I can remember in my younger years so desiring to be someone else. I remember trying on several occasions to change my look, whether it was a new hair cut, new makeup, new clothes style, making friends with those I wouldn’t ordinarily choose to be friends with or doing things and acting in ways that went beyond my personality. I longed to have more friends and to be “popular”. I was not very comfortable in my own skin so to speak. In middle school I was taller than most of the other girls, and I did not spend the majority of my time in the bathroom doing my hair as the other girls did. That being said, I remember the day I suddenly drew the attention of my classmates. At the time I thought it was fabulous and I felt like I finally fit in. Only in adulthood have I acknowledged that I was becoming someone that I was not intended to be. It was a long journey of trying to figure out who I truly was, yet thirty five years after that day, I can say that I know who I am and I embrace it all.
Yes, even through illness, loss, grief, and often times loneliness, I embrace knowing that I can just be myself. It’s rather freeing to not have to try to live by todays standards. I don’t need a lot of friends to define who I am, and at times, I even leave the house without any makeup not caring about impressing anyone. I find that the most important things in life are not found in the joys of earthly pleasures and in the view of those who subject themselves to secular viewpoints. I take joy in the fact that I am a wife, mother, sister in Christ to a great many who are like minded, and I am most of all a child of God. I have hope in something greater than this world and a confidence in knowing that grace is promised to those whom have been called out of this life of sin.
As my daughter and I stayed home today due to her upcoming surgery and not wanting to subject her body to germs that she wouldn’t be exposed to if she stayed at home, we listened to the sermon from last week that we missed. I was struck at God’s providential care in our walk with him and his encouragement in arranging this quiet time with Him, the message spoken and the tie in with my book study that I did with a friend yesterday.
The message was based on 1Peter 1:13-16 and entitled Just Be Yourself. (crbc.us sermons 9/18/2016)
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
In obedience, we are to be who we are called to be, leaving behind the passions of our old selves (“Ephesians 4:21-24 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.) so that we will have the hope (confidence) in grace (salvation)”. What a wonderful, freeing, feeling it is to know that God has chosen for me who I am supposed to be. I do not need to try to be someone else. I do not need to fit into this world because I am not of this world. (John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you… John 15:19 …because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world….”) I accept that I am a child of God’s, destined to live a holy life before him, with contentment and thanksgiving.
Our study yesterday discussed the motivation of how to stay obedient in holiness, tying in nicely with the sermon. Every child needs instruction and direction. I am no different and neither are those who are predestined to serve in holiness. (Ephesians 1:11 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will”)
Our book (The Hole In Our Holiness) gave us a few ways the Bible motivates us to continue in our pursuit of holiness. One of the questions asked us to identify which of them was meaningful to our individual needs living in a world of sin. Mine were the following:
God knows all and sees all. (Eccles. 12:14 “For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”)
If every child knew that their parent was watching, would they try to do the opposite of what they were instructed to do? My guess is that they would not and if they did, they would know that there would be a punishment waiting them. Maybe they would think that the sin of disobedience would be worth the punishment. Knowing that God’s punishment is death should make all christians reconsider that which they think they do in secret is actually in secret.
Assurance. (2Peter 1:10 “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm you calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”)
Knowing with surety that God has called me out of a life of sin keeps me humbled in obedience to his word. For not everyone has been blessed with the knowledge of their own salvation as we know that there is no double predestination. Due to the fall of man through the sin of Adam, we are all at birth destined for death, yet through the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ there are those who are predestined to be a part of life everlasting with him.
The world is not our home. (1Peter 2:11 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul”)
Pilgrims in a world that does not understand. Our time here is temporary. Our permanent home is with the Lord. An eternity serving a God who took mercy on his people to give them life. Abstaining from the passions of the flesh is not easy as temptation today is far greater with technology, yet preparing our minds and hearts through the studying of the Word is our short leash to staying on the right path.
For the sake of our prayers. (1Peter 3:7 “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered”)
Living a hopeful life, following the words of a gracious God so that He may be glorified and we may be made righteous in his sight. Marriage is not easy and life in this world is not easy. However, by staying the course with love and understanding we are reminded of the joyful blessings that are shared. Just as a couple becomes one in marriage, they become one with Christ.
The futility of sin. (Matthew 6:27 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”)
Do we really need to worry about that which we cannot control. Our time should be spent in grateful prayers of thanksgiving for that which we have been blessed, leaving all of the “stuff” behind.
The folly of sin. (Matthew 7:26-27 “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”)
The fall is not temporal. The fall is eternal and is spent in the flames of hell rather than an eternal life of glory with the Lord.
The promise of future judgment. (Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'”)
God’s wrath is much greater than that which we could ever dream. He gives the ultimate judgment over the sin abiding in this world.
The fear of future judgment. (Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”)
This does not need any explanation!
The fear of the Lord. (2Corinthians 5:11a “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”)
We witness to those whom we love in hopes that they too will be called unto the Lord. We know that the loving God so many talk about today is also a god of judgment and wrath. Believers should not tempt the will of the Lord with gross misconduct in backslidden behavior just to appease the world we live in. We should be the witness to the light that shines from following Him.
The love of the Lord. (1John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”)
Loving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is not just a suggestion but a command.
For the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify god in your body.”)
Taking care to not sin and to praise the Lord of whom gave much to give us life.
Fullness of joy. (John 15:10-11 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”)
JOY….to have joy in the Lord, in prayer and in ALL circumstances. No matter what! Finding the peace within ourselves to be joyful in the blessings that are not our own. Through pain, illness, despair, loss, and storms that rage around us.
Our union with Christ. (Romans 6:5-6 “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”)
Oh to not be enslaved to sin. To not be bound by the chains that cause strife and death. Could any blessings be better?
I pray reader that you have read through all that I have shared in my journey and that you have been blessed this day with the words of the Lord. I pray that you will joyfully praise the loving God who has given you life and blessed you with the following of this blog. Thank you for joining me down this path toward salvation.