Modesty has gotten a lot of slack over the last decade, outside–and in–the Church. Is there a standard, and if so, what is it?
If someone tells me she’s feeling suicidal and I encourage her, and hug her, and pray for her, and remind her of comforting Scriptures and she chooses not to kill herself, did my choices impact her decision? If I call someone horrible things and tell him he should kill himself and he does, did my choices impact or influence him?
So…do the clothes you wear impact the choices of others? Why does the Bible say “…that we may be pure and blameless children of God in the midst of a crooked generation?” If we are to be “blameless” does that mean we can be “blamed” at all? The Bible teaches us that our choices have influence. So then…are we somewhat accountable for them?
Christianity is soooo beautifully simple AND practical!
If one were to just read the book of Matthew or John to see what Jesus said and did, or read one of Paul’s letters to the early church, Colossians, or Philippians, you’d see how…different Christianity is from other religions which are huge on either mystical, elusive, and abstract concepts and thoughts, or food-chain, climb-the-ladder type exaltation of participants, or severe bodily rejection and repetitious, ritualistic behaviors.
But not Biblical Christianity. Not the Christianity you find when you read the New Testament. The admonition and commands on how we ought to love one another and what that looks like practically are just so easy to grasp and refreshing and totally sensical and observable.
Indeed, it’s not like, dare I say, reincarnation, a mystical, never before observed idea. Even Christianity’s claims of resurrection from the dead has been observed time and again throughout history with people praying in Jesus’ name for life to return to someone who died and then it does.
So all this to say, I love the whole of Christianity, of what its Founder, Jesus, teaches. If there is anything more beautiful, more good for mankind, please, show me. It is for such teachings as these that I am totally unashamed to say I follow Jesus and His ways as recorded in the Bible:
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” –Colossians 3:12-17 NLT
Don’t worry about what people may think if you proclaim to be a Christian. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our God is so good and wonderful. Get to know Him better so your confidence in that fact can be assured and you can more boldly share His love unabashedly with others. At the end of the day, it isn’t about whether or not someone likes you, it’s whether or not you loved Jesus and that person despite.
You go to church services on Sundays, maybe on a weekday as well–or more. You like the people there, you have some friends there, you like your pastor and the music so one day, you decide you should serve. So you do.
1.) When serving–or after the fact–do you find yourself wiped, frustrated, grumbling, or complaining about your experience?
2.) During and after the fact, you feel good, you enjoyed it, and can recall good experiences and can dare say you’re starting to–or already do–love it?
There’s usually two kinds of reactions to serving in your local church:
A) You feel used or frustrated, but you also feel obligated to serve because, well, it’s just what you should do, isn’t it?
B) You love the people in your church and find it a joy to help them out.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.-Philippians 2:1-8
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.-Philippians 2:14-18
Ask yourself: Which kind of volunteer am I and why am I this way? I’d say this, if we aren’t the joyful one, doing it from love, we aren’t walking in love…And maybe that’s because we haven’t truly trusted in Christ and thus, we don’t really have His Holy Spirit living in our hearts, who makes us more loving and Christ-like. Or, we’ve allowed the devil’s lies, who is the author of division in the church, to creep in and embitter us, when once we really did love and enjoying serving, but overtime we started looking down on others or thinking they were taking advantage or not appreciative of what we do.
We as Christians aren’t perfect. It’s why Paul wrote that if anyone has an offense against another to forgive each other as God in Christ has forgiven us. Besides, we do it not because we deserve it, but because we love Jesus and He desires us to use the gifts He gave us to strengthen and serve and build up His church which ultimately is serving Him. If you really think someone is mistreating you, first pray about it. Ask God if this notion is true, or if it’s a lie from satan, or your own misunderstanding. Ask Him to make it known to you. And if afterwards, you still believe the person(s) are being mean or wrong, confront them about it–in a gentle manner. Share how you feel, don’t hold it in, or bring it up to a higher authority. Be honest in your confession of how you feel and what you see and experience. Sometimes it’s just perspective, or sometimes someone really is being out of line and needs correction.
Always remember the above passage, re-read it and really consider it. Jesus and a real love for Him and others should be what compels us to serve–nothing else. And if there is a different reason, we have to confess that our heart isn’t in the right place, and ask God, in Jesus’ name, to forgive us and help us get to that place, that we may shine as lights in this world.
Today in prayer I cried before Jesus, asking Him to give me a pure heart before Him. And it hit me: wanting to please Him is pure-hearted.
How many of us come to Christ and then begin thinking of how we can live in a way that pleases Him?
How often do you ask yourself if what you’re about to do, say, wear, hang with, date, pleases Him?
I think often, many of us accept Christ and then, since we know we are accepted, we stop there and continue behaving the way we did before we “surrendered” to Him–except maybe now we go to church service more often.
But do we even do that to please Him or because we just feel good when we go, i.e., it pleases us. Christians aren’t supposed to behave like the world, to copy their patterns which can often be boiled down to: do what makes you happy, and to hell with everyone else.
If others’ desires and plans don’t align with making them happy, those people just need to be disposed of (or have their reputation ripped to shreds and be sued royally and then suffer with their family in poverty and hopefully die fast, but I digress).
As children of God, the Father of Jesus Christ, we’re actually supposed to first think of ways to please/make Him happy. It’s totally counter to our selfish, sinful nature, I know.
But one way you can really gage if you’re becoming more and more like Jesus is how much you desire to live to please the Father. Jesus was all about pleasing His Father. He listened to God on a regular basis by getting alone with Him in prayer early each morning and in the evening; He knew God’s word perfectly and He obeyed His Father’s commands.
Are you doing that?
If you don’t at all, or just rarely think of ways to please the one who died for you and gave up everything for you, then ask yourself why that is?
Now, I’m not saying to seek to please God so you can earn heaven, or seem like a goodie-two-shoe in front of others. It should just be a genuine desire birthed and fueled by a growing love and appreciation for Jesus and all He’s done for you. Period. No strings attached. Just pure love.
And when you get to that place, you’re not perfect, but your heart is truly pure, and then you’ll begin experiencing this promise like never before:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see [experience] God.”-Matthew 5:8 NKJV
Almost everyone annoys you. Your patience is like 0.2%. Regular happiness is a distant memory. I’ve battled this and I still have my bouts with this, but when I remember the truths I’m about to share with you, sisters, I’m able to break through this bulwark before it becomes a vicious cycle.
As Christians, if we think we’re entitled to a bad attitude because we have bad health, we’re gravely mistaken.
“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”-Philippians 11-14
Whether it be sleep deprivation (which is me every day), physical ailment (I’ve got chronic neck pain; haven’t been to the chiropractor in over three months) or weakness, we cannot allow our emotional state to remain in a place of anger and a funky attitude because, in essence, that’s bitterness, beloved. And the Bible warns:
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. “-Hebrews 14:14-15
An unchecked bad attitude and bitterness is what begins the erosion of our closest relationships; this is especially true in marriages. If we believe the lie that because we are sick, or weak, or tired continually that we then have the license and permission to be mean, joyless, and emotionally unstable, damaging and hurting those around us because we’re suffering, we are not practicing love, but selfishness. Too many are hurting others because they’re hurting and as Christians, this is point blank unacceptable.
I’m not talking about having a bad day. I’m talking about when your bad day turns into bad weeks and months and years. You’re allowed to be human and experience discouragement and anger. It’s when you let anger give the devil a foothold over your life and remain in that state of being for lengthy periods of time that you’re now being destructive to yourself and others.
Let’s pray for one another and bear one another’s burdens, and not allow our physical weaknesses to cause us to be in a perpetual state of bitterness that abuses those around us. Let us choose to love no matter what state we’re in physically, and when it’s hard to do that, instead of justifying our bad attitudes, let’s confess to one another and humbly ask for prayer. A bad attitude ignored or justified is like radioactive gas to those around us; it’s toxic and destructive. Christians can live in victory, so let’s not accept continually defeated mindsets for if we allow ourselves to be beat down, then we’re useless to help lift others up.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.-1 Corinthians 13:4-7