Conform or Transform

Hello everyone! I know it’s been a while since I posted and I do want to apologize for that. When I first started this blog I was set on posting every single week, but like always, reality set in. I much rather post every other week or once a month so that my content can be good rather than post every week and have my quality go down. Quality over quantity right? I will strive to post more consistently in the future, I promise. Thanks for sticking in there I really appreciate it.

This post from Sarah is such a good reminder for me and everyone out there during this season. As school starts up and fall sneaks around the corner it’s easy to get sidetracked by the pinterest wives who have beautiful houses and the perfect homeschool plan, but that isn’t our focus. Our focus is on the one who called us to live a set apart life with set apart motivations. We must really ask ourselves what our motivations are, because for me they are often times prideful.

Thanks again for reading and I hope you have a wonderful week!

James 4:7-10

“Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourself in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

I struggled to write this.  A lot.  Because normally when I write something to share with others, I’m doing my best to encourage and uplift.  I want to write things that prompt you to praise, or continue the fight, or rest in peace.  Not to ‘be miserable and mourn and weep.’  But that’s what I’m going to share today.  Why?  Because sometimes, we need to hear it.

Sometimes, you need to stop trying to feel happier, and mourn.  Sometimes, you need to stop fighting for rest and peace, and simply be miserable.  Sometimes, you need to wipe off that smile, and weep.

Because, sometimes, you have sin in your heart, and you need to have a proper view of that sin.

Sometimes, you are fighting so hard for the happiness of the world.  You want a pretty little house with a peaceful vibe that will put your family at ease.  You want lovely dry erase chore charts that you children can follow without more than a pleasant prompt and no begging for screen time.  You want to drink your coffee while it’s hot and be able pull off that messy bun with the perfect balance of dry shampoo and day old curl.  You want to see your children playing happily or reading quietly while you pursue meaningful hobbies and your own messy crafts.

Sometimes, it’s not even that much.

Sometimes, you simply want to end the day knowing you did the best you could.  You want to be able to take a bath and ignore the soap scum lines and peeling caulk long enough to unwind.  You want to sleep in, just a little, so that you won’t snap at others in your sleep deprived state.  You want to remember to wash that load of laundry that you husband asked for… yesterday.

And not a one of those things is a good thing if you are pursuing it apart from your Savior.

There.  I said it.

It’s not just, “oh, these aren’t bad things, but they’re not the best things.”  No.  They can totally be bad.  They can be downright corrosive to your heart and crippling to your mind.  Why?  Because you love them more than Him.  You pursue them without Him.  You let them monopolize your mind and dictate your day instead of communing with Him.

You think that it will balance out, “I’ll spend an hour doing this and then fifteen minutes in my Bible.”  But why are you separating Him and them at all?  It shouldn’t be a scale of things I do cuz I gotta and things I do for Him.  You are His.  All of you.  Every little bit of you, from the tangible to the invisible to the eternal.  Aren’t you?

If that’s the case, why are you seeking a pretty house without praying over your home?  Why are you pursuing these “harmless hobbies” instead of devoting those hobbies to Him?

Let me clarify here.  Not everything you do has to be Christianthemed.  I don’t think that every piece of art you hang on the wall has to have a Bible verse on it.  I don’t think that every book you read has to have a gospel presentation in it.  I don’t think that every coffee cup you own should have cleaver little godly saying on them or that every conversation has to be spent talking about what you read in your devotions.  Personally, I am currently writing a fiction novel.  It’s not a Christian novel.

But all these things can still be for Him.  And to Him.  And through Him.

Backup a little, and maybe you’ll see why this is hitting me so hard.

James 4:4  “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility towards God?  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

When I do those things apart from Him, I’m just like them.  When I do those things by my own strength, I’m copying how they do them.  When I seek for others to recognize the similarities we share because, “Hey, we both have a general liking of coffee and t-shirts and Target,”… I’m seeking fellowship with them, and not with Him.

Now, now.  I hear you there.  “Come on, girl.  Lighten up.  It’s just, ya know, the superficial stuff.”  Yep.  And that’s His too.  Because I’m His.  All of me.  At least, I’m supposed to be.

The problem is, sometimes, I’m not.  I’m hoping, for just a little bit, to blend in with the world and have a little breather from all this heavy stuff.  But the heavy stuff is what matters.  The sorrow.  The grieving.  The seriousness of my sin before the Man who was tortured because of it.

Have you examined your heart about these things?  Have you really taken a long look at what you spend your time and energy on?  Have you given them to Him?  Have you “cleansed your hands,” by asking for forgiveness and sinning no more?

Your selfishness in these things, in keeping them to yourself, in desiring them because it will make you fit in, or at least maybe not stand out quite so much, is sad.  It should make you sad.  It should make you tear up.  It should make you weep before Him.

Don’t say, “I want to glorify God and have a clean kitchen.”  Why not glorify God through your clean kitchen?  Don’t tell me, “I want to honor the Lord and have some time to unwind.” Why not honor the Lord while you have some unwind time?  Why not devote these things to Him and thank Him for them?   Or are you so friendly with the world, so convinced of their way of thinking that you cannot understand how these things can go together?  Are you “double-minded” like verse 8 says?  Do you want to be godly, but also want what the world has, and does, and looks like?

Be humble.  Weep.  Grieve.  And draw near to God.  And when you have done these things, when you have checked your heart and confessed your friendship to the world before your loving Father, when you have devoted these things to Him, then “He will exalt you.”

Again, verse 10, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

Do this, and when you do feel peace and rest, when you are satisfied and happy, when your shoulders relax and your face falls into a tired smile, you will know it’s His doing!  And that, my dear friends, is very much better!

Redeemed by the King

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Please note, I have written my times on my own blog (http://snickjake.blogspot.com) about trials and weariness, finding joy in those times, and finding peace in the little blessings.  Those things are very good.  This post is not about those times.  Some days, it’s not about the trials but about the fact we get wrapped up in our far too cushy lives.  This post is meant to call us to examine our hearts so that we can truly be honest about our condition before our loving Father.  Sometimes you look for the joy in the sorrow, sometimes you seek the sorrow because it’s needed.   

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