Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Choice

I have had a choice to make in the past two weeks. A choice that made me feel at the edge of two roads. If I chose the road to the left I would be choosing to try to be normal, fitting in with my friends, going through each day with my checklist, buying into the message the world teaches through music and television--that I need to find happiness in any way I can and right now, because I shouldn't have to wait for anything.

If I chose the road to my right I was choosing to learn to wait patiently on God. (It amazes me how God tells us to wait and the world tells us instant gratification is the way to go) Not to expect happiness, because God offers a joy none of us can comprehend. To not only read His word, but to also live by it, all of it, not just the parts I find easy-to-live-by or interesting, but every part.
I want to recognize the things that are a waste of my time because they do not bring me closer to Him or further His kingdom so I can let them go. And I want my example of living a set apart life to shine like a "star in the universe" (Phil 2:15). That's why God told us not to be part of this world...we are supposed to look otherworldly because this is not our home. By living a set apart life, people who need Him will see His love in our eyes and our actions, and God willing they will ask us why we are different. (I wonder what people in need of Christ think of Christians who live just like they do? Why would anyone want to accept Christ when most of the Christian examples are hypocrites, preaching one thing, living something totally different) I don't think we have to live in a Christian commune to achieve this. At least not a physical commune. But I think we have to guard our minds and hearts against the messages of the world. We can't afford to become emotionally attached to the things this culture promotes. We can only love the people in the secular world as Jesus loved them...if we love them humanly we will get burnt. Emotional attachment is so strong and just because we are Christians doesn't mean we are immune to becoming emotionally attached to the secular world, human or object. So we have to keep a safe distance while still filling the world with Christ's pure and holy love.

I have a desire to have authentic friendships…I think it comes to a point where God wants us to let go of relationships that are bringing us down. It is another moment of allowing Him to refine us with fire. In the end, we have to focus on Him. We were made to have a relationship with Him so if something takes the place of it, even a relationship, we have to let go. As God continually told the Israelites to get rid of their idols, we too have to clean out anything that brings our focus from our Lord's face. That even means relationships...and those seem to be the hardest to let go of. I've had to do it...I've had to let go and trust that God would take care of that person without my influence in their life. Because the risk was losing my own relationship with Him. God said through Paul that we should not be “unequally yoked together” (2 Cor 6:14). He is talking about more than marriage relationships here. No matter how strong we think we are we can be pulled down by the other person (1 Cor 10:12).

Though I might sound like I have it figured out, writing it out and living it is two different things. Each day I have to get up and choose who to serve. I have to strive to live by Philippians 4:8. Because if we apply that to everything in our lives...our books, the tv shows we watch, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the jokes we tell, the conversations we enter into, and our very thoughts...if we live by that verse won't we be guaranteed to be set apart from this world? That is why I feel so strongly about drinking, smoking, drugs, tattoos, physical contact with the opposite sex. Those avenues are the world's...if I want to be an example to others, why would I walk down those roads? Why would I want to defile God’s temple, which is my own body to simply gratify my own desires? 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” Is it good for those who need God to see us, the ambassadors of Christ, living as they do: relaxing with a bottle of wine at the end of the day or ordering a mixed drink at a restaurant in the company of our girlfriends, falling asleep next to our boyfriend/girlfriend during a home movie, and going to see a new movie just because it looks funny even though the content is less than perfect. We can’t settle for less than perfect. 1John 2:6 tells us, “whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” Wasn’t Jesus perfect? Should we not “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1John 1:6).

As I said before, I don’t pretend to live out these commands perfectly. But I pray that each day I come closer to the person God wants me to be. How can I do less for a God who “showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4: 9-10).
You have a choice. A choice to live your life in total abandonment to your Savior or a life chained to the ways of the world, hindering your testimony to those seeking His face. You can either give all of your heart to Jesus or allow the world to steal away parts of it. Let me tell you, Jesus wants all of you, not just part of you. For "the world and its desires pass away, but the man (woman) who does the will of God lives forever" (1John 2:17) I pray that you choose to abandon the world. I pray you burn your idols and turn your face to the one who loves you with an everlasting love!

“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:3-5

Lord, I want to live a life pleasing to you, set apart from this world.
Allow your unfailing love to shine through me.
Guide me to live differently than the world tells me to live.
Help me live according to your commands.
Help me walk as Jesus did.