I have been a Christ follower for 20 years this fall. I was only 5 but God gripped my little heart as a young girl.
God is working on yet another area of my life, one that runs deep. I am so thankful for our church and the leaders in it because God has used them to show me many things. My view on a lot of things has changed slightly since coming to this church over 5 years ago. I am learning to love God and others more deeply and fully. I am learning to breakdown prideful walls and not look down on others because that is not what Christ is about. I am a work in progress.
When I was younger a certain label was placed on me by most, "goodie-two-shoes." I was always seen as the one who never broke the rules, didn't disobey my parents much, didn't cuss, didn't drink, didn't have sex, didn't do most things kids experiment with. There were no glaring sins people saw. Isn't it interesting how we think that just because we don't practice some of the "big sins" we think that's all there is to Christianity? That following rules is what a majority of Christianity is about.
In church today one of our pastors talked about a very tough passage. I think it has to be tough for people on both spectrums. We were looking at 1 Corinthians 6 today. We have been going through this book for a few weeks now. Here is the text.
"9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Andsuch were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined[d] to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[e] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
We can see plainly the sins that grip us. But this wasn't the typical message we hear often in churches. Our pastor didn't stand up there and say we need to put rules on staying away from these sins. He didn't say, "You have to put this curfew on your kids, don't allow them to dance, don't allow them to wear these certain clothes, set these boundaries on their every move, etc."
Actually what he said was, "If we spend our lives learning how not to sin then we will not fully know how to love. If we spend our days learning how to love then we will draw away from sin."
Paul clearly says in this text what sins are and what we should stay away from. But he doesn't give us rules to follow. He doesn't point us in the opposite direction so we still orient our lives around our sins. When we put all kinds of rules around our sins and trying to stay away from them we are missing the point, STILL.
He doesn't say that a good Christian witness is orienting our lives around not sinning. He doesn't say it is full of "oughts, you shouldn'ts, and don'ts." He doesn't give us rules, he give us Gospel.
Instead he points us to God's grace. He says in verse 11 that we "...were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..."
Fast forward to my current life. I am a wife, mom, trainer. I love exercising, learning, making food homemade, etc. In the last couple weeks I have heard a new phrase that some describe me with...Supermom.
Yikes. On one hand I'm flattered. People see my posts and apparently I'm looked up to. But on the other hand I really don't want people to think I'm supermom.....cause guess what? I'm NOT!! I am not the perfect mom, I am not the perfect wife, I am not the perfect fitness role model. I don't want to portray myself as something I'm not.
When I was "goodie-two-shoes" I had different struggles. I was still in bondage like some are to those sins Paul mentions about sexuality, etc. My bondage was following rules. I still sought after the Lord but for a while, especially junior high and early high school, my bondage gripped me deep. I had so many fears. I also had a pride that turned people away from Christ. My attitude was, "Yuck!" to some sins people struggled with. How loving, right? My first response was, "Stop! No! Just stay away from it and read your Bible."
My bondage created a fear of my own body. I hated the things that are still good about myself. I didn't want to show any skin. I wanted to blend in because I was ashamed of my body. I was ashamed of having a chest, or nice legs. I believed that sex was bad bad bad....I went to church "meetings" before youth group events of a "formula" with clothes on how to make sure guys don't notice our chests, butts, etc.
I was orienting my life around staying away from these sins but taking my eyes off Christ. I was finding my identity in other things. I was so gripped by fear for a few years that I missed out on a lot of things. I turned quite a few people away from Christ, I am sure. I was consumed with following rules. Now don't read into what I'm not writing. We have a duty to dress with dignity. But let's face it, guys get turned on by looking a woman dressed head to toe and can still think we're sexy! There is a responsibility on both sides to not be consumed with either doing the sin or staying away from it. We are not supposed to get saved and then say, "my soul is saved and I can do whatever the heck I want." Or say, "I'm saved by Christ now follow all these strict rules, look down on others who don't, and don't show any flaws."
It's amazing how God works all things together for good because He brought a wonderful, fantastic man into my life who is now my husband. Kyle was kind of opposite of me. He went against those rules. He helped show me how freedom in Christ looks. It has taken many years for me to not be worried about what others think of me and it's because of this man and God working on my heart. We have had so many talks about this I can't even count with him saying, "Steph, who cares? What does this matter to eternity? God isn't concerned about this image or these rules." Wow. I prayed for this man and God delivered. He was my perfect match. He was who I needed to help mold me more into Christ's image.
Bottom line is I hope and pray you don't think I'm a supermom. I hope people don't resent me when they see my posts and I hope people don't idolize me as well. I am a work in progress. I still struggle with things such as pride, envy, selfishness, gossip, being judgmental, etc.
I am continually learning to fix my eyes on Christ so everything else is centered around Him. I am learning to experience freedom in not living by certain rules and also not swaying into sin. But the more I learn to love Christ fully then the more I experience the life He has for me. I just want to share that. I don't have everything figured out. Heck, I don't have much figured out.
But I do know that I am a daughter of the King. I do know that my mission is to glorify Him and for others to see the love of Christ through me. That is my true identity and I hope you find yours in Him as well.