Continuing the Modesty Conversation

Good morning, readers! I’m bringing up modesty again, whether you’re ready for it or not. ūüėČ

Colossians 3:1-3

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

If you’ve not read my previous two posts on this topic, Beautifully Modest and Look at My Heart, I would love for you to check them out and give me your thoughts.

So, thoughts on modesty have been invading my head lately. I’ve come across heartfelt Youtube videos on it, and it’s just been on my heart and mind. Not in a heavy, scary way. But, perhaps, in an “I-want-to-do-better” way.

I want to be more intentional about walking by the Spirit in this area. I usually try to be very intentional about what movies I watch, books I read, songs I listen to … especially if people are looking to my example … like, is this honoring to God? Is it edifying to others who see me? To my own walk? Am I representing my God well?

Romans 8:12-14

12¬†Therefore, brethren, we are debtors‚ÄĒnot to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.¬†13¬†For¬†if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you¬†put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.¬†14¬†For¬†as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

I have always been naturally more modest. And I had to come to a place of realizing my freedom in Christ and that I am not personally responsible for men’s sin. They make their choices. I don’t have to walk around always fearful that I might make someone sin because I wore the “wrong” thing.

However, it occurred to me that I could be more intentional in this area, just as I am striving to be in every other area of my life.

Not in a fearful way. Not in a legalistic way. How about in an intentionally loving my brothers and sisters in Christ way? Intentionally serving them? Intentionally sacrificing my own wants and selfish desires for them? Intentionally striving to represent my holy King well?

1 Timothy 5:1-2

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Isn’t this what Jesus Christ did? Made Himself a servant for us?

John 13:3-5

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

Yes, girls.  Yes, do this for your brothers. Do it for Christ first, but also dress modestly for men. There is nothing weak about humbling yourself and sacrificing your wants for the sake of another.

Why do I think that I haven’t been intentional? Well, there are times that I put on an outfit and feel a slight hesitation in my spirit. But I brush it off because:

I’m not wearing a bikini. Check.

I’m not wearing leggings as pants. Check.

I’m not revealing any cleavage. Check.

I’m not showing my midriff. Check.

Right? I’m good. So I ignore the check in my spirit and go on with my day. But maybe it was the Holy Spirit? Maybe I should have gone to a trusted man and asked his opinion. Is this something that you believe, as a man who understands men’s brains, would cause my brothers in Christ to stumble?

Galatians 5:16-18

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

I have worn things that I later looked back and thought: Would I have worn that if a bunch of young men who I cared about were coming to my house? Would I feel upset if a woman wore a similar outfit in front of my brothers or future husband?

I don’t want to be the woman who’s causing boys to stumble and men to struggle.

I don’t want to pass by my future husband on the street one day and him have to bounce his eyes.

But the thing is, I’m not a man and I truly can’t fully understand the male brain.

What amount of tightness is the “too tight” that causes that initial reaction which could lead to sin if not fought against?

What amount of skin?

What parts of the body? Are sleeveless shirts and shorts a couple of inches above the knee no problem? If a girl wears a somewhat low-cut shirt but shows no cleavage, is that just fine?

I think Christian men and women need to come together and seek God on this matter.

Colossians 3:12-17

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Because perhaps not too many years ago, all the blame for a man’s lust was put on women. Her body was oversexualized. She was seen as more an object and temptation than human and soul.

This scarred women deeply.

And it was not right. Boys need to be taught that they are fully responsible for their thoughts and actions. Their lust and their sin. They need to be taught how to view a woman and how to value, honor, and protect her. They should learn practical tips like bouncing their eyes, taking every thought captive, and meditating on Scripture when unable to avoid scantily-clad women.

But, to the same measure, girls need to be taught their responsibility. That their body is a temple of God and their sexuality is sacred and private. That dressing in a “sexy” way – in a way that is showing some nakedness – will¬† automatically cause a struggle for boys and men. Because God (did you catch that? God.) created men to desire a woman’s body. This He created for the beautiful, sacred, private sexual relationship between a husband and wife.

Thus, women should dress in a way that does not trigger those desires made for within the bonds of marriage alone.

We can dress beautifully. Cute. Fashionably. Trendy. We can have our own, individual style.

But not sensual. Not sexy. Not in a way that draws overwhelming attention to our curves. That shows off private parts or leads the eyes toward private parts.

Wear colors that make your eyes pop and your face glow; that compliment your hair color. Wear styles that show you’re a beautiful, feminine woman, but don’t cling to your body to show every curve and line.

1 Peter 3:1-4

Wives, likewise,¬†be¬†submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word,¬†they, without a word, may¬†be won by the conduct of their wives,¬†2¬†when they observe your chaste conduct¬†accompanied¬†by fear.¬†3¬†Do not let your adornment be¬†merely¬†outward‚ÄĒarranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on¬†fine¬†apparel‚ÄĒ¬†4¬†rather¬†let it be¬†the hidden person of the heart, with the¬†incorruptible¬†beauty¬†of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

So, these are some helpful tips. But I still deeply wish I could study this topic with other Christian women. But I can’t hardly.

Hebrews 10:24

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

Do you know why?

Because women refuse to talk about it or acknowledge there’s a problem.

It seems, after being hurt, scarred, and stripped of their innate worth to be made merely an object of temptation or to be played with, women hardened their hearts.

I say this with all seriousness.

The Bible talks about modesty, and purity, and humility, and your body not being your own, and not being a stumbling block for your family in Christ.

But the Church doesn’t want to talk about it. Christian women don’t want to talk about it. They ignore it. They get massively defensive. They get angry. They say things like: “I can wear whatever I want.” “It’s the man’s problem, not mine.” “Don’t tell me what to wear; it’s my body!” “Get your mind out of the gutter.”

Women viciously attack any man or woman who would dare tell them what to do.

She flies in the face of her husband when he brings up modesty and concerns about her manner of dress, and then gets upset when he admits how hard it is to be out and about when women are dressed immodestly.

Why do you have to be like that?

Because God made me this way.

Women, do you hear the plea in these unspoken words from the men in your life?

No, God did not create man to sin. To objectify you in his mind. To lust after you. To use your body for his gain.

But He did create him to be attracted to and desire a woman’s body. For within the confines of marriage.

Yet when we women are dressing in a way that shows off our bodies and nakedness that should only be seen within a marriage covenant, temptations naturally arise for men.

Think about your temptations. How would you feel if your brothers in Christ shoved them in your face? Or brushed off your concerns and asking for help?

1 Thessalonians 5:11

11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another,

In this culture, the truth is:

Women have made themselves their own god.

You can’t tell me what to wear.

You’re the sinner. It’s your issue.

I don’t care about your struggle.

It’s my body.

I can wear whatever I want.

No man is going to tell me what to do.

Those phrases should grieve your heart, Christian women. Look at them. Hear them spoken in your head. Line them up against the Word of God.

Does that sound like a woman of God?

No.

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

1 John 4:20-21

20¬†If someone says, ‚ÄúI love God,‚ÄĚ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen,¬†how can he love God¬†whom he has not seen?¬†21¬†And¬†this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God¬†must¬†love his brother also.

Proverbs 15:5

5 A fool despises his father’s instruction,
But he who receives correction is prudent.

Woman, you were never meant to be trampled on. Beat down. Objectified. Oversexualized. Abused. Hurt. Treated less than men.

But this that you have turned to, it is no solution.

Dressing half-naked. Being sensual. Flaunting your body to every boy and man you walk by. Enjoying this power it gives you over men. Baring yourself in public while nursing a baby because it’s your body and it’s natural. Celebrating other women who flaunt their nakedness in public. Blaming all the sin, putting all the fault on men.

Don’t you see? This is worship of yourself and your body.

You’re putting yourself and your wants and your freedom before everything else. You plow over everyone else and disregard their struggles and hurts because it’s your body and it’s natural and you’re a woman!

Like women are gods who can do whatever they want.

Philippians 2:3-4

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

1 Corinthians 10:23-24

23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

You’re getting angry at brothers in Christ (and sisters) who try to rebuke in love or bring up sensitive topics. You’re trying to be independent of men. You’re not respecting or honoring any men – because you’re a woman and they can’t tell you what to do. You’re refusing to submit to men – to your husband.

Do you know what God created marriage to be a picture of? Christ and the Church.

Ephesians 5:22-33

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25¬†Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and¬†gave Himself for her,¬†26¬†that He might¬†sanctify and cleanse her¬†with the washing of water¬†by the word,¬†27¬†that He might present her to Himself a glorious church,¬†not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.¬†28¬†So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.¬†29¬†For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord¬†does¬†the church.¬†30¬†For¬†we are members of His body,¬†of His flesh and of His bones.¬†31¬†‚ÄúFor this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the¬†two shall become one flesh.‚Ä̬†32¬†This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.¬†33¬†Nevertheless¬†let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife¬†see¬†that she¬†respects¬†her¬†husband.

When you have this pride, this angry independence, this bitterness, this self-focus, this arrogance, this refusal to submit – do you know who you’re really refusing to submit to?

God.

Feel the heaviness of that.

Women, we have been blinded.

When we go sauntering around like: I don’t have to submit to no man and no one can tell me what to do or wear. It’s my life and my body!

Then we are not following Christ. We have made ourselves independent of God. We are not submitting to Him and we are not loving Him.

Ephesians 4:1-3

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

This is grievous.

Truly heart-wrenching.

It’s time to repent, women.

Ephesians 4:30-32

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 25:40

40¬†And the King will answer and say to them, ‚ÄėAssuredly, I say to you,¬†inasmuch as you did¬†it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did¬†it¬†to Me.‚Äô

I’m not saying that you haven’t been hurt. I’m not saying it’s easy to sacrifice your wants for others. I’m not saying that your husband is easy to submit to. But you chose him.

And you can’t pick and choose what to believe and what to follow from the Bible. That’s not a true follower of Christ.

God says: women, submit. (As the Church is supposed to willingly submit to Christ because He is her head and has saved her and given up His life for her.)

God says: Be pure. Be holy. Dress decently. Don’t cause your brother to stumble.

Does the way you dress make you feel pure and holy? Does it cause anyone to stumble?

Romans 14:12-13 & 21

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

God says: love.

1 John 3:16

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Romans 12:9-11

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

When did we decide it’s alright to ignore, deride, and trample on men (and people in general) to elevate ourselves?

When did we decide that no matter the harm it may cause someone else, we can wear and do what we want because it’s our body?

Well, I have news. It is not your body. Your body belongs to God. He bought it with His blood. Have you ever bought something with your blood?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

And, if you are married, your body belongs to your husband.

1 Corinthians 7:4

4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

Just as his belongs to you. So if he comes to you with concerns about what you’re wearing or how you’re presenting yourself, LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. Just give him the respect, honor, and love he should have as God’s adopted son. Or, even if he’s not a Christian, he’s still a human created in God’s image and you should respect him.

1 Peter 2:17

17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Women, if a man comes to you with a concern, like: Hey, what you were wearing the other day was really a stumbling block for me. I had to keep looking away and it made it difficult to be normal and comfortable talking and hanging out with you because I was constantly fighting in my mind to keep myself from sin – to honor you and to honor God.

Listen to him. Don’t get all defensive and angry. Here’s a man who is striving to serve and glorify God. To fight his sin nature. To honor and respect you.

Listen to him and pray earnestly about it.

1 John 2:9-11

9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

And men, I would insert here, be very careful about having these conversations. If you’re going up to one specific girl, be sure you consider what your relationship is with her, and where her own walk with the Lord is. Pray a lot about it.

But don’t be afraid to be real and honest with women in general. We want to know what men have to say about this topic. I’ve watched some Youtube videos from men that weren’t condemning, but really helped me to understand more how it is for men and what I can do to pursue purity with them.

To love them.

Because, we are called to love our brethren. To think of them before ourselves. To humble ourselves. To sacrifice our own liberties if it causes a brother to stumble.

Romans 13:10

10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

We are not our own. But the life we live, we live for Christ.

Colossians 1:17

All things were created through Him and for Him.

So we need to stop living for ourselves and our pleasure, and start living for our God and our beloved sisters and brothers in Christ.

Colossians 1:9-10

9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

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Why Did God … ?

Why?

If God always knew that Lucifer would rebel, and mankind would choose sin, and darkness would rage over the earth … then why? Why even create Lucifer? Why create the world? Why designate His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the price that had to be paid because of sin?

Why even bother? How does this make sense? Why set this plan into motion in the first place and work it out like it does?

This discussion was brought up in my Sunday school class. I’ve asked myself the same questions many times before.

I can’t wrap my mind around it, God. Why would a loving, merciful Creator create all the while knowing His angels and His people were destined for darkness? His own Son for pain and suffering?

It occurred to me that maybe it was because of us.

If God hadn’t set this all into motion, then I wouldn’t exist.

Or, maybe I would exist but I would have no free will.

No knowledge of good and evil.

No choice to choose Jesus Christ.

No realization that I was chosen despite the high cost.

If God destroyed Satan as soon as he rebelled, if He created mankind so that they would only choose Him, then we wouldn’t have the kind of indescribable love relationship that is available to us now.

1 John 3:1

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

John 15:9-10

9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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.

John 13:34-35

34¬†A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.¬†35¬†By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.‚ÄĚ

We wouldn’t know what sin and darkness, pain and suffering are, and so we perhaps wouldn’t know the richness of His grace, goodness, light, and love.

I ask: God, why did You create us when you knew we were going to sin?

Then I ask: Shantelle, would you rather not exist at all? Would you rather not have had the chance to live, to experience joy, to love? To know a Savior who loves you more than anyone else possible could and will never let you down?

I think I would rather feel everything than nothing at all.

If you never felt pain and loss, then perhaps you would never feel real, rich, abiding, abundant LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

If you never had free will, then you wouldn’t know the awesome reality of FREEDOM when you are released from your chains.

Without darkness, we would not know LIGHT.

Without sin, without Jesus Christ going to the cross, I would not have been able to choose the relationship that God offers exclusively to mankind.

1 Peter 1:10-12 & 22

10¬†Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace¬†that would come¬†to you,¬†11¬†searching what, or what manner of time,¬†the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.¬†12¬†To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to¬†us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven‚ÄĒthings which¬†angels desire to look into.

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

Maybe God has this plan, set this all into motion, allowed sin and darkness, because He wanted us. For His glory and our good. And He wanted us to be able to CHOOSE HIM, and know this incredibly sweet love and communion that perhaps we could not have felt otherwise.

Isaiah 40:11

11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.

Psalm 63:1, 3-5 

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

Zephaniah 3:17

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.‚ÄĚ

1 John 4:7-11

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Despite the war that would start between good and evil; despite the darkness and wickedness that would prowl over the earth; despite the pain His own beloved people would suffer; despite the people who would reject Him even though He offered them everything … Jesus Christ willingly endured it all and became the sacrifice because He wanted us who He knew would say “yes” when He opened His arms.

I mean, Jesus Christ died! God’s own Son. If someone gives up their one, beloved Son for you when you don’t care anything for them, you know they love you.

Romans 5:6-10

6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Without all this, I wouldn’t know I am deeply loved by Someone who would never fail me.

People fail me. Leave me. Hurt me. They say they love me, but I can never lean on them fully.

But I can lean on God fully. I can run, unreservedly, to His arms and know He will welcome me there.

John 8:7-12

7¬†So when they continued asking Him, He¬†raised Himself up and said to them,¬†‚ÄúHe who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.‚Ä̬†8¬†And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.¬†9¬†Then those who heard¬†it,¬†being¬†convicted by¬†their¬†conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest¬†even¬†to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.¬†10¬†When Jesus had raised Himself up¬†and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,¬†‚ÄúWoman, where are those accusers¬†of yours? Has no one condemned you?‚ÄĚ

11¬†She said, ‚ÄúNo one, Lord.‚ÄĚ

And Jesus said to her,¬†‚ÄúNeither do I condemn you; go¬†and¬†sin no more.‚ÄĚ

12¬†Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying,¬†‚ÄúI am the light of the world. He who¬†follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.‚ÄĚ

Matthew 9:20-22

20¬†And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and¬†touched the hem of His garment.¬†21¬†For she said to herself, ‚ÄúIf only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.‚Ä̬†22¬†But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said,¬†‚ÄúBe of good cheer, daughter;¬†your faith has made you well.‚Ä̬†And the woman was made well from that hour.

Because He chose to create me knowing I, like all of the human race, WOULD CHOSE DARKNESS.

And He went willingly to His death knowing eventually I WOULD ACCEPT HIS GIFT.

And He wanted me. He pursued me. He had a plan for me to be His before the creation of the world.

Luke 15:4-7

4¬†‚ÄúWhat man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?¬†5¬†And when he has found¬†it,¬†he lays¬†it¬†on his shoulders, rejoicing.¬†6¬†And when he comes home, he calls together¬†his¬†friends and neighbors, saying to them,¬†‚ÄėRejoice with me, for I have found my sheep¬†which was lost!‚Äô¬†7¬†I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents

He gave me a chance to experience a radical, incomparable, unconditional, eternal love relationship with Him.

And all I can do is accept it and thank Him and give my heart and soul to Him.

Because He chose ME despite the cost.

He set it all into motion and endures all the darkness and rejection and willingly goes through the pain because He wants those of us who He knew would accept His gift when He pursued us.

2 Peter 3:9

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

So, I think He did it all because He wanted us who He knew would trust in Jesus Christ and come to live forever with Him. He wanted us to experience a love that is impossible to know otherwise. He wanted us to be part of His family. He wanted us to experience beautiful relationships with each other here on earth, and when we go to our eternal home!

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Praise the Lord, what a marvelous gift He has bestowed on us! May we live all for His glory. May we rest in His all-encompassing love. May we praise Him forevermore.

Psalm 36:5-6

5 Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.

Deuteronomy 7:9

9 “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

Rejoice in Your Salvation

For those of us who grew up in Christian homes, it can sometimes be hard to discern when we became a Christian. And that can cause anxiety at times. It has in my life over the years. So I wanted to talk about that today.

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My parents grew up in an Apostolic Lutheran church. This is how life looked, I think … Nearly every relative went to church. When babies were born, they were soon after baptized. Then, as teenagers, confirmed. And just treated as fellow believers after that.

(Most of my relatives and friends go to this denomination church, so I just want to say I’m not trying to pick on them. I’m just making an observation. And I’ve seen other denomination churches with this same problem … or the opposite problem. No church is perfect. But I just want to address this particular issue.)

People growing up in church are just accepting the label “Christian” because … they grew up in church. Everyone goes about assuming they’re a Christian.

In Baptist or Evangelical Free churches, I think there can be the same issue, but it just manifests itself in a different way. Parents telling they’re children they’re not saved and constantly pushing them to say the sinner’s prayer and get saved. So some children say this prayer or get baptized without realizing what they’re doing, or actually trusting in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

When I was eight or nine (probably around the same time I started reading my Bible) I remember questioning this in my heart. Did growing up in a Christian home/in church make me a Christian? Was I really a Christian? I remembering praying the sinner’s prayer over and over again in a type of desperation.

And I struggled.

Because all these people would say they were Christians. But did they believe they were because they sincerely accepted Jesus Christ, or because their parents told them they were?

I’m not saying that you should tell your children they aren’t saved.

But I don’t know that you should tell them they are, either. How do you know what is going on in their heart?

Being a Christian is not about an assumption based on your church-going habit or your parent’s faith. It’s not about reciting some certain words.

Colossians 2:8 & 23

8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Being a Christian is about being a Christ-follower. About a personal decision on your part to follow Jesus Christ, trusting that He is the Son of God and He did, indeed, pay the price for your sin by His shed blood on the cross. It’s about accepting the gift of life that He offers freely.

Being a Christian is about turning from your sin, your old life, and turning to God. Following Him.

John 14:15-18

15¬†‚ÄúIf you love Me,¬†keep My commandments.¬†16¬†And I will pray the Father, and¬†He will give you another¬†Helper, that He may abide with you forever‚ÄĒ¬†17¬†the Spirit of truth,¬†whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you¬†and will be in you.¬†18¬†I will not leave you orphans;¬†I will come to you.

John 10:27-30

27¬†My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.¬†28¬†And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.¬†29¬†My Father,¬†who has given¬†them¬†to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch¬†them¬†out of My Father‚Äôs hand.¬†30¬†I and¬†My¬†Father are one.‚ÄĚ

Galatians 5:16

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

How do you follow Him? Read His Word – it will tell you! Talk to Him. Be in relationship with Him.

Being a Christian is not a religious choice. It is a relationship with your Creator.

If you sometimes question whether or not you are truly saved, don’t be afraid, dear friend.

Remember that Satan is a deceiver and the father of lies. He would like nothing more than to see you beat down and destroyed.

But God loves you. And He will not leave you like you are.

Turn from the darkness that taunts and run straight to Jesus.

(It’s possible. I have learned to do this often. And the peace that comes is real and beautiful.)

And just ask Him. Ask Him to assure your heart that you’re His.

If you believe in Him and trust Him as your personal Savior, then you are His.

John 3:15-17

15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them,

If you’ve never asked Him to be your Savior, then simply ask!

It’s okay to feel lost.

Luke 19:10

10¬†for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.‚ÄĚ

If you’ve always believed in God through your childhood up until now, but never stepped into a relationship with Him, just call on His Name.

Acts 2:21

21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

Acts 4:10-12

10¬†let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel,¬†that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified,¬†whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.¬†11¬†This is the¬†‚Äėstone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.‚Äô¬†12¬†Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.‚ÄĚ

He is near.

His gift is FREE.

All you have to do is come before Him and accept Him into your life.

If you are afraid and just aren’t sure of your salvation, bring that fear to Him. Tell Him about it. He can handle it. He wants to hear from your heart. He’s ready to speak truth to you.

JESUS PAID THE PRICE.

On the cross, He said, “It is finished.” Now all that remains is for us to come to Him in response.

1 John 3:23

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

Just talk to Him.

God, help me to stop living for myself, and start truly following You. I want You to be the Lord of my life.

Jesus, I know that I believe in You and trust in You as my Savior. Help me to rest in that. Rest in You. In the work you’ve already finished.

Lord, maybe I have put my trust in my parent’s faith. Or my good deeds. Or my growing up in church. Or my baptism. Help me to take my trust out of that and put it in You, Jesus Christ. Because You are my salvation!

God, I grew up in church. I still go to church. I’ve believed that You’re real and You’re God. But I realize I haven’t put off the old self. I haven’t become new. I’ve been living for myself. I’ve been living in sin. I’ve been ignoring You. I see that I have no real relationship with You. But I want to! Be my Lord and my Savior, I pray.

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

***

A lot of pastors and such say there needs to be a time in your life where you made a decision to follow Christ. And I believe the Bible backs this idea up. No one is born a Christian or automatically a Christian because their family is. I don’t find anything in the Bible that supports that.

Romans 10:9-13

9¬†that¬†if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.¬†10¬†For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.¬†11¬†For the Scripture says,¬†‚ÄúWhoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.‚Ä̬†12¬†For¬†there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for¬†the same Lord over all¬†is rich to all who call upon Him.¬†13¬†For¬†‚Äúwhoever calls¬†on the name of the¬†Lord¬†shall be saved.‚ÄĚ

I grew up in a Christian home. As far back as I can remember, I believe in Jesus. I don’t remember a specific day that I made a decision to follow Christ. But I know that there was a time – or a process – where I made that decision. My journey of faith has been a long and messy one, it seems, fraught with struggles, doubt, and fears.

There were seasons of excitement and passion for God. And there were seasons of my crying out: Why can’t I just feel one-hundred percent assured of my salvation?

I think that this is right where the devil wants us to be. Doubting our salvation. It’s a real struggle for the Christian, I think.

But don’t give in to him. He isn’t the victor. Jesus Christ is. And so are you, in Christ.

To be honest, the end of last year/beginning of this year was another turning point for me. It was one of the first times I can remember feeling so confident in my salvation.

It was when I laid everything down. Surrendered. Stopped trying to be good enough and do enough and get everything perfect.

And said: IT’S ALL YOU, JESUS.

1 John 5:12

12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Acknowledged fully that He loved me and died for me while I was still a sinner and didn’t even want Him.

And He loved me in that moment of acknowledgement, when I was strangled in anxiety, depressed, hopeless, not reading my Bible enough, and not doing much of anything for anyone.

He loved me.

He loves me.

I am His precious daughter and it’s nothing that I did … it’s all simply because He wants me. And He paid the price for me.

2 Timothy 1:9

9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 

And, even through the mixed-up, crazy struggles, I’ve been saying “yes” in response to His pursuit.

Yes. I want You, Jesus.

Yes. I will trust You, God.

Yes. I will follow You, Lord.

Help me.

And He does.

So run to Him, child. You think He doesn’t wan to reach down and tenderly draw you to Him?

He wants your heart.

So just give it to Him and trust Him with the rest.

Rejoice in your salvation. Jesus Christ paid it all. All you have to do is say “yes”.

Philippians 3:20

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 2:4-10

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Things I Appreciate About Singleness + Thoughts on the Desire of My Heart

Hello! I’m back with another post at last. Friends, it’s hard to keep up a blog schedule without having my own laptop, but I’ll attempt to do better! …Because I have so many things on my heart and thoughts running through my head that I just want to share with you all! *hugs*

So let’s talk a little bit about singleness … and marriage(!) … today.

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BENEFITS OF SINGLENESS:

  • Time to Grow Closer to God

Not that I’m planning to¬†not¬†put my relationship with the Lord first when I’m married, have children, etc., but I think singleness provides me with extra time to pursue wisdom and intimacy in my walk with Jesus Christ. For example, when all my friends are hanging out with their boyfriends/husbands on a Friday night, when they’re busy with their little babies, when I feel alone in a crowd because everyone else has their special someone … I can start a quiet conversation with God right then and there and talk about how I’m feeling. Or anything. It’s a beautiful thing to have someone who belongs to you and you to them in this life, but when you’re in a season of singleness and often find yourself alone it’s the perfect chance to realize God’s constant, powerful, tender Presence. And are not quality time and conversation how you grow closer to someone? He’s always there for me. I really think singleness has helped me become more acutely aware of that. I find myself talking to the Lord all throughout the day. I can always go to the Lover of my Soul – my Father in heaven. And that is a rich truth that perhaps many people never realize because they never allow themselves to be lonely on this earth.

  • Opportunity to Develop Close Friendships with Other Women

I have loved seeing how, as I surrender this single season to God, He brings lovely women into my life, and reminds me what a blessing the opportunity to get to know them while I’m still single is! I am a very relational person, and it has occurred to me that my loneliness probably won’t go away once I get married. No, I’m still going to need other people in my life – particularly close female friends who I can trust. If I never make an effort to develop friendships with other women while I’m single, I may find myself lonely for an even longer time in marriage. I imagine as a newlywed you’re busy learning how to be a wife and wanting to spend every spare moment with your husband … and maybe it’s even harder to make the effort to find friends. Even when you really need them! So I think these friendships I’m growing in now as I’m single will be invaluable to me someday when I’m married, learning to be a wife, and realizing for real that my husband can’t be my everything and fulfill every relational and emotional need. And, I mean, he’ll probably have to be gone several hours a day, working. *laughs* ūüėČ Anyway, yes. I meet other women – making new friends and reconnecting with old ones – and I can’t help but wonder if I would have made an effort to get to know these beautiful individuals better if I was dating right now. Maybe I’d be too busy hanging out with him, getting to know him, talking on the phone with him, thinking about him, etc., etc. Those are all good things in God’s good timing. *winks* But right now God has put dear women in my life that hopefully I can pour into and grow close to.

  • Opportunity to Encourage Other People in a Season of Singleness

Tying right into the last point, I was struck by how particularly wonderful it is to be friends with other single women. I love my married girlfriends and girlfriends who are in relationships dearly, but being friends with other singles gives us a chance to connect with and encourage each other in a unique way. I remember meeting with a new friend the beginning of this year and just feeling a thankfulness that I wasn’t dating right then! She was struggling and I was struggling and we had the chance to speak right to each other’s hearts … to share deeply and know that the other understood. Now, married girls can understand as well! After all, they were single once, too. But it’s different to be experiencing a season together with a sister in Christ. Maybe God still has me in this season of singleness because He wants me to be there for some of His other single daughters. Yes, Lord! Use me to touch Your precious daughters’ lives. And I know I am so blessed in the process as they touch mine.

  • More Quality Time with Siblings and Parents

If I had gotten married even a couple of years ago, I would not be near as close to my siblings as I am now. Is it hard, sometimes, as a twenty-one-year-old woman to live with my parents and six younger siblings still? Yes. I won’t lie. But at the same time, I cherish their close presence in my life and the unwavering, loyal relationships we have forged – especially in recent years. We may have a hard time understanding each other at times, but I truly count them as friends and they are some of my biggest supporters. They have my back, and I have theirs. I’m sure I can’t describe how deep my love is for each of them, and I wouldn’t wish away the time I’ve had with them. My older brother moved away a couple years ago and there is an empty place in the household. I miss him and him being here at home! Yes, life moves on and people start lives of their own, but it reminds you to cherish the time you do have living together!

  • Choice to Live Where I Want

You know, if I get married, it’s possible that my husband will move me away from my family at some point. It would be okay, though hard; but right now I’m happy that I have the choice to settle near the people who I’ve been with my entire life.

  • Freedom to Do What I Want with My Extra Time

I can devote all my free time to writing, reading, blogging, and pursuing other passions, ideas, and hobbies. I can decide to go on vacation here or there to visit friends without worrying about my husband’s input. I can spend however much money I feel is appropriate on books … hehe. ūüėČ *laughs* I live with my parents and siblings, but for the most part I can do what I want with my free time without having to get someone’s opinion or confer with someone else’s schedule. I can go shopping. Randomly go relax and write at a coffee shop for a few hours. Go to Chick-fil-A and book shopping. Watch a girly movie. Really anything I feel like on a week night or weekend without worrying about my husband or small children. If I had a husband I might rather do something with him. Or he might want to have a quiet evening with me after a long day at work, and I would want to give that to him. Or he might feel we should visit someone or do this or that … None bad things! But I have to remind myself to be thankful for the opportunities more unique to this season! ūüôā

***

As important as it is to pursue gratitude in the season you’re in, there’s also nothing wrong with desiring and hoping for marriage, I believe! And being excited! So … here’s my second list. Just for fun. ūüėČ

THINGS I’M EXCITED ABOUT IN MARRIAGE:

  • Having a Best Friend

Someone to do life with. To share all the moments – good and bad – with. To laugh with.¬† Having someone who loves me despite my imperfection. Someone who understands me heart and soul …

  • Someone to Pursue God with

Having a true best friend means, in my case, having a forever partner in this life who I can serve and glorify our King with! I can’t wait to seek the Lord together with my husband. To do ministry together. To love people together. To answer God’s callings as a team. To combine passions and dreams and encourage each other to live life for His honor. I’m so excited. My deepest desire is for Jesus, and to share that desire with the man I’m supposed to be one with sounds powerful.

  • Reading the Bible Together!

Studying God’s Word. Discussing Scripture. I can’t wait to talk for hours and hours about our awesome God with my husband. Have someone to go to with my questions. I know he won’t always have answers, but just having someone you know you can be so vulnerable with … Going to church with my man! Committing to and connecting with a church and having that community of brothers and sisters in Christ with my own little family.

  • Praying Together

I’m a little self-conscious about praying aloud, but I believe in the power and beauty of prayer and can’t wait to pursue a deep prayer life with my husband. Baring our hearts and souls before God as one.

  • Belonging to Someone

Having someone who I belong exclusively to sounds lovely. Just being able to walk into a room, go straight to his side and feel safe and at home. *beams*

  • Leadership

Having a leader. Being his helpmeet. Being his missus. I think God’s design for marriage is so BEAUTIFUL and POWERFUL and I’m excited about the chance to grow into a godly wife and be a support and joy to one of God’s sons. Having the purpose of that!

  • Someone I can Hug whenever I want ūüėÄ

I’ve talked with several different ladies about how women often crave affection from the men in their life. When a trusted man gives a big bear hug, there’s something about that that makes us feel so secure and protected and cherished. It’s a special thing. But at the same time there are certain boundaries and barriers and brokenness in certain situations … so I look forward to having my own guy who I can get hugs from a lot. ūüôā

  • Taking Care of My own Household

Cleaning and organizing how I want. Cooking for my husband. Hosting. Being a stay-at-home-Mommy. #enoughsaid

  • Having Someone Who will Listen to My Endless Chatter

Okay, maybe he won’t love listening to me talk for hours – but let me dream while I’m still single. *laughs* But truly, I look forward to having my own someone who I can talk to each day.

  • My Wedding Day

I am really looking forward to my wedding day, I must admit. ūüėČ Sharing a very wonderful life event with my dearest family and friends … celebrating together the joining of my life to some special man that God chose for me. Ah. I love family and laughter and fellowship … and weddings are such joyful, intimate affairs. I’m excited for that if it be in my future. ūüôā

***

I’m coming to a place of accepting the season I’m in and desiring God’s will and to glorify Him above all else.

But I will admit that my heart aches oh so much as I write this. It’s not exactly a bad ache. It just tells me how very much I desire this.

I think that desire maybe reflects something bigger. Like a deeper hidden desire in my soul that longs for God and to be home with Him.

In the end, I was created for Jesus.

So my desire for marriage teaches me something. If I let it, it leads me to quiet reflection about the ultimate Lover of my soul. Everything points to Him.

If I get married someday, I hope earnestly that my marriage points to Him. ‚̧ This is something that I pray for.

Right now, I let myself ache if I need to and know that the Lord holds my heart.

I also know that if He has marriage in store for me, He knows the man I will one day marry! With a desire for marriage, I choose to bring my future husband before God in my prayers in faith that He knows my heart and will continue leading me.

So, future husband, I’m praying for you!

***

A little note of encouragement for the guys out there:

Your role as men, leaders, pursuers is incredibly powerful and important. You don’t know how much we appreciate it when you live out God’s design for your masculinity, your strength, etc. I don’t know that we, as women, have the words to describe how we feel when you purposefully pursue a woman, gently woo her, and tenderly cherish her heart. We see a glimpse of Jesus Christ when you are willing to go to all lengths to win her heart – to prove to her she’s loved by you. When you call her beautiful when she feels anything but.

Men, your role is amazingly special. And we deeply treasure what you do. It’s invaluable. Your masculinity. Your strength. Your leadership. Your protection. Don’t let the world tell you otherwise – it almost takes my breath away to see a man acting like a man and a woman acting like a woman, as God designed, displaying a beautiful relationship that reflects a beautiful Storyteller’s love for His creation.

I am not worthy of a good man’s love, but if a man stepped up and loved me and cared for me despite my faults, I know it would remind me of my Savior who gave it all for me and for you.

So, men, we appreciate you. We are grateful for the responsibility you take on as the head of a household. We appreciate the role that God created you for. We feel deeply honored if you choose to pursue in a godly way (even if a relationship doesn’t work out or even come to fruition in the end). The world tries to mess up gender roles and call masculinity toxic and distort God’s amazing design for men and women to be different, but WE WANT YOU TO BE MANLY MEN. When men act masculine, we feel feminine. And that’s just lovely. ūüôā

***

Anyway, before I ramble on forever, I’ll end this post. Please comment below and let me know your thoughts!

SINGLES, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT THIS SEASON?

MARRIED FOLK, WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING MARRIED?

Look at My Heart

With summer around the corner, I wanted to talk about modesty again. If you’re interested, read my last post on this topic: Beautifully Modest.

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Personally, I’ve always had a sense of modesty, and am pretty conservative in the way I dress (if we’re looking at the culture in general, that is.) The hem of my skirts and dresses usually fall at least to my knees. I wear knee-length shorts, or sometimes a few inches above the knee. I try to keep the necklines of my shirts fairly high to avoid gaping and such. And I generally avoid clothing that is too clingy or tight (though pants can be hard since the style these days is very fitted.) I don’t wear leggings as main bottoms, bikinis, etc.

So yes. When I look around and consider what most people wear, I feel pretty modest. And I usually feel comfortable with what I’m wearing and how I’m presenting myself.

Of course, there are still often times when I’m just not sure. Bathing suits? It’s so hard to figure out what’s actually modest when it comes to those. Is this shirt showing too much skin/have too small of straps for being out and about in town? What is actually showing too much skin? Is this dress too clingy?

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I believe the Bible very much promotes modesty – but it doesn’t exactly give us a manual.

The more I think on it, the more I believe that modesty and purity truly start in the heart. In your thoughts. In your private life, and inner dreams and desires.

When Jesus Christ is the desire of a woman’s heart and she is wholeheartedly seeking the Lord, I don’t think she needs to stress and panic about modesty.

Matthew 6:31-34

31¬†‚ÄúTherefore do not worry, saying, ‚ÄėWhat shall we eat?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we drink?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we wear?‚Äô¬†32¬†For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33¬†But¬†seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.¬†34¬†Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day¬†is¬†its own trouble.

Yes, certainly be informed. Humble. Wise. Have a teachable spirit.

But when we’re walking by the Spirit, we don’t have to be afraid and live in bondage. We can trust Him to lead us, guide us, mold us, convict us.

Maybe we’re getting too consumed with outward appearance and forgetting the inside.

A girl dressed in short shorts might have a more modest heart than the girl wearing a long, full skirt. Maybe the girl in the skirt is sticking to the rules, but she presents herself in a sensual, flirty way – her heart consumed with self and lust and all manner of worldly passions that she’s taken no care to root out.

It starts in the heart. A heart surrendered to Jesus Christ. And then He can began to work in us. To sanctify and perfect us. Maybe He will convict you about an attitude of the heart, or maybe about the scanty clothing you’re wearing that don’t rightly reflect Him and who you are as His daughter.

Don’t let this issue of modesty steal your joy and hope in Christ.

Modesty isn’t what makes us good, Christian women. Purity isn’t what makes us good, Christian women.

Christ is who makes us good, Christian women.

Romans 8:33-34

33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Modesty is a big, controversial subject. And, sometimes, a painful one.

I’ve talked with sisters and brothers in Christ about modesty and I truly appreciate those conversations. I would like to have more!

But I’ve also heard comments and been told things that are hurtful. Things that make me wonder …

Men, do you see me first as a child of God, or a temptation?

A sister in Christ, or an object?

Do you see me as a friend and care about my heart, or are you always stuck on what I’m wearing? If my dress is a tad too short or there’s maybe a little too much skin exposed somewhere?

Don’t you see my smile? My gesture of friendliness and welcome? The genuine joy I feel from hearing from you, my brother, my friend?

When men stress and go on about modesty, it can start to make me feel objectified. That I’m more a body than a soul.

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It’s one thing to thank a girl for dressing modestly and encourage her in that. A total different thing to make her feel condemned, afraid, and confused – like she’s responsible for your sin … And make her always fearful that she might be tempting you.

Not that I’m trying to undermine men’s struggles. I know that God created men to admire a woman’s body – a beautiful thing He created for within the covenant of marriage.

And I know that many, many women go around flaunting their bodies in a very sexual and sensual way. A way that doesn’t honor God, or cherish and respect what God designed for marriage alone.

Hebrews 13:4

4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

But, guys, please remember that there are also a lot of women out there who do desire to honor God, respect men, and present themselves in a beautiful, non-sensual way.

But it’s hard. Our culture, our clothing designers promote the sexy way of dress. And then there are so many opinions of what is modest! It’s hard to know what is actually supposed to be covered, and what is just a man-made rule that perhaps promotes rather than discourages the objectification of a woman’s body.

In my personal opinion, it seems like common sense to keep all the area from one’s chest to a good portion of one’s thighs covered – including the midriff! I’m not a fan of crop tops and such that give peeks at the stomach or show off the bellybutton. But shoulders, knees, a little bit of your upper back … it depends.

Different people have different convictions. People see modesty differently – no matter if we’re adamant that everything should be black and white. So we have to be careful with our rules and our words.

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I’ve had people say things about the way I dress that hurt me. Someone once said something I wore was a stupid choice on my part, more or less.

Yes, this dress showed a little more skin around my shoulders and upper back than I’d normally show, but it very well covered everything I’m firmly convicted about covering. And truthfully, when I wore it was one of the few times I felt like God’s princess. I was in a sorta-healing-but-still-struggling stage of life, and I just remember a peace about that evening – I simply believed it was God’s gift to me. It had been bathed in prayer and worked out when I thought it wouldn’t. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time … dress up in a pretty dress and go to a social event. I remember thinking often that night: Is God honored in this? In that? And I just had this peace that He was and I was okay.

Later, I thought: If Jesus had walked into that room that night, what would I have done?

Hid? Tried to cover up some more? Wait awkwardly in the shadows?

No, my heart said. I would shamelessly run into His arms, knowing He loved me. I was confident He wouldn’t measure how much shoulder or back was exposed, but He would see my heart and know my intentions were pure. He would just see me – His daughter, His sister, His servant, His friend, His beloved – and He would smile at me in the way that gives me my security.

Friends, as a woman, I freely admit that I want to look beautiful. But I truly don’t want to look sexy, sensual, or temptingly alluring. That I want to save for my husband alone.

So I try to be modest, and then just leave it in God’s hands – knowing that He sees my heart and it is His Spirit that leads me.

Galatians 5:16-18

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

And sometimes I do have to ask Him to create a clean heart within me! I’m not perfect, and all you women who struggle, know you are not alone.

Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

But know, first and foremost, that He loves you. And know He is faithful to create a clean heart within the surrendered woman.

Lady Grace ‚̧

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Summer Hiatus … ?

Well, dear readers, my laptop crashed. And died. So thus, no post was scheduled for today.

I may be going on an unexpected summer hiatus.

I have my Kindle Fire, which can be handy, but definitely not for blogging. And the family computer is not readily available to me. So … I will probably be able to do posts every now and then, but I may be on a summer break of sorts until I save up for another laptop.

Eek. This was unexpected.

But, God is good and He has a plan.

Thursday night I was praying, and trying not to freak out, and freaking out a little, and praying. Sick (hasn’t even been a month since I was last sick!). Laptop dying. Unlikely to get the job I was so hoping for. Feeling emotionally down.

But I kept telling myself that God had a plan. He’s taking care of me – maybe it’s all just looking different from His perspective. I can’t see why these certain things are happening. But there’s a reason, and I can trust Him.

Well, I got an email that night saying that I was hired! It was pretty unexpected. I’m supposed to start work on Monday! ‚̧ So, if you all would pray that I’m better by then, I would really appreciate it!

I have a sinus infection and allergies … maybe not a cold/flu at all. I was feeling pretty miserable, but I’ve been sleeping, drinking lots of water, and taking all kinds of natural remedies. I drank some Kombucha today and I’m actually feeling a lot better.

Just trusting the Lord with this. If He wants me to have this job, He will make it work. He is worthy of my trust. ūüôā

Tomorrow I go to Sunday school for the first time at the new church I’m going to! I’m pretty excited about that. Hoping to meet a bunch of people and make some friends at last!

Oh, and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY (almost) to all the mothers out there! God has given you a priceless job. Never doubt your worth. Know you are loved. Press into the Lord and love on those precious souls He’s given you.

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I’m so thankful for my dear, beautiful mom. ‚̧ So blessed. I can’t imagine life without her. She’s a unique and precious daughter of God!

Random note: I bought a lovely pink blouse ($1) and cute wedge heels ($3) at a yard sale today! Both appear to be about brand new. Happy about that.

Anyway, I must go! God’s blessings to you all!

TELL ME HOW LIFE HAS BEEN FOR YOU!

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT SUMMER?

Hey, Singles …

Ah, that dreaded word.

Singles.

Actually, it’s not all that bad. ūüėČ When I stop thinking about “single” as a label that defines me completely, I began to stop worrying, fussing about, and dreading hearing it.

Now, I still do sometimes have a problem with how some people treat unmarried people … “When are you going to get a boyfriend?” “Why aren’t you married yet?” “You’re being too fussy.” “Aw, you poor, lonely thing!” “You’re not making yourself available enough!” Like, how about encouraging us to thrive where God has us instead of making us feel incomplete, behind, or lacking (as we already tend to struggle with feeling like!)?

But that’s a whole different post.

I’m glad to say that I’ve been doing much better with accepting my place in life right now and learning to blossom. Last year around this time I was feeling really down and just wishing I could be married and having children like (almost) all of my friends and cousins were.

I feel like God has done a lot of work on my heart since then.

I still have a deep heart’s desire to be married one day.

But, I’m finding joy in other things that God has given me and actively pursuing life right now as an unmarried woman.

Today, I want to present a few points – things that are helping me get to this place of excitement and passion and contentment. I’m still a work-in-progress! But God is ever teaching me. Oh, how faithful He is. We just have to stay humble and pressing into Him and His goodness.

1) Don’t be Single, be in a Relationship with Jesus Christ

Friends, I know the loneliness can feel excruciating. Numbing. Depressing. Especially in some seasons of life where other negative things are going on as well. I can’t give a perfect solution to take the loneliness away. So here’s my advice:

Let your lonely heart drive you to Jesus.

Your loneliness, your broken heart, your confusion, your hopelessness, your unmet desires, your fear, your shattered dreams … instead of letting them crush you, let them push you toward God.

I know it’s hard. But open your hands. And surrender. Again, and again, and again.

As you grow closer to Christ, you’ll begin to realize that this is what you need. Him. A closeness with God. A dependency on Him. Hope and joy and peace in Him. Because this is the lasting stuff! These are the things that will never let you down or let you go. Because our God is faithful.

And He is love.

On those days when being single feels very hard and very solitary, guess what? God can meet you there. And He will, if you allow Him.

If you’re too busy surfing the web, checking Facebook for the hundredth time and stalking cute boys, watching movie after movie … anything to fill your loneliness … (anything but God, that is), then you’re going to miss His gentle, awesome Presence.

But if you aren’t desperately scrambling to fill the void of a boyfriend/husband, you’ll start to realize that God is always there beside you. Waiting to hear your voice. Your whisper. Your cry.

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He walks with you. And in the moments when you feel rejected or lonely or sad or just down, you can talk to Him and share your whole heart.

I love the idea that I can go to God with my feelings at any moment. Anywhere. I love that I am His and He is mine. I love that my life is one exciting, beautiful love story with Him.

Yes, sometimes the ache for a human companion and best friend is nearly tangible.

But God keeps reminding me that He is here and He’s taking care of me and providing me with all I need.

And in that is incomprehensible peace, joy, love, and passion for life!

If you don’t have a close relationship with Jesus Christ, your life is going to be fraught with loneliness, unmet expectations, and discontentment – whether your married or single!

You have to come to this place of emptiness where you feel like all you can do is cry out to the Lord. And then, wow, let Him fill you up.

Psalm 23:5

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

2) Realize there are a lot of Mr. Wrongs out there

Okay, so I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding “Mr. Right”. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about all the “Mr. Wrongs”; and they are out there, let me assure you!

So let me explain. There have been times in my life where I’ve been like, “I just want to get married! Why does this have to be so complicated? I’ll just find a nice, Christian guy and we’ll fall in love and live happily ever after.”

But listen, ladies. There are a lot of nice, Christian guys out there that aren’t right for you.

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They aren’t pursuing a close relationship with God like you are. They don’t have the same passion for glorifying God in everything and living out His plans for their life like you do. Maybe they don’t have a love for Jesus like the one you feel in your heart. Maybe they aren’t actively working through struggles and hurts in their life because they don’t trust God enough yet. Perhaps he’s a great guy, but he has such different convictions, passions, and ideas about life. Maybe he doesn’t have hardly any convictions or passions at all.

Just because he goes to church and believes in God doesn’t make him the right partner for you, dear Christian woman.

I’m not saying you’ll find a perfect man. Because you most certainly won’t. (And if you think you will, you’re going to fall a mighty long way from cloud nine.)

But if you’re desiring to live your life for God’s glory (and this is His will for you!) then don’t you think God wills for you to have a man who’s deeply desiring the same thing?

If you’re going to be partners, don’t you think you need to be moving in the same direction?

I don’t know about you, but I want my husband to be my soul mate. By that I mean, I want him to understand and share the deepest parts of me – heart and soul. My relationship with a very real Creator God. My love for Jesus Christ, God’s Son. My firm belief that I’m God’s daughter by Jesus’ blood and my faith in Him. My belief that the Bible is absolute truth. My hunger for Him, His Word, and prayer time. My desire to live my life for Him, use my gifts (which He gave me for a purpose) for His glory and people’s good, raise children to know and love Him … !

I’m not perfect. But as I desire and seek … and over and over again find God and His will as my central desire … why would I bind myself to a man who can’t understand & share in that?

It makes no sense.

So, as I grow in the Lord and realize that I do have very specific desires when it comes to a husband, and not all the guys out there are going to meet those standards, it helps me in some way.

To be patient.

I so deeply desire a godly husband that I know I’m one-hundred percent willing to wait as long as it takes!

It perhaps helps calm my anxious heart that worries as all these guys pass me by. I say to myself, “I’m seeking God’s will for my life and I’m not willing to settle for a man who’s not desiring the Lord like I am. I can’t just dash out there and find a suitable guy in mere seconds because my standards are high. Therefore I must surrender and trust God to work out my earthly love story if He has marriage in store for me.

I let go … and I find peace and joy.

3) Find a Community. Build Relationships. Look for ways to Bless and Serve People!

Love people and live life! ‚̧ Don’t let singleness stop you, folks. There was never any reason that it should!

So come out of that dark hole. Press into the Lord and realize your standards – what you want in a husband … what God would want you to choose/seek!

Next, find a community. I believe when God speaks of alone-ness in Genesis, He’s not just saying marriage is good. He’s saying people being with people is good – family is good and friends are good and community is good.

Genesis 2:18

18¬†And the¬†Lord¬†God said, ‚ÄúIt is¬†not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.‚ÄĚ

We should be doing life with other people whether we’re single or married. We should have close friendships and wise mentors in our lives. We should be looking for other people to bless and mentor!

Now, there are some seasons where we’re just alone. And God uses this. Most times to draw us to Him! (That’s what I’ve found in my life. In that way, being alone can actually turn out to be a beautiful thing … when it draws us to the Lover of our souls.)

But we’re not meant to be without human companionship forever. So find a church community and make friends! ūüôā

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For myself, I’ve been visiting different churches! I like the church that my family goes to – the teaching is solid and encouraging. However, I’m having a hard time getting involved. So I’ve been visiting different churches, looking for one that has great fellowship and I can really be in community with.¬†It’s been fun, trying out new churches! I get a little nervous at times, but I love meeting new people! (If they’re the ones to introduce themselves and strike up a conversation, haha!)

I’ve involved myself in Bible studies. Even started one for my younger sister and her friends. Now, we haven’t been able to do any study nights recently, but I’m hopefully we’ll be able to again soon! I’m plotting and planning and toying with ideas of going through this book or that book. ūüėČ And I might try out the Wednesday night Bible study at the new church I’m going to currently.

I’m grateful for the chance to grow closer to siblings, family & relatives, and long-distance friends. Yes, sometimes it’s hard because my life can be so monotonous. And then I start feeling down and don’t feel like putting any effort into building old relationships.

But, that’s why I’m trying to get into a community and try new things. Keeping a spark of excitement in life helps me to remember the people already around me and how I shouldn’t let this stage slip by without growing close to them!

One thing that continues to be really hard is not having any friends my age. I have a few long-distance friends, but we don’t get the chance to talk very often.

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Do you all have any advice for me? ūüôā Besides looking for a church family to get involved with, what can I do to meet new people and make friends?? Haha. It’s been difficult, but I’m thankful for my siblings and their friends, aunts, my mom, cousins, etc.

Last night I went to a disc-golf¬†course with my thirteen-year-old brother and seventeen-year-old sister. We enjoy disc-golf! Well … my brother loves it. I enjoy it. ūüėČ

So there’s another tip … look for ways to hang out with your younger siblings (or cousins or something.) Look for ways to invest in their lives. Mentor them, maybe.

That’s been helpful for me. It pulls my focus off of just me and my life and my struggles and my hurts, and starts investing my heart and emotions in other people. So I can find hope through their lives. I can feel joy for them when good things come their way. I can pray for them. I can help them through the hard times. I can rejoice when they succeed. Grow. Receive their dreams.

So whoever God has in your life right now, find ways to serve and bless them! Get involved in their lives and journey together! Share emotions, hopes, hardships, and dinners. ūüėČ

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4) Pursue your Dreams. Invest in your Talents. Don’t wait to do what you feel like God is calling you to.

Y’all, what is God calling you to? Don’t be deceived … if your heart is beating, you have a purpose! Don’t miss out on this wonderful thing because you’re too busy waiting to get married.

If you can break away from the depression that comes from a broken heart and the listlessness that comes from shattered dreams and the hopelessness that comes from lack of trust …

You will realize that there are beautiful things out there within your reach, but you’ve been so consumed with one beautiful thing (aka: marriage) that you’ve been blinded to all the rest.

What was it you always wanted to be when you were younger (for me, it was an author!)? Or what opportunities do you see around you that tug at your heart? A younger person who needs a mentor? A group of young people who would be blessed by a Bible study (ladies, you could start a girl’s Bible study using Love Defined!)? A Crisis Pregnancy Center that could use some volunteers? Maybe your church is going on a mission trip and you have a heart for overseas missions.

Ponder it. Dig deep. What do you have a passion for? What do you feel God might be calling you to? Maybe He is calling you to marriage … someday. But right now there are other opportunities available while your future spouse is out of sight!

As for my personal life, there’s a chance I’m going to have a full-time job very soon. (I’d appreciate your prayers!) Meanwhile, I’ve been novel-writing quite a bit and absolutely adoring it. I’m remembering that God gave me a passion and a gift for writing and I should definitely be pursuing that and using it for His glory! ‚̧

1 Corinthians 10:31

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So yes, I’ve gotten excited about that once again. I have a desire to publish more books – stories that I hope will touch reader’s heart for God. I know that I have a few loyal fans out there and they remind why I love writing. I’m not exactly sure what God has in store for me, but I’m trying to use my time wisely and write whenever I can. If He wills it, I want to publish again soon!

I tried my hand at making soap and it was a good experience! Not as hard as I thought. Though I was a little scared about mixing the lye. Good news, it all went well and I didn’t splat any on myself or my sister! :p So we have a beautiful batch of charcoal soap that smells of lavender and tea tree oil stacked on the top of my sister’s bookshelf. We’re hoping to make some more this coming week.

And yeah. Blogging, booktubing, Bible studies, and more! I’m trying different things and just seeing where God takes me.

I hope you all will too! Pursue God. Trust Him with your life. Take steps of faith. Enjoy life! Try some new things. Do what you love, all for His glory. ‚̧

Matthew 6:31-33

31¬†‚ÄúTherefore do not worry, saying, ‚ÄėWhat shall we eat?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we drink?‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat shall we wear?‚Äô¬†32¬†For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33¬†But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

***

That’s what I have for today. Hopefully it wasn’t too long-winded! Happy Saturday, readers! I’m probably off yard-saling while you all read this post. ūüėČ Hope you enjoy your day – breathing in God’s love and looking to Him to direct your life.

Live loved, dear fellow singles, and live to the fullest.

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Books for the Fearful Heart

Happy Saturday, readers!

Today I’m excited to share with you some books specifically addressing fear that have really impacted me. I have a heart and mind that tend to fret and be fearful, and are often within the iron grip of anxiety – and it’s taken me a long time to learn some of the lessons these books teach.

If any of you out there can relate, I wholeheartedly recommend these Christian Living books to you. First get out your Bible, then purpose copies of these books. And prepare to go on a journey.

Face your fears. Grow in faith. Lean on your heavenly Father. Find joy.

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Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough

(I haven’t finished this book yet, but so far it’s been phenomenal. I believe God is using what Maria went through to impact my life here and now.)

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Fearless: Building a Faith That Overcomes Your Fear by Cheri Fuller

(Read my review HERE)

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Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?: Facing Life With Courage, Not Comforters by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield

(Read my review HERE)

So there are just three books, besides God’s Holy Word, that have helped me in my battle against fear and anxiety (and even depression). I hope you will find the courage to acknowledge your own fearful heart and find help.

You don’t have to live within anxiety’s clutches.

God has so much more for you! If you could just surrender to Him! ‚̧

***

As a parting note, I’m going to change my blogging schedule back to posting here on Lady Grace just once a week – Saturdays. I have some things coming up in life and I’m realizing I’m not going to have time for everything. So I have to cut back a little. I hope you all will keep joining me here on Saturdays!

And also check out my other blog: Between the Pages of This Bookish Life. I post there on Thursdays and share my¬†Youtube videos on Mondays. This coming Monday’s video has to do with love & romance!

Imperfect but Beloved

Hi, readers! I completely forgot that I had to post today. Ah. Letting myself stress too much or something. I’ve been making soap, cleaning houses, and doing other work-related stuff, so I suppose it just slipped from my mind.

What are you all up to?

I’m currently reading Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough. And I’m doing two devotionals on YouVersion about letting go of the past and beginning again. They’re truly messages I need to hear.

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Let go of the past. Mistakes, regrets, hurt, fear.

Begin again. Start fresh! Rejoice in this new day that God can do wonders in.

Break the fear cycle. Constantly give over your anxieties to God. Pour out your anxious heart before Him – again, and again, and again.

And lean on Him. Rest. Completely secure. Forever loved.

It dawned on me that oftentimes we think that we need to be strong, and perfect, and have it all-together. We don’t give ourselves grace for past mistakes and stumbles. We try to tough it out, keep ourselves in order, and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We put so much pressure on ourselves, and then wonder why we crumble at the slightest provocation.

What if it’s not about us being strong, but about His strength shining through our weakness?

What if it’s not about us being perfect, but about His perfection working in our inadequacies?

What if it’s not about having it all-together, but about complete surrender to Him?

What if it’s not about us being something, but about Him loving us despite our sin, brokenness, and failure?

Instead of hiding, covering up, holding yourself together, and desperately trying to find a way to redeem yourself, your past, your sin, your errors … If I just do this, this, and this, maybe I’ll be good enough. Maybe I’ll be worthy of respect and love. Maybe I’ll be liked and cherished and wanted …

Maybe you can just open up your hands and surrender.

I found that when I just took hold of the truth – allowed myself to be weak and helpless and unsure what to do – it was okay. Because I realized that along with these things I was loved and cared for by a compassionate and powerful Father. I gained hope and security, joy and confidence.

I am weak, but He is strong.

This is how it is to be, and I believe I see His role as my Warrior when I surrender.

I am helpless, but He is my Helper.

He is my Provider, and I trust that He will sustain me and I have faith that He will provide all that in need in His timing. All I do is pray and step forward in obedience – trusting Him with results.

I am unsure, but He is all-knowing!

I can open up my arms wide and say, “God, do with me what you will!” He sees all, He holds me in His hand, and He has a future for me.

So I let myself be weak. Surrendered and obedient.

I am only human, but my God is the Alpha and Omega. In Him, I have all I need.

I listened to this Youtube video from Joseph Solomon this morning that was talking about being secure in God’s love for us. I found it interesting. I hope you listen to it and comment with your thoughts below!

God’s peace, friends.

‚̧ Lady Grace

Accepted in Christ, the Beloved // Joseph Solomon

Fight for the Faith

In a world where right is wrong and wrong is right (or, there are no absolutes at all), it is time for Christ-followers to step up and fight for the faith. For your own sake, you need to fight for what you claim as your beliefs.

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Do you know that when we stop fighting for things, they gradually – moment by moment, year by year, generation to generation – slip out of our grasp? Freedom needs to be fought for. Marriages need to be fought for. Dreams need to be fought for.

Faith needs to be fought for.

Do you know that the Bible instructs us to fight for our faith?

Jude 1:3-4

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

This doesn’t mean arguing all the time, writing scathing comments online, or hating on people or groups we don’t agree with.

It does mean immersing yourself in the Word, leaning on God, and standing firm on the Truth.

Do not waver. Do not listen to every new idea that comes your way. Don’t let the winds of doctrine toss you around until your head is spinning, your knees buckling, and your heart afraid. We, as Christians, do have a firm foundation to root ourselves in.

God’s Word.

I know that sometimes the Bible is hard to understand. But you’re not going to figure out more about God’s truth by listening to the culture, the media, or secular speakers and movie stars. Friends, as confused as you may be, you need to delve deeper into the Holy Bible, not go chasing after other voices that supposedly have spiritual revelations of what truth really is.

Fellow Christians may be able to help you understand, but make sure you are lining up what they say against the Word of God. Study your Bible and grow in knowledge of God and His nature.

And don’t just read. Pray. Pray that God will teach you. Seek Him. Ask for a desire to know Him intimately. Do you know that the Bible says that if you seek God will all your heart, He will be found by you? Do you know it says those who seek wisdom will find it? Are you claiming these truths? God’s Word is living and active and sharper than any sword.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity;

Proverbs 1:20-23

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

Hebrews 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

So stop letting the world push you around.

Dust off your Bible – pick up your sword.

This is your weapon with which to fight. Your Bible is a crucial part of your walk with God. It has the power to change you. To change your life. To grow you in wisdom. To pull you into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. -Filled with the fullness of love, unbreakable hope, deep joy, immense power, and peace that passes understanding.

Philippians 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I challenge you to read your Bible daily. You need it in order to stay rooted in God as you face conflicting opinions and differing worldviews and Satan’s fiery darts each day.

Ephesians 6:11-13

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

What warrior goes into battle without his sword?

Why would you go out into the world without God’s Word in your heart? Fresh on your mind? Ready on your lips?

Ephesians 6:16-18

16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit

We need to stop living so passively. This world is our battlefield. We do have a very real Enemy prowling around. And without our sword, he will began to succeed in stealing our abundant life.

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

So grab your Bible, join your fellow soldiers (aka: a community of believers!), and live courageously and to the fullest under the shadow of the Most High!

Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.‚ÄĚ

SOLDIER by Unspoken