Sip, Savor, & Drink Deeply! - Q&A

The following Q&A first appeared on my publisher's blog, "The Word Endures" - such a fun and special interview. May these words lead you to sit with your Savior and "take a sip..." from this new book or from another, as the Lord leads!             Love, Deb
We took a coffee break to sit down and chat with author Deb Burma about her new Bible Study and devotional duo Sip, Savor, and Drink Deeply. She told us about her go-to drink at the coffee house and what she loves most about meeting her readers, and also gave us some solid advice on life!
  1. It’s obvious that you love coffee, but what is your favorite drink?
I especially LOVE a flavored latte, hot or frozen (in which case, it’s called a frappe!). Currently, my favorite flavor is a specialty blend of brown sugar cinnamon and white chocolate syrups. Swirled together with milk and espresso, the resulting latte is called “Cinnamon Roll” and it’s amazing! I love it a latte. (And you will too, after you take your first sip…)
  1. Why did you write Sip Savor?
  • I have frequented coffee shops countless times when I’ve sought space away from the daily grind to spend with my Savior in personal Bible study, writing time, and prayer.
  • I’ve happy-danced every time a friend has asked, “Can you meet for coffee?” (I know that no matter what fills our cups, the talk time will fill and refresh us even more!) I’ve looked around and found others enjoying conversation, camaraderie, and connection over a cup.
  • As I have searched the Scriptures, I’ve learned again and again of God’s gifts which overflow for me in Christ. I’m drawn to the imagery of meeting my Savior with my “cup”—myself—a vessel created and called by God, redeemed in Christ, and ready to be filled (to overflowing!) for His purposes.
God guided me through His Word, providing depth, direction, and inspiration to create a coffee-shop-themed Bible study which began as a women’s retreat and grew into the seven-session book before you today. Beginning in Scripture, the imagery of the cup gave way to even more relatable wordplay for this enticing topic filled with coffee shop illustrations and beverages. (As you already know, I love a latte…and everything else on a coffee shop’s menu!) While enticing and invigorating, the beverages (and other coffee talk) actually serve to introduce God’s provision and promises from His Word, beginning with the overflowing supply of His gifts for us in Christ, as we examine our cups in light of God’s grace. From the reader’s first sip, she’ll want to savor God’s Word, and as she studies, she’ll drink deeply of His promises that find their Yes in Christ! (2 Corinthians 1:20).
  1. What is your favorite recipe in the study?
Two recipes tie for favorite! 1. Perpetually-Yours Chocolate Cherry Coffee Cookies (The title alone is a mouthful, right? Wait until you’ve tried a mouth full of them!) 2. Espresso-Chocolate Chip Scones with Coffee Glaze, served on the side of your favorite beverage; it’s packed with energy! (A carbohydrate- and caffeine-lover’s dream!)
  1. Is this study only for coffee lovers?
Not at all. It’s a study for anyone who desires to meet with her Savior—alone or gathered alongside girlfriends—around a cup. (Maybe she’ll sip a chai tea, hot chocolate, a smoothie, or a steamer!) Whatever fills her cup, she’ll receive an overflowing supply of God’s good gifts, poured out especially for her in Christ.
  1. Why is it so important for women to take a break from the daily grind of life?
It’s in the daily grind that a woman often finds herself parched, empty, or depleted. She pours herself out for everyone and everything that’s on her plate, so she may be in desperate need of a refill. Where will she find true refreshment and how can she receive that refill? Jesus beckons her to take a break to meet with Him. He knows how much she needs His rest, His strength, His words of comfort: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)Session Two examines the cup, as it is “Poured Out (In the Daily Grind)”, leveled, and able to receive a refreshing, refueling refill.
  1. Living a Chocolate Life has been a very popular study for women; how would you compare it to Sip Savor?
What a fun question! While Living a Chocolate Life builds on the premise of savoring God’s sweet grace in Christ, Sip, Savor, and Drink Deeply speaks of receiving God’s overflowing gifts as the reader examines her cup in the light of His grace. Though the topics of the two books are different, the layout and the facilitator-friendly format are purposely very similar! Additionally, both capture a woman’s attention with a relatable (delicious!) topic and draw her into God’s Word through illustration, analogy, and story. (She can envision savoring a morsel of rich, sweet chocolate or sipping a favorite coffee-house beverage, poured out in overflowing measure!) Ordinary, everyday topics lead her to the extraordinary Word of God and the new life she has in Christ, by His grace.
Features found in Sip Savor, similar to those in Chocolate Life, include: a Coffee Break quiz, which serves to break the ice for group study and provide a teaser to the topic that follows. A Memory Verse encourages the reader to commit Scripture to memory. Take a Sip questions provide opportunity for personal reflection, while He Fills Your Cup questions lead to meaningful Scripture study. Every session includes a Fresh-Brewed Fun Fact and a special Coffee Shop Recipe, tied to the topic of the session, along with an Espresso Yourself hands-on group activity that offers fun and fellowship while providing a tangible means of reaching out to share God’s overflowing gifts with even more women.
  1. How does it feel for you to have your Chocolate Life Bible Study and Devotional available to women in Spanish-speaking countries?
I cannot begin to express just how humbled AND excited I felt (at the same time!) as I learned that my Chocolate Life books were going to be translated into Spanish. The same feelings returned as I held the finished products in my hands. Because I only know a few words in Spanish, I was again humbled as I paged through this beautifully translated Bible study and devotional that I couldn’t even read, even though I had penned them in English, by God’s grace and guidance. (I’m so thankful for the incredible translation department at CPH!) While I may not meet my Spanish-speaking sisters in Christ from other countries, I treasure the thought of them receiving the Good News of their Savior, as shared through these chocolate-themed, grace-filled books.
I am blessed with the opportunity to partner with my local church’s Hispanic ministry. I’ll get to personally share these books, translated into the heart language of Spanish-speaking women right in my own community! I am absolutely thrilled that we can now savor and share God’s sweet grace (chocolate-style!) in Spanish.
  1. You travel and speak a lot to different women’s groups. What is your favorite part about that?
There’s nothing quite like sharing the saving love of Christ, leading women in the Word, and encouraging them in their walk with the Lord, as I engage with groups across the country and as I communicate personally with women during my travels. I love listening to and learning about their concerns and questions, their interests, and their life experiences, all of which have impacted my prayer life, my speaking, and my writing. I get to know so many “sisters” as I travel, and I’m overjoyed when we stay in touch and even have opportunity to reconnect, face-to-face!
Stories like this one speak to my favorite part:  Following a weekend retreat, a woman came to me in tears, telling me that while she had known of God’s love, it wasn’t until she’d heard the message of Living a Chocolate Life that she grasped the extent of His grace for her in Christ. Prior to the retreat, she had secretly believed that the sins of her past were too great to receive His undeserved forgiveness. With joy, she shared how the Word of God impacted her throughout our time together; she left, knowing that her sins are forgiven; that God lavishes His rich, sweet grace upon her in Christ Jesus!
  1. What is your favorite Bible verse?
I have a handful of favorites, but this one has been especially meaningful as I’ve penned this Bible study and devotional: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound [overflow] in hope” (Romans 15:13).
  1. What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
Live this day as though it may be your only opportunity to impact someone’s life for Christ (the “someone” He’s placed in your path today).
Specifically as an author, I have another “best” piece of advice: write what you know. It’s what matters to you. It’s what you’ve lived, experienced, and learned, by God’s grace. Share it.

The Savior’s Grace Place Menu: Breve Blessings

Did you know...?? Your Savior has a “menu” of sorts (yes, you read that right!) and it's filled with the very best of His abundant provision and served up to you. 
In this excerpt from Sip, Savor, & Drink Deeply (found in both the Bible study book and the devotional), you will receive a selection from The Savior’s Grace Place menu by way of the description of one popular coffee shop beverage. Other selections include: Mocha Mercy, Cappuccino Comfort, and Latte Love, to name a few. And guess what?! Your cup overflows with an endless supply of each menu item, poured out in abundance by His grace and generously served up to you today and every day. Enjoy...


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Ephesians 1:3

A breve is perhaps the least known beverage on a coffee shop menu. This delicious drink is created simply by substituting half-and-half or light cream for the milk in any espresso-based beverage. Take your latte, cappuccino, or mocha, and simply replace the steamed milk with a creamier option and—voilĂ !—you have a breve. If you’re thinking, But I’ve always added cream to my coffee, keep in mind that a breve is more parts cream than coffee. It’s really rich. 
We are brimming with God’s breve-rich blessings, overflowing for us in Christ and found near the front of The Savior’s Grace Place Menu! His blessings are not limited to the past. (Sigh. My cup was rich and running over at one time.) They’re not restricted to special moments and milestone events we log in our memory books. In our sin, we are shortsighted. Not only do we fail to remember or recognize some of our blessings, but we neglect to acknowledge and praise our Savior as the one who provides each and every one of them. We bring our shortsightedness and neglect to the provider Himself, who knows our failures and forgives all of them for Jesus’ sake, blessing us “with every spiritual blessing,” beginning with the forgiveness we receive at the cross and flowing forward with the blessings of faith, peace, love, joy, and more!

Today’s blessings that fill our cups may have a new look, a different flavor than yesterday’s blend, and we may not yet recognize them to be the blessings that they are. Maybe they’ll appear through new means, revealing God’s continued provision in a different way.

One day, while waiting in line at my local coffee shop, I was startled as a woman appeared suddenly and grabbed me by the arm. With a smile larger than my grande breve, she exclaimed, “Can I pay for your drink? I am so blessed today, I just want to share my joy!” By God’s grace, this woman recognized His rich blessings in her life and let them overflow onto me.

Praise be to God, our cups of Breve Blessings are brimming over! The Lord’s blessings really do spill over from our cups of plenty; our cups overflow (Psalm 23:5).

Dear God, help me to recognize Your rich blessings as they flow into my life, sometimes through unexpected means. May I give You glory as I acknowledge and praise You for each and every one. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Drink Deeply: God is the giver of every good and perfect gift - every blessing - both physical and spiritual. All that we have comes from His hand. Read Ephesians 1:3-14, which begins, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." We "bless" or praise our triune God - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - for His countless blessings, beginning with the spiritual blessings in Christ we read about here.

1. According to verse 3, you are blessed in Christ. Find and mark every "in Christ" or "in Him" across this passage. Why is "in Christ" so significant?

2. Because you are "in Christ," united with Him in your Baptism, you are a recipient of every spiritual blessing from heaven. Read the passage again, looking for some of the countless spiritual blessings you receive by His grace.

3. According to verse 6, the blessings you receive "in the Beloved" - in Christ, the one He loves - are the result of what?  [The blessings we receive are the result of God's grace, not something we earn or deserve.]

Reprinted with permission

Sip, Savor, & Drink Deeply: He Knows Your Name

I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands. 
Isaiah 49:15–16

I stepped inside my favorite coffee shop the other day and two familiar voices called out together from behind the counter, “Deb!” A warmth flowed into me as if I’d already taken my first sip of hot latte, and I thought, They never forget me! As I approached the counter, we began the friendly rapport we share each time I walk into their shop. Sometimes I’m grabbing a cup to go; other times I’m meeting a friend. But that day, I arrived at my favorite coffee shop alone, ready to sit with my Savior for a time of devotion, writing, and prayer.

I’ve become what some would call a “regular” at this shop, and when I arrived that day, the baristas not only knew my name, but they also knew my favorite flavor blend, served up just the way I like it. “Let me guess, Deb: a halfsie again today? Half raspberry and half white chocolate; half skim and half whole milk; a half shot of espresso. Am I right?” I laughed and nodded. We chatted a little while longer, then I headed to my table and opened my Bible.

As I began to read, they delivered my drink. The side of the cup read “We love Deb!” with a big heart. Once again, a warmth flowed through me, this time as I pondered the expressions of love printed on the cup and written across the pages before me. I paused to pray, thanking God for the baristas’ reminder that I am known. I am loved.

While my barista buddies know my name, label my cup with love, and learn a little more about me each time we meet, there is One who knows me completely (Psalm 139) and loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). He created me in His image (Genesis 1:27) and sent His Son to the cross to save me from my sins              (1 Corinthians 15:3). He calls me His child (John 3:1–2), and He will never forget me (Isaiah 49:15).

Even better than seeing my name handwritten on the side of a cup is knowing my name is engraved on the palm of God’s hand. And so is yours. He loves you! He knows your name.

Father God, You know my name! Thank You for expressing Your everlasting love for me across the pages of Scripture and at the cross of Christ, my Savior! In His name. Amen.

From Sip, Savor, and Drink Deeply Devotions by Deb Burma © 2017 CPH. 
Reprinted with permission

12 Ideas to Guide Your Child to a Life of Prayer

This post first appeared on The CPH blog (click to view) under "Everyday Faith".

“Momma, momma, huwwy! We need to pway!” My toddler ran to me the very moment he heard the siren from a fire truck speeding past our house down the nearby highway. I scooped my little guy into my arms and held him close. Together, we talked to Jesus, asking for help and protection on behalf of the people who may be hurting or in danger.
Just as my husband and I sought to teach our children that prayer can and should be our first response in every situation, you, too, can lead your growing children to pray, helping them see the need for it and the power of God in and through it. You can remind them that their loving heavenly Father’s eyes are always upon them, and that He hears and answers every prayer. They can draw near to His throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16) because of Christ’s sacrifice for them at the cross!

Here are 12 ideas to help you along the way:
  1. From your children’s earliest toddler years, you can teach them to stop and pray for others when they hear sirens or when they witness any other potentially scary situation.
  1. Encourage your growing child, and praise her for her humble words given to God in prayer. No matter how long or short her prayer, it is a beautiful offering to Him.
  1. Teach your child how he can “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), offering pop-up prayers in the middle of the day and developing an attitude of constant prayer and dependence on God.
  1. Pray for and with your child on the spot as a crisis or need arrives: when she walks through the door in tears, when you learn of another family’s illness or accident, or when another person suddenly comes to mind.
  1. Develop a prayer habit for your family at regular times in your daily routine, such as mealtime, devotion time, and bedtime, if possible.
  1. Sing the doxology or a table prayer set to music, and encourage your children to sing with no inhibitions as they offer praise and thanks to the Lord.
  1. Pray with them about big and small things, revealing that it all matters to God. He is a God of details and desires that we bring them all to Him.
  1. Encourage your children to be honest and forthright in their prayers. God knows every hair on their heads, so He surely knows everything on their hearts. They can pray about anything, even those things that they can’t talk to you about.
  1. Tell your child that however his heavenly Father answers his prayers—yes, no, or wait—he can expect God to change and grow him as a result of his prayers.
  1. Present your child with a journal, and encourage her to record her prayers and others’ prayer requests. Encourage her to look back to her past journal entries, recognizing God’s provision and answers along the way.
  1. Model prayer as you teach it to your precious children. Pray openly and honestly. Let them hear you confess your sins and praise your Savior. Let them listen as you thank Him for the many blessings of the day and as you hold them up in prayer.
  1. Pray the Scriptures for and with your children, inserting their names into them. Here’s a great place to start: “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you [ child’s name ] may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11).
Scripture: ESV®.  Portions excerpted from Raising Godly Girls by Deb Burma © 2015 CPH. Reprinted with permission.

Coffee Break!

Let’s meet for coffee. Oh, wait. You’re in front of your screen; I’m in front of mine, and we may even be across the country from one another, but I think we can make this work. (I know…we’re not on Skype and we’re not chatting live, but I’m writing and you’re reading, and if you will grab a cup, I’ll do the same!) And in a sense, we’ll be “meeting” for coffee - gathering (as girlfriends in God love to do!) around a cup.
We can even call it a “coffee break!” Yes, a break. A time, if ever so brief, to sit back for rest, reflection, and refreshment. And coffee…a mere beverage? Hardly! The word “coffee” is so enticing, even if a cup of Java or Joe is not the drink of your choice. Why? Because the word “coffee” – the invitation,“let’s meet for coffee” – means so much more! (Maybe you’re enjoying a chai tea or a cup of hot cocoa or a flavored steamer right now!) 

For years, I was not a coffee drinker, but I rarely passed up an opportunity to “meet for coffee” when someone called. The atmosphere, the aroma, the amazing pastries behind the counter…all were enticing. And today I am a changed woman! While a black cup of Joe still doesn’t call my name, some newer creations simply SING to me! (With names like “White Chocolate Mocha” and “Vanilla Hazelnut Cappuccino” and “Creamy Caramel Latte,” how can I resist??)  
When a loved one or a friend invites you to meet for coffee, what she is really saying is that she wants your company, alongside that hot beverage. The conversation and camaraderie can fill and energize and refresh as much or more than the coffee in the cup after its consumption. “Coffee” is an event, an occasion, a holiday, if you will. 

A woman once shared with me how her family had faced years of hardship and financial struggles. As she and her husband worked tirelessly to put food on the table, there was no money left over for extras. But they kept a coin jar in the kitchen. As their small change accumulated, on rare occasion, they would delight in one treat: They would go out for a cup of coffee! I remember thinking, “Not dessert or chocolate?!” No. Coffee. The pick-me-up; the rare treat of choice for a special time together.
The Lord invites you to meet Him for a break – for a REAL pick-me-up. Even better than a coffee break with a loved one or a friend. He, too, really wants your company. He desires to spend a special time together with you. (It need not be a rare treat, but a daily delicacy!) The conversation that He initiates in His Word, and the camaraderie – the friendship – that He provides with His constant presence can be more filling than any other. Just imagine what the Savior has in store for you each time you meet Him with your cup. With your cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Sure! More importantly, with the “cup” that is you – a vessel created and called by the Lord, to be filled and used for His purposes! He invites you to take a seat, put up your weary feet, and extend your “cup” to Him.  

“[Jesus said,] ‘Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28 As you find rest for your soul from the hurries and hassles of your life, you will be refreshed as you reflect upon His Truth for you, and you will be filled anew with energy and strength, purpose and direction for the day ahead. Hold out your cup to Him; He is filling it already.
As you sit down to meet your Savior for coffee, remember a few fun things…
·         Arrive with a Right-Side-Up Cup! (Check first to make sure your cup is not turned up-side-down!) Ask for a teachable, receptive, and open heart to receive every Word of wisdom He has for you today. Then hold your cup under His steady stream of grace.

·         Sip Slowly & Drink Deeply! “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10b As you sit with your Savior, sip His Word slowly, savoring every taste before you swallow. With every sip, you are refreshed; with every swallow, warmed and invigorated. Bring it to your parched lips and drink deeply as it flows into you. God’s divine power at work in His Word entices us in new and exciting ways each time it is read, as we receive everything we need from the One who called us and gives us life in His name! His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 

·         It’s a Bottomless Cup! The beauty of drinking in God’s Word is that the more we consume, the more our cup is filled. We cannot keep up with our Savior who continually pours His grace upon us. Our cups never run dry when His mercies are flowing!

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

      Thanks for meeting me for coffee.
      I’m going for a refill.
      How about you?

Making Appearances: Your Daughter and Social Media

This post first appeared on The CPH blog (click to view.) 

Your daughter stares into the screen of her phone, deeply engaged in social media. Many of the images are recognizable. The comments are personal. Some elicit laughter. Others hit a little too close to home. Still others leave her feeling uncomfortable and upset.

What your daughter may not realize is that the limited view of her friends via social media—shared for the world to see—are skewed, a little or a lot. As friends share flattering photos and make enviable remarks, they give her the false impression that everything in their world is ideal. They may be “making an appearance” before their peers, attempting to build themselves up, to appear a certain way. 

The result? Your poor princess ends up feeling inferior to or resenting her friends, whose goal may not have been to intentionally hurt anyone but merely to look good to others. In other cases, friends may share suggestive images or inappropriate content to seek negative attention and end up causing even further hurt as a result. In still other cases, so-called friends may attempt a direct attack against your daughter, using social media as the means for cyberbullying.

Research reveals a direct correlation between time spent on social media and negative feelings of self-worth, especially among growing girls, who often struggle with confusion and uncertainty regarding their changing appearance, their acceptance by peers, and their very identity. Researchers from the School of Psychology at Flinders University in Australia surveyed more than 1,000 adolescent girls. Dr. Amy Slater reported, “Our findings demonstrate a worrying correlation between excessive media use, particularly social media and the internet, and lower self-esteem, body-esteem and sense of identity and higher depression” (Medical Daily).  

I’m not advocating a ban of social media for our girls (once we’ve determined that they are old enough and prepared to make use of it). So many excellent Internet-driven tools for connectivity, conversation, and education have the potential to powerfully and positively impact our children when used with discretion and when our children’s eyes are wide open to the potential deception and harm that can be found in them. 

You have the opportunity to let social media be a great teaching tool for your daughter.

  • Be the mom. Set limits and explain them clearly; define appropriate and inappropriate use and provide clear-cut guidelines as you also educate yourself about the latest trends in social media.
  • Alert your child to the very real dangers that exist. Don’t mince words. If you’ve determined that she is ready for social media, then she must also be ready to understand the inherent dangers: Internet pornography, sexual innuendos, crude language, cyberbullying, and other vices exist across cyberspace. Help safeguard her by providing ample information, for her protection. 
  • Pray for and with her, asking God to guard her heart and guard her eyes: “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways” (Psalm 119:37). 
  • Establish a level of care and trust so she knows she can approach you with concerns and every possible scenario that may appear before her.
Your daughter is “making an appearance” before her peers when she sports her first smartphone, when she sets up her first Facebook page or Instagram account , and every time she texts, posts, pins, or tweets (or whatever term the latest social media uses to define sharing something across cyberspace!).

 What kind of appearance will she want to portray? 

  • Help her to think carefully about the image she wishes to project, about how she wants to represent herself publicly.
  • Encourage her as you remind her of her true identity as a godly girl. The image she projects doesn’t have to try to impress because she is made in the image of God.
  • Share God’s Word of truth, which tells her that she is being transformed into Christ’s likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). With God’s help, her every appearance before others can be a reflection of Him by her character, as she chooses to reveal it.
What an opportunity! As she shares images of herself, words, interests, video clips, and more, she is free to express her unique identity as a chosen princess of the King, a redeemed child of God in Christ Jesus.

Scripture: ESV®.  Portions excerpted from Raising Godly Girls by Deb Burma © 2015 CPH. Reprinted with permission.

Stepping Out from Behind My Secret Stash of Masks

I have a secret stash of masks that I keep handy for all those times when, for a variety of reasons that you will soon know, I am feeling particularly prideful. Yep, that's right. Prideful. (Sigh.) My assortment of masks does a nice job of concealing the truth that lies beneath them. So I slap them on as needed.

When life decisions, large or small, need to be made, pride would have me say, “It’s my decision. It’s my life. I’ll live it however I want to.” That’s when I slap on my In–Charge Mask. Sporting this mask, I try to convince myself and others that I can take the driver’s seat, make all my own decisions, and operate under my own power regarding everything from relationships to finances, from my career plans to my moral and ethical choices. Oh, and by the way, when I am wearing this mask, pride has me believe that I am never wrong. After all, a go-to gal like me, in charge of her own life, could never make a mistake. Right?

On other occasions, when a loved one or a trusted friend asks, “How have you been, Deb?”, instead of revealing the truth (which might sound something like, “I’ve been struggling lately”), I slap on my I’m-Fine Mask. You know, the one that gives the impression that everything is just great. “Couldn’t be better.” Why? The difficult truth stares me in the face (under that mask, of course): Pride. Again. Oh, sure, I can justify my answer: “Oh, I don’t want to bother them. They have enough worries of their own.” The truth is, though, that I don’t want them to see me in my weakness. Yep, that is a pride issue. To admit that I am struggling with something—anything—is to admit weakness, dependency on others, or the need for help. And I don’t need help. Right? I can do it all on my own.

In similar situations, I want to have all the answers—at church, at school, at home. As an example, when attending a Bible study, I want to give the right answers, should someone ask. So I slap on the Answer Mask, the one that lets everyone think that I am super knowledgeable, that they need only look to me for a quick answer. Ouch. Does pride keep me from learning from and listening to others? And does it inhibit others from answering or sharing? Could it even keep me from attending Bible study or another learning opportunity because I don’t want to reveal my lack of understanding or inability to answer? Maybe.

What mask should I wear for those times when I drive by another car and think proudly, “Look at that old jalopy; mine is nicer than theirs”? Or when I stare at someone’s lack of fashion sense or poor hygiene, their addictive habits or embarrassing behaviors, and say smugly under my breath, “Well, at least I’m not that bad”? For these proud moments, there is the ever-popular Better-Than-You Mask. Because I am just a bit better. Aren’t I?

Every mask attempts to conceal some important truths — and they are more than a bit humbling:

• I am not in charge of my own life, and I do make mistakes.
• I am weak, and I could use some help.
• I don’t have all the answers.
• I am no better than the next person.

Jesus Steps In

The truth is that God is the Lord of our lives, and we are not. In our sinful pride, we fail to follow His leading. We put our trust in ourselves instead of in Him. We think we know better than He does. On our own, we are stuck in our selfish sins. It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that we can confess our sins of pride and ask Him to show us where and when we are too full of ourselves. With repentant hearts, we surrender our pride, yield our lives to His lordship, and humble ourselves before our God. In His limitless mercy, He washes us clean in Christ, covering these countless sins with His pure and perfect forgiveness. Because Jesus steps in, it is possible for us to step out of our pride, to lay aside the masks that caused us to try to conceal the truth from ourselves.

Humility begins as He enables me to recognize my proper place in relation to my Maker. No longer do I trust in my ways and my desires, but in His. Humility does not selfishly ask, “What do I want to do today?” but “Lord, what would You have me do today?” and then seeks His Word and follows His lead. Humility is putting God in His proper place as Lord of my life, and me in my proper place at His feet. Good-bye, In-Charge Mask! 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9).

As the Lord enables me to recognize my helplessness and accept my weaknesses, I learn reliance on His power and on others’ help. It is humbly freeing to admit to another Christian, “I am struggling and would like your prayers.” Farewell, I’m-Fine Mask! 

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

My Savior helps me to accept a position of humility, where I listen and learn from others. He gives me an appropriate perspective in which I can say things such as, “I don’t have it all together, but I trust the One who does.” And, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I will try to find out from someone who does know, and then I will get back to you.” Adios, Answer Mask! 

“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23).

God gives me eyes to see His other children as He sees them: loved and valuable and—just like me—in need of a Savior. He enables me to stop judging them in my pride and start loving them by His grace. Bye, bye, Better-Than-You Mask! 

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Romans 12:3).

Make no mistake, the only reason we can lay aside our masks of pride and clothe ourselves with humility is because Jesus has stepped into our lives with His grace and forgiveness, filling us with faith. 

Thank you, Jesus! 

From Stepping Out by Deb Burma © 2013 CPH. Reprinted with permission