The deeper in I walk with this God guy, the more I realize that there actually is some responsibility that goes along with becoming one of His followers.
Ah. Yes. Responsibility. The word that sounds like a monkey on the back, a weight on the shoulders, a cramper of style. A word that often makes us roll our eyes and yet without us having a sense of it, our world would be quite different. Sure, there ARE people who don’t do the responsibility thing but can you imagine if we ALL decided to opt-out? Yikes.
I’ve been walking with God now for about nine years but it wasn’t until the last three that I really started to learn about spiritual truth – in other words, what’s in the Bible and what we are called to do.
We are called to love our enemy. Even when we don’t want to do so.
We are called to go to the person who has offended us and not talk about them behind their back. Even when it’s going to be a tough conversation.
We are called to withhold judgment and remove the log out of our own eye. Even when the log seems permanent.
We are called not to gossip but allow only “wholesome” talk to come out of our mouths. Even when we “just have to share” the latest scoop.
Really, when you read all of this, one could be tempted to say that following God’s law could be, well, just not a whole lot of fun. A little restrictive.
At least I used to think so.
However, I am blessed with a group of Christian women friends who make me laugh just as hard as I did in the old days without violating any of the above rules – and I love it. I have a ball with these women who are literally my sisters and I would do anything, anything at all for them.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that given the right situation with the right people, I feel my “old-self” emerging again.
Gossip? Bring it on. Talking about people? Sure. Bashing our enemy? Well, by all means, let’s have at it.
I slip. And yes, I know I have Jesus and that He will forgive me but this fact does not give me a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for unrighteous behavior.
Like I said, there’s a responsibility now and I have to be honest – it’s so freeing to have it. It’s completely worth it.
I recently attended a social event in which the majority of people were not Christians. For the record, you don’t have to be for me to love you. I have friends that believe all things and I would never, ever, ever, pull out the Christian holier-than-thou card on them.
But it’s there often when the temptation occurs – when others are just not aware of these rules or are and don’t care.
Boy, do I have to have some serious dialogue with God while I’m in these situations.
It makes me think about a drug addict or alcoholic that is so protected while they’re in rehab and seem to be doing just fine until they are released into the “real world”. Without the shelter of this cocoon, they face their temptations much more often and readily. It’s time to put the tools they learned in rehab into application.
Only just about the most difficult thing of any learning curve.
It’s not realistic to think that I will always be surrounded by my awesome network of Christian sisters who won’t tempt me with gossip and putting people down nor do I want to live in my “own little world” because that is not at all what God envisioned for us.
But when I do leave my “Christian Rehab Center”, it’s absolutely critical that I follow His truth because at the end of the day, people are watching. We are the Public Relations team for God – it’s the single most reason I usually have a cross around my neck.
It’s for my own accountability.
It’s reminding me that I have a responsibility that comes with being able to wear that cross. There is a beautiful truth that is so much better than the old way and if I can let the joy of living this way show to the world, perhaps someone else might want that for themselves. Perhaps someone else might want to kiss gossip, judgment, and put-downs good-bye.
Because the thing about being able to wear the cross? Anyone can. There is no one that is not eligible. Absolutely no one.
I’m in no way perfect. I often slip-up. There are times that I blatantly snub my nose at His truth and I even know while I’m doing it that it’s wrong because I hear His voice telling me to “Stop right there, missy.” And yet, my humanness never goes away. And it never will.
It’s then when I think of grace. Truth. Mercy. The whole reason I fell in love with Him in the first place.
And eventually, when the heart is truly transformed and the holy spirit is the ruler at all times and not just in Christian Rehab, perhaps a new level of joy will be achieved.
JJ has a shirt that reads “I’m not the man I ought to be…” on the front while the back states “but thank God I’m not the man I was.
In looking at small victories and progress, the same could be said for me. No, I’m not at all the woman I ought to be. I’m still on the potter’s wheel. But the woman I once was? She’s not around much anymore.
I’m joining in with Michelle from Lost in the Prairies for Caffeinated Randomness and Rachel Anne from Home Sanctuary for “Company Girls” today. Please take a moment and visit some of these awesome ladies!
Love your words…..they touch my heart and I”m sitting here nodding my head in agreement with everything you said. I think I need one of those t-shirts! Well said. I would like to think that the ‘old Lana’ is far, far away now and I’m so glad about that. I like the new one a whole lot better. Thank you God for your grace and love.
Thank you Natalie for summing up these life lessons in the Christian arena in a very realistic and courageous way! I’m so thankful for you! Treasure your blog entries!
Much love to you and your family!
Yes, it’s important to have spiritual growth. I attended the Extraordinary Women’s conference in Ft Wayne last weekend and I didn’t want to come off that spiritual high and deal with the ‘real’ world. It’s easier when your with your Christian friends that are like a strong guard to help you. But in reality we are faced with sin each day and have to fight it off and keep our head straight..all on our own.
Thanks for your insight today, Natalie.
…well not on our own Jesus does help :)
i needed this today. i caught myself yesterday venting about a colleague and this post reminded me that what i need to do is sit down and talk with her about the issue instead of ranting to someone else about what she did. and you’re right….it IS hard when you are around non-Christian friends in social situations. i have some folks in our church who just flat refuse to associate with anyone who is not a Christian….but my hubs and i feel that we can do more good by being around those friends as much as possible. not so that we can be brought back to our old ways, but so they can see how we are living now and the positiveness of that change in our lives. thank you so much for your encouraging posts….you and GlowinGirl are such inspirations for me!
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I really need to work on BRACING myself before I read your posts. OUCH…a good ouch, I guess! Thanks for challenging your sisters in Christ!
.-= Bobbi´s last blog ..Caffeinated Randomness- Energy- Errands- and Eeek! =-.
AMEN! I know how you feel. I struggle with the same issues and funny enough it only been the last 2 years that I’ve really got down to studying my bible and focusing on God’s truth. It’s great to have that group of friends who will support you, pray for you and call you out. That’s my Babes for me! I’m glad you’ve got that group.
.-= Michelle´s last blog ..Caffeinated Randomness- The King- The Sword & The Bathroom =-.
Oh Natalie!! I loved this. I struggle with many of these things, too.
I love that you said we are His P.R. team…absolutely.
And your husband’s shirt? Love it. I’ve heard that quote before and was actually thinking about it last night around 9:30 when I was doing laundry. I thought, I’ve got a long way to go, but thank God I am not who I used to be. Thank God. I can’t imagine how messed up I’d be.
This time next week :) !!!!
.-= Erin´s last blog ..Caffeinated Randomness =-.
I have to say, although all of this was so good, I loved the “public relations team for God.” That is something that I will keep in the forefront of my brain so that I am reminded of what the larger issue always is — winning hearts for Him.
.-= Jen´s last blog ..Torn in Two =-.
It is a constant struggle for me to be in the world but not of the world! I love something that was said in a Bible Study I am doing. Looking different, acting different than the world is tough but it is one thing that unifies us as christians. The more different we are, the more set apart we are, the more people will notice–and yet, how much time do I spend trying to fit in, to blend in, to NOT look different! Ugh! Looking forward to heavenly peace some day!
Thanks for this post, it was great. Have a great weekend.
Oh, my goodness, Natalie, what a profound blog. I’ve been a christian for 50 years and I still deal with these same issues and thankful I serve such a loving and forgiving God. I’ve certainly needed a lot of it these past 50 years.
Blessings to you in your walk with Him. Continue on and I know you will continue to be a real testimony for our Lord.
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Some wonderful thoughts. You are so right. We are to be in this world but not of it. It certainly is challenging at times. Thank you for sharing.
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Hi there! Visiting from SITS and boy am I glad I dropped by! What a fantastic post! I love that there is a network of sisters-in-Christ!!! So lovely to “meet” you. I went ahead and stopped by your FB page as well. Best wishes.
For His glory,
.-= Brook (Matt5verse6)´s last blog ..The Unknown and Theories =-.
Thank you for your words. You’re hitting on so many things, or maybe that’s the Holy Spirit. I am familiar with that insecurity that creeps in, whether in the ‘real world’ or in a ‘safe place,’ when the words that are not glorifying slip out and the attitudes that are not selfless rise to the surface.
Thanks be to God, he doesn’t leave us to muddle our way through by sheer will power, he gives us His strength to draw on!
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I love how you don’t shy away from the hard truths! Thank you! Oh – I wish I could be meeting you in person, sister giraffe, at Relevant, but alas, I have a young nursling and won’t be able to go (though I desire to go more every day!)
.-= Audra´s last blog ..Lets Reclaim Masculinity =-.