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Out of This World

This morning I just want to journal my thoughts.  Isn’t that what a blog is for?  😉

I was woken up at the crack of dawn by our incredibly rambunctious kitty, Powder {who really shouldn’t be having this much fun on a broken foot!}, so for once I actually got out of bed while it was still dark out & decided to make good use of the time.  Coffee.  Quiet.  Jesus.

Funny how I can hear God speak loud and clear during these wee hours of the morning.  The world is quiet, but God is awake.  Always awake.

He brought me back to a place I’ve read what feels like a million times & had me write out some thoughts in my journal.  I wanted to share them.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”  John 15:18-19

I feel like this is a constant struggle for so many of us.  Actually, it SHOULD be if we’ve accepted Christ’s redemption gift of salvation, right?

So if we don’t belong to the world, we should stand out.  But how?

I have just a few ideas:
When we offer advice, it should look differently than what advice looks like from a worldly standpoint.  If you read popular magazine articles or even self-help books, you’ll find a constant theme is to “do you” if you know what I’m saying.  It’s like there are only two ends of the spectrum:  Be a people pleaser and let everyone walk all over you or just focus on yourself and not care what others think.  Godly advice is somewhere in the middle.  You don’t have to be walked all over, but at the same time, you don’t have to be so self-centered.  There’s a balance in there that we have to find, and that’s the kind of advice we can offer to others as well.

– Love given and received should be grace-filled.  So many times I hear of “love” being talked about selfishly.  That’s not love, y’all.  People make mistakes.  Lord knows I have!  In fact, the person typing this up and the person I was 10 years ago are COMPLETE opposites.  There’s hope for the lost, but you gotta show a little grace when necessary.  In situations where someone hurt you, you can choose to confront someone with the ambition to beat them down OR you can choose to confront someone out of love in order to bring them to a place of repentance and forgiveness.  Grace does not = tolerance, but for crying out loud, if God shows US as much grace as He does on a daily basis, we can certainly extend that kind of love to others.

– Prayers should be bold & fervent.  If you follow Jesus Christ, you know He’s in the miracle working business.  If He was on the earth today, we’d see Instagram posts filled with photos of walking men who were paralyzed, blind men who can see, and you bet that water into wine thing would be all over the place.  😉  And the good news is, He’s STILL GOD.  The grave did not hold him.  In fact, as I type this right now, He’s right in the moment fully alive, fully God, fully active.  And I personally feel that He LOVES when we unwrap the gift that He gave us- The gift of being able to enter the Holy Throne Room in prayer and ask boldly for things in His Name.  Not saying we get everything we want, especially if the motivation is totally selfish, but the act of being fervent in our faith-filled prayers is sometimes just simply enough.

– We should go out of our way to be helpful to others.  I think of all the people in the world that feel unloved and uncared for.  We’ve got kiddos in poverty stricken countries that feel hopeless.  Some even being taken in as slaves.  There is the human trafficking “industry” (I hate to use the word industry with that!) that has destroyed so many lives.  Women who have been left to care for babies all by themselves, not even given help by their own family.  The list could go on and on.  But how nice does it feel to help others without grumbling or complaining or even drawing attention to it?!  We shouldn’t do it in hopes of getting a pat on the back.  Helping others out of genuine love is enough.

– Keep tight lips in gossipy situations.  How awful does it feel when you find out someone has been talking about you?  I’ve been there.  It stings.  Then you start to wonder, If they said this about me, what ELSE do people say?  It stinks.  And we as Christ-followers should have no room for gossip in our lives.  General rule of thumb:  If you wouldn’t want someone else saying the same thing about you, keep your dang mouth shut.  😉

– Detach yourself from money.  This one is hard for SO many of us.  Sure, we can use our money for good.  I’m incredibly grateful to have the money to do the things I like to do:  Sponsor a child through Compassion, give to organizations and people in need, etc.  But I think it’s super duper important to understand the importance of money without being attached to it.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in making a big paycheck and having nice things… but to be honest, that’s what the world finds value in.  And we’re told to be different.

– Find our worth in Christ, not accomplishments.  It’s easy to feel secure and worth something when you’ve got a plaque hanging on your wall that says “You’re awesome!” …or might as well say that!  😉  Definitely give yourself a pat on the back when you pass that bar exam.  Absolutely celebrate your accomplishments and promotions!  Heck, I’ll celebrate with you!  But your value in life is not in the things you have done yourself.  It’s in what Christ has done in YOU.  He thought of you in his mind long before the world began.  Yes, I know that’s hard for us to think, but it’s true.  He knew your personality traits, your eye color, the texture of your hair.  He invented your laughter and the way you smile.  He heard your voice in his mind and I’m sure He thought, “I can’t wait to create that beautiful person.”  He didn’t care if you’d win the most prestigious award at your company.  He doesn’t care if you graduated college or even high school.  He simply cares about YOU.  And that, is what makes you worth something grand.

I could continue adding to this list, but I think that’s enough for now, right?  I think it’s sometimes just SO hard to live in this world as a Christian woman and not get sucked into the world of bad advice, gossip, and finding my self-worth in things other than what the Lord says about me.  But it’s something I need to focus on daily, and I think that’s the same for most others out there, too.

Stand out, my friends.  We can do this.

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