Formed Together 

If we let the wrong people and media speak into our lives at vulnerable times, we can be led away from our identity in the One who created us and sustains us.  By by Lt. Meagan Ruff

A while back, there was a TikTok trend that challenged users to record their voice at different increments to see how they changed. My favorite videos documented users’ voices after starting popular TV shows. “This is my voice after one day of watching …” (fill-in-the-blank). In each new clip, the user became more and more like the characters in the TV show. 

We naturally begin to mirror the people in our lives and the content we consume, especially if we aren’t confident in who we are or who we belong to. This can be harmless—like mirroring the phrases of my best friend. It can also be dangerous. If we let the wrong people and media speak into our lives at vulnerable times, we can be led away from our identity in the One who created us and sustains us. 

Proverbs 3:3 gives us a tool to help shape our lives as Jesus followers. It says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (NIV).  Now, we could physically bind love and faithfulness, in the form of Scripture, to our bodies. Orthodox and conservative Jews do this by means of a small leather box with passages of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) written on parchment and tied to their arm and forehead during prayer. I’ve also had friends use this passage as an argument for getting Scripture tattoos! 

I think there is a figurative and more practical application for us. 

Love and faithfulness are essential qualities of Jesus followers. “Hesed,” the Hebrew word used in this passage for love, is unshakable, undeserved and unfailing. Faithfulness is translated from the Hebrew word “emet,” which is also translated to truth. It’s no wonder that the author found it important to keep these two ideas close! 

To bind these ideas and write them on hearts signifies the importance of making them part of who we are. We can’t just know that God loves us and is faithful and true … it must be a part of our very nature. 

We don’t have to give up everything that isn’t “churchy.” Many of our interests, recreational or vocational ones, are vehicles through which God invites us to gather people to Jesus. Nothing must form us or speak into our identity more than Jesus.

How do we get there? Making love and faithfulness a part of our nature is a lifelong process. Through Bible study and focused prayer and communication with God, we learn of God’s love for us, His hope for the world and the good news that Jesus makes a way for us. Another way is through discipleship. When we find a person or a group of people who will walk alongside us in our faith, we can spur each other on and learn how to live life in a godly way, immerse ourselves in the teachings of Jesus and steadily become more and more like Him. 

Let God’s love and faithfulness never leave us. May they become so ingrained in our being that we mirror Jesus. In doing so, the world around us will see the God we love and who loves us back immeasurably so.

Dig Deeper:

Are you actively being discipled? If not, reach out to a pastor, youth leader or friend and begin meeting with the sole purpose of discipling one another. You can study a book of the Bible together, go through a spiritual formation series or read a specific book on discipleship. 

  • September 1: Proverbs 3:1-2
  • September 2: 1 John 2:6
  • September 3: 1 Chronicles 16:11
  • September 4: Ephesians 5:1-2
  • September 5: Psalm 17:15
  • September 6: Acts 2:42-47
  • September 7: 1 Peter 2:21
  • September 8: Ephesians 5:2
  • September 9: Proverbs 3:3-4
  • September 10: James 1:23-25
  • September 11: Colossians 3:16
  • September 12: Zephaniah 3:17
  • September 13: Philippians 1:6
  • September 14: John 13:13-17
  • September 15: Matthew 11:29
  • September 16: Proverbs 3:5-6
  • September 17: Philippians 2:1-4
  • September 18: Hebrews 12:2
  • September 19: Psalm 145:18
  • September 20: John 15:7
  • September 21: Luke 6:46
  • September 22: John 3:30
  • September 23: Galatians 2:20
  • September 24: Romans 12:1-2
  • September 25: 1 Corinthians 11:1
  • September 26: Joshua 1:8
  • September 27: Philip 2:5-11
  • September 28: Proverbs 27:19
  • September 29: Ephesians 4:22-24
  • September 30: 1 Peter 1:16

Flower Illustration by Lan Truong & Verse Illustration by Mel Cerri

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