many of you who know me intimately, know there are a laundry list of things that get on my nerves. i am incessantly in prayer over some of these things. mainly because too much time spent wondering why people are without a clue, slides you right into the same driver seat they’re in, hence the never ending hamster wheel cycle of judgement, finger pointing & what not to do’s i am about to dish with you about.
as a society now & since the beginning of time, i cannot for the life of me understand why people are so concerned over the affairs & lives of others, but we are & we always will be it seems. as technology improves, so does our ability to constantly be in someone else’s daily business. there’s a reason facebook, twitter & any other social network tool is so successful….. we crave a window into the life of someone else. is this a bad thing? no, when does it become a poisonous thing? answer: when we become overjoyed to watch others self destruct. when we find joy in the downfall of another’s life. when we make ourselves feel better by comparing our lives to the train wreck we consider others have become. and what’s worse than any of this? when this behavior is being rooted in those who say they follow Christ. (and the worse than any of this part is obviously, in my opinion. no one actually took a poll with statistical numbers to provide this is actually THE worse thing. fyi on that)
in my growth as a Christ follower i’ve realized an amazing amount of things. in that vat of discovery i have come to discover the truth of God’s word & the enormous amount of crap baskets that have been dumped on & into into His truths by others. the legalism, the denominational strongholds, the “religion”….i mean i could go on for 2 thousand plus years here, but i think you catch my drift. i know many people, LOTS of people, list the reasoning behind why they don’t believe, why they won’t believe, why they can’t believe, why they don’t go to church, why they won’t go, God knows my heart, i won’t give them my money, they’re all hypocrites…… but in reality we all know deep down this is the biggest lie society has accepted. it’s laziness, it’s the joy of sleeping late, it’s excuses, it’s the fear of submitting to a hypocritical lifestyle & modern day idols that stand between that willingness to be free in Christ & it has caused a world of people to suffer unnecessarily at their OWN hands, by their own choices & this cycle of self talk has & will be passed on to generations until Christ fulfills the book of Revelation. but it absolutely doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re an atheist (which many people i love are) there really isn’t a reason to be reading this further. it’s going to get your blood pressure raised & i am sure there are like 50 other things to improve the world you could be doing than this. we know i don’t argue about my belief system, as i learned long ago, for those unwilling to believe, no proof will ever be enough, so i will live my life, you live yours, i will pray for you & love you anyway. so as you get ready to debate & compile the 500 things to say to me that will discredit my intelligence & allow you to feel intellectually dominant, please back space, reduce the page or change the view from your phone <—— actually that last sentence is applicable to anyone reading this.
i have other friends who i would say they’re spiritual. they believe in karma & nature & the moral code that somehow landed in us that tells us killing, murder, rape, etc is wrong. they say the virgin birth, the cross, the ascension to heaven, Christ return or any other miracle or occurrence of the supernatural in the Bible is bull, a hoax, BUT rely on the mysterious supernatural to predict their future through horoscopes, tarot cards, mediums, psychics, etc. I’ve never understood that either. why would you believe in the supernatural to predict your future & not think a supernatural creator named God could? if a person can channel a spirit through their body & tell you what you want you want to believe, why can’t the holy spirit do that too? I think this is a group open to God’s miracles, but remain closed because Christians have ruined Christ & his message through hate, judgement & hypocrisy.
and that leads me to my point, i think. my point is conviction & who & what is responsible for that. i grew up in the rural south. the Bible belt. where almost everyone goes to church…. sometimes. BUT they rely on other people to tell them what’s in the Bible. i’ve heard pastors say things that is not only contradictory to Christ, but it’s a flat out lie. because i was one of those people who was too lazy to study the word myself, i never knew these were lies. i assumed that WAS the word & there was NO way my tail was getting redeemed. nope. this sinner was doomed!
after i spent a lifetime running from God, putting myself in control, & thinking a christian couldn’t do life the way i do or how can i overcome this messy list of things i was either guilty of or couldn’t live up to in the christian world, i decided at 36yrs old to get on my face in the carpet & give it to God. (fyi-your kid almost dying & being promised a severe mental retardation diagnosis will bring you to your brick, humbling wall-btw neither of those things happened to her, ptl & a story for another blog) i wasn’t sure how to give it to God or what he would do next, but i was promised in jeremiah 29 that seeking God with my whole heart would cause me to find him & well my whole heart was all that i had.
it has been a long, sacrificial, journey, but the most amazing of my life. there is lots more to add to this story, but at least this is an intro. i was most horrified of this journey because i assumed in order to go to church & grow through women’s ministry, i would have to stop listening to certain music genres, i’d have to use words like golly darn it & gee willacker, i’d have to stop enjoying a glass of wine with a good dinner, i’d never be able to dance again & well i would be no fun….. what a crock! all of these things lead me to start peeling these layers off of the truth, day by day. and it led me to some BIG time personal conviction.
for those of us eternally blessed with the supernatural connection with the holy spirit’s power, this core group, TRULY & TRUTHFULLY gets it. almost daily we pray what to do with it, because often times we arent sure what to do when the holy spirit shows up, but praise God at least we get it. often times we get excited & start doing things like creating blogs. in seriousness, there’s no way to obtain that feeling, that arrival & that blessing, until you say with your mouth & your mind, i believe that Jesus is & was…i mean that’s it. so what’s all this other mess? why has this divided nations & families & friends for AGES? if you read the words that fell out of Christ’s mouth & you live by the words he taught, what in the hay is the problem here? the problem is that people want to convict other people, rather than taking a seat & letting Jesus be Jesus in us. people are so busy talking about what they think others shouldn’t be doing, they forgot what God told them to do. they’ve cherry picked the sins to apply to everyone else instead of themselves. they’ve memorized scripture that fits in their lives vs taking their life & placing into scripture…..Jesus Christ has been made into the image of others rather than others finding & living their identity in Him.
i’ve heard so many say, “if she/he were really a christian, he/she wouldn’t dress that way, talk that way, walk that way, fart that way” “oooh God’s gonna get her/him” “who does he/she think THEY are, we all know what they used to do, acting like they love Jesus now” ….. you know, THOSE kinds of remarks. as if people think God actually needs assistants to back up the holy spirit. as if people can’t be redeemed. what God needs is everyone to pull it together, grow up, quit your griping & complaining & act like your life mirrors what his son died for. and if you don’t want to do that, then stop associating yourself with HIM.
Oswald Chambers says: “Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God.” (ie. refer to John 16)
when Jesus came he explained that he was not sent to abolish the law of moses or the prophets but fulfill it. (matthew 5:17) and in matthew, mark, luke & john, we have a crystal clear idea on what God’s purpose is for us also fulfilling these ideals & how we should live & act. so why not just do that. just sit down with a bible that you can clearly interpret the translation, pray before reading that God will show you the truth & just read verbatim what Jesus says. he’s not joking, he’s not kidding, he’s not confusing…. pretty straight up stuff in there yo. (btw i use an NLT bible with life application & study references. this is a mega Bible. i am not playing around here. i recommend you go in guns blazing too people)
one of my favorite studies i’ve done to date, was a beth moore (love her) on the life & journey of the apostle paul. paul is pretty much my kindred spirit, minus the fact that i haven’t ordered people’s deaths prior to conversion. i love him, i love everything he stands for & against, i love his letters & the fact that he pretty much penned the entirety of the new testament… i LOVE him! just like Jesus, just like me & just like millions of others, he never had an agenda with the non believers, it was the believers who stirred the pot & still stir it in 2013. there is no better breakdown of what i am saying like paul says it in romans 14. the entire book of romans is a powerhouse, full of to do & not to do’s that are spot on. then why do we have so much division? if those of us who are supposed to be unified in & for Christ believe the same things, then why is romans 14 or any words of Christ in the 4 gospels such as issue? to me, i think it’s a control issue. i think we are the most nauseating, spoiled generation & gasp to think i would lower myself to the standards of humility, meekness, sacrifice, obedience….we all think we deserve something & we don’t deserve a thing!
i think once you pray to God for His will, his guidance, his direction, asking Him to meet you where you are & prepare & lead you, instead of telling God, “hey God look, i am going to take this job, buy this house, commit to this red flagged relationship, move, let my kids run wild & i expect you to show up & take care of matters” guess what? doesn’t work. nor does this following your heart business. if following the heart was so productive, we’d have a lot less sadness, depression & emotional issues swirling around. jeremiah 17:9 says “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” God knows how bad it is, that’s why, upon your accepting Christ, you get the holy spirit’s conviction, but you ignore it & you get to end up at square 1, confused as to where God was & why He wasn’t answering you.
the thing about personal conviction, rather than conforming to others ideas about your salvation, is actually being still & being led. get off fb, get off pinterest, stop texting, turn off the tv & turn your chill time to Him & BE STILL. you can’t expect to be convicted if you’ve drowned God’s voice out with your own. we often try to steer clear of actions forbidden in scripture, but often times in our personal lives, scripture is silent. we should follow our consciences. we should worry about what’s best for our own lives, not someone else’s. if you’re a recovering alcoholic, you likely shouldn’t decide to have a beer with the game or cocktail after a long day at work, but at the same time you shouldn’t worry about someone who doesn’t have your issue enjoying a glass of wine with dinner. if you are convicted & uncomfortable with your own children watching a particular movie, then enforce that, but don’t worry about the youth pastor’s family going to see said movie on opening night. we obviously have commandments, and a nice, reasonable list of instructions from Jesus, but there are some things left up to us to iron out & we have the tools to do so. THAT is where personal conviction shows up. if you personally are faced with something you know is not the best choice & you do it, you’re sinning & going against that conviction will eventually or instantly leave you with a guilty or uneasy conscience. everyone who’s a believer knows what i mean.
when God shows us something that is wrong for us, for our marriage, for our kids, we should avoid it. BUT we should NOT look down on other christians who exercise their freedom in those areas that are not right for us or our families lives.
mark 7:1-23, gives a clear point from Jesus himself regarding this topic. i encourage you to read it, read romans 14 while you’re at it. we have a clear instructional book from God on how to do this life & feel in our core the joys that he designed us to experience. there are many people doing it & living it wrong, when it comes to the simplicity we were created for, however, i am blessed beyond measure to share this life with those, like me, who decided to give it a whirl & invite him to fix us, at all costs & guess what? HE showed up & HE showed out!!!
my prayer is that blog posts like this, which are meaty, unprepared and definitely God led & driven, will encourage you to push people out of your walk with him. to challenge God to perform heart surgery on you. ask for the scales to fall from your eyes so you can see what you’ve been missing. i have nothing to gain by loving you all enough to know that you don’t have to stay where you are. there is a blessed road ahead & God is waiting for you to open the door, take his hand & step into your tomorrow.
be blessed until next time —- xoxo