unconditional
God’s love is agape. He evidenced that on the cross through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. That’s the love that transforms you, and the others with whom you come into contact. So, how do you demonstrate His love? Well, for starters, you have to daily spend time in the word and prayer, becoming intimate with your Lord. It comes from understanding just how much you are loved. Then, through Christ-like humility, being a channel for His love. You cannot conjure up agape love. The other three are rather earthly. Agape emanates from Him. As you are transformed by it, others will be drawn to Him, the One who lives and dwells within you. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
And how does ‘renewing’ come about? “You put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness”(Eph. 4:22-24).
As you start ‘putting off’ the old and ‘putting on’ the new, others will start noticing your ‘stripes’ and become inquisitive. It will blow your adversaries’, your enemies’ minds! They’ll see you ‘washing their feet’ while they are trying to ‘do you in’. The Christ abiding in you will be so attractive, He’ll be hard to resist. This is the transforming power of God’s love. Nothing, absolutely nothing, compares. It is simply supernatural!
So, all you ‘zebras in Christ‘, let’s show the world just how distinctive you are because of the One who gave you your stripes. It’s all by grace. You didn’t earn or deserve them. Your stripes emanated from the stripes Jesus took for you outside Jerusalem. But don’t boast of your stripes. Paul speaks about where your boasting should be focused. “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation” (Gal. 6:14,15).
Hey man, nice stripes!

 

Copyright 2017
Bill C. Dotson
www.lifespeakstous.com
bill@abidingfathers.org
Some info on zebras taken from Wikipedia
Scriptures are from the NKJV

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