Welcome to 2018 friends. We are living in a time of don't offend. Don't have a belief that might make someone else sad. Don't have a belief that makes someone else question their decisions. Don't have a belief that makes anyone feel bad for any choice they have ever made or plan to make.
In my search for clarity I grabbed my Bible and turned to Romans and found this verse... 'Be conformed to this world, do not be transformed by the renewal of your mind, but instead discern what is right by what is comfortable and socially acceptable. I tell you the truth, go into the world and look like the world.' Romans Chapter never: Verse this is a lie.
Really? Where is this coming from people? Where did we read that we are supposed to LOOK like the world, and SOUND like the world?
Romans 12:2 'Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect'
Do not be conformed to this world. The definition of Conform is "to act in accordance or harmony; comply"
The Apostle Paul is literally telling us to NOT comply with the world. To go against worldly behaviors, not join them. Not become so overcome by the world that we are unable to discern the will of God.
You hear so often these days that immersing yourself within the world gives us the best chance at reaching the lost. Agreed, somewhat. Jesus didn't just pray for the Tax Collectors and sinners, he went and sat with them, ate with them, reached out to them.
But, was Jesus tempted by their sin? Was he drawn in, losing pieces of his faith. or was he strong enough to with stand? He was Jesus! He was perfect, without flaw. He immersed himself in hard places, reached out to those in the greatest need for the Lords love and salvation and still was our Savior! He said "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". He called us to this great responsibility.
But, he didn't say go into the world undercover.
Back to Paul. Paul, who started his life as Saul. A man who was killing christians and well known for it. Paul, a man who dedicated his life to pursuing his relationship with God and shouting the Good News of our Lord and Savior from the roof tops.
In chapter 31 of Acts we see Paul in Rome, the very last verse of the book reads like this: 'Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.'
Boldy. I'm sorry, but having a bold faith just doesn't sound like someone who blends into the world. Having a bold faith sounds like a person who says ' For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith." ' (Romans 1:16)
I am not ashamed to stand out. I am not ashamed to look and sound different. I am not ashamed that I have taken the hard narrow path. I am not ashamed.
Today, while watching an insta story of a favorite young christian role model my heart just sank at her blase response to the saying 'Oh My God!" Now, I sit at my computer with shaky hands and a ache in the pit of my stomach. Not because I don't want to right this, but because I feel compelled to write it. Not because I think everyone is in the wrong, but because I m scared we have been tricked. Tricked into believing that being unrecognizable as a christian is the only way to lead the lost to the Lord.
Why, fellow believer, have we decided it is 'Ok' to say Oh My God! when we see a super cute shirt. Why have we decided it is 'Ok' to exclaim the holiest of holy names when we get the text we have been waiting for, or the job we wanted, or see a friend we haven't seen in awhile.
Why do I hear other believers say that when they say "Oh my god!" it lowercase g. They aren't talking about the big guy. What? So I m supposed to read your mind, my kids....are supposed to read your mind. Children, teens, young people who look up to you are supposed to......read your mind? I m confused. I m just so confused. Your words carry Meaning to those around you!
Exodus 20:7 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.'
Vain: producing no result; useless.
1. the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
2. a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.
3. used for emphasis or to express emotions such as surprise, anger, or distress.
"God, what did I do to deserve this?"
The use of Oh my God has become so much the norm that the dictionary even recognizes it as a definition for GOD!
Urban Dictionary says...
oh my god
An exclamation of shock or surprise, often used repeatedly by stupid people who are shocked and surprised by almost everything and insert it into conversations whenever possible
by get over it August 06, 2004
(I would never quote the Urban Dictionary...but found this definition to be right on!)
Ok, so IF you don't agree with me, and you are still reading. Thank you, and props. You are dedicated and at this point most likely angry. My aim is not to outrage anyone, but simply bring to the surface this...thing.
If you do agree with me, and still reading, thank you! You may also be wondering, ok, so if we aren't going to blend into the world, but instead stand out, how do we reach the lost?
I have one (long) thing to say about that. I'm going to go out on a limb here... but the lost go to more places than bars. I don't think you have to be exactly like someone, in order for them to pay attention to you...just sayin. The lost are sitting by you at work, school and even church! Yes, I said it. The lost are behind you in line at the grocery store, reaching for waffles in the frozen section and reading the nutrition list in the chip aisle. The lost don't need another worldly friend, they see that everyday, every other place they go. The lost need to see Jesus in you. Stop pretending that in order to reach the lost we have to integrate ourselves into the world completely. Say yes to him and see where he takes you. If he takes you to a bar to befriend someone, go! Jesus wants us to say yes, and be willing to be an instrument. But he just as likely, probably more likely, will take you to work, and to school, and to that moms group. Its not just about not saying this or not saying that. Its about letting Jesus flow through you. In your every word, in your every action.
All I know is that I have been given ONE book to follow, ONE God to live for, and ONE life to try. And if he said, Do not take my name in vain.....guess what friends... I m going to do my very best to do just that.
I am just one person, not even an important person, but my heart has grown weary by this trend. I am sad that christian role models have taken to saying Oh My God just like the rest of the world. I m sad that as we strive for this don't offend world we have lost our boldness as believers!
I want to leave you with this last verse: 'Let no filthy talk be heard from your mouths, but only what is good for building up people and meeting the need of the moment. This way you will administer grace to those who hear you.' Ephesians 4:29
As many of you know, My husband, daughter and I have been on the roller coaster called International Adoption, since late 2014. Here we are, a few years later, wind blown and weary longing for this ride to be over. But in the longing to be done it is so easy to forget to live in the now.
I am the future mother of two African boys, I am also, the current mother of one 4 year old girl.
One morning, not too long ago, that little girl snuggled up close and said, "Mama, my eyes are so tired, can we just snuggle a little longer". My phone dropped from my hands, bouncing on the blankets near my head, and I clung to my tiny little human. I pulled her face next to mine and repeated these words to myself over, and over.... "Live in THIS moment." Her tiny, squishy little cheeks against mine, her soft little breaths....this moment. This moment where SHE wants ME.
For those of you who know about Adoption, you know that at times, it is consuming! The paper work, the stress, the worry, the loneliness. It is SO easy to spend your Wait....waiting.
But As I lay there cuddling my growing girl I had a realization, she is not waiting, she is not on pause as these other things are on hold around me. SHE is here in the now, living...while I was waiting.
God had to have Barney kicked in heaven....'Finally child, you get it'
Matthew 6: 25-34-- A parable where Jesus is doing his very best to say Listen people!! I care about the birds in the sky...and you are obviously more valuable than they, stop worrying...it will get you no where.
Whatever your Wait is, Adoption, child bearing, a spouse, the search for peace....Do NOT wait in the waiting, Live...for him. You will add no more hours to your life worrying about tomorrow but instead, "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."- Matthew 6:33 Seek him, and in your seeking, in your living...he will reveal himself to you.
The moments of clarity I experienced with my daughter were not an automatic switch in my life. I still have to make the conscious decision to live, rather than falling into the quicksand of Wait. And, If I m not careful, my foot can start to slip and before I know it....I am consumed, again.
I know how incredibly blessed I am to be going through this Wait with a community! I not only have my soft hearted husband & loving daughter but a family and loved ones who have supported us all along the way. They make the twists and turns of this coaster bearable.
I long for the day to bring our boys home, but it is not today. And I will never get a second chance at today. So for now, I will remember that all things are in his time, and right now, its time to be a mama, a wife & the servant that the Lord has called me to be. And while we live in this time God will prepare our hearts for the day when we welcome home our sons.