My whole life I have been surrounded by standards, and convictions which are not wrong in and of themselves but the motive in which we apply them to our lives most certainly can be wrong.
I as a child felt very judged and felt as if I never fit in around the other teens within the teen groups so I hightailed it out of the church, once I was old enough to get married.
I got back into the church and went straight into the mentality of putting on righteousness, I have spent my whole Christian walk putting on standards and convictions and would gladly share them with anyone that would ask or not ask what my convictions were. Also I spent many hours trying to convert others to my standards and if they rejected it, I rejected them. (EWWW, gross) I want to stop here and publically apologize to those of you that I did that to. My thinking was by conforming my outward appearance, I was becoming spiritual and I wanted that for you too.
(Before I go any further, let me say this, these things I am about to write are not wrong and I believe it instilled a faithfulness in my children's lives today, but my motives have been all wrong.) As a mother I would take my children to every thing at church, I had them on visitation, I would drag them out of bed at wee hours of the morning to have them at Camp meeting only to leave them in the nursery for hours upon hours so that I could serve in the dining room. I was placing so much on my works to look spiritual, and feared what man would think if I did not show up, in so much that the day I truly was born again and came home and told my husband, he was confused because I had looked the part.
Over the years I remained on this quest of putting on spirituality and felt as if I was doing a great job, when in reality I was a harsh mother, harsh friend (out of a heart of love, mind you) a very stubborn wife and even hateful and full of anger, bitterness and resentment towards a husband that has been disabled and asked me to leave my home and children and go into the work force (what would people think???) I have left my children!!! I have dropped a standard that I have harped on for years about the women being in the home. What kind of mother am I now???? ( my spirituality was in jeopardy) Over the last three years the Lord has allowed every external work to be striped from my life, my devotions have struggled, It was hard to make it to visitation, I work full time, my house is a mess. But God and his graciousness began to allow circumstances (hot water, if you will) to enter my life. I have almost lost my husband twice in the past three years, between the two of us we have been in the hospital 12 times, and I have been angry at Mike for being ill (silly huh?) and leaving so much of the burden of family, finances and home on my shoulders. What God has been doing in my life came to full circle this weekend. He showed me through some events that took place what true judgement on the life of a believer by another believer looked and felt like.
I have known for a while that I have lived my life and made decisions out of the fear of man for many years but as we see in the scriptures it does nothing but bring a snare. Proverbs 29:25 says The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. I have spent many years desiring the admiration of men but once again was left feeling inadequate and with the turn of events this weekend once again proved that I do fall short of living up to their expectations, rather than God's.
For the first time in my life I have been truly liberated of feeling like I have to put on an outward righteousness for others but rather a true digging deep into my heart and allow God to get my own ugly heart right with him. I can never help someone be right with God, if I have an ugly sinful heart and present myself as the judge and jury in another person's life. The reason I feel judged by others is because I have judged others in my own heart quite often. I want the Lord to help me to truly have a heart that bears the fruit of the spirit, not just to others around me but in my own home. I want to love my husband, love my children as Christ loves them, and genuinely love others with a Christ like love and look beyond their faults and allow God to work in their lives but I truly want to be an example of the love of Christ in my walk with the Lord. I can look the part all day long but if I am full of a very sinful judgemental spirit in my heart and yet straighten my skirt as I walk into the house of God, I am putting on outward righteousness and not really genuinely allowing the Lord to make me a vessel of honor.
My son just posted this on FB and it is so very true. If we really want to help people, fall in love with the Lord and allow him to shine through your life and they won't hang onto those things that could be dragging them down but rather they will desire what you have and take to it naturally.
“You win over people just like you win over a dog. You see a dog passing down the street with an old bone in his mouth. You don't grab the bone from him and tell him it's not good for him. He'll growl at you. It's the only thing he has. But you throw a big fat lamb chop in front of him, and he's going to drop that bone and pick up the lamb chop, his tail wagging to beat the band. And you've got a friend. Instead of going around grabbing bones from people... I'm going to throw them some lamb chops. Something with real meat and life in it. I'm going to tell them about New Beginnings.” -David Wilkerson
I have been given one of the greatest gifts from the Lord over the last three years, has it been hard? oh my, YES! The way of the transgressor is hard but he has allowed me to see Rebecca for who Rebecca really is and outside of the Lord Jesus Christ I still have that old sinful nature that I had prior to putting on Christ. He is so sweet to me and has been so loving and kind and gracious to me all while exposing the nastiness of my true inner being. I have always thought of Christ as one ready to beat me or punish me or zap me every time I did something wrong but he is so much more than that, I have seen a beautiful, more loving characteristic of Jesus Christ that I have never known before and for that I am not liberal but rather liberated! I now desire to serve the Lord in these outward things not for anyone else but rather for the Lord because he loves me as a sinner but loves me way to much to leave me that way. God truly has been good to this girl!