What are YOU learning?

One of my "life passages" is Romans 12:1-2.

Therefore, in view of God's mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

This is my "ministry", helping women to see beyond the "here and now", entangled with this world's temptations and entanglements, and to live for God.

One of my favorite books is 1Peter where Peter writes a letter to a group of Christians suffering for their faith. He repeatedly tells them to live as aliens and strangers here on earth....holy and set apart for the Lord.

I love these passages! I understand these passages because I have experienced such a "love affair" with the world! I understand firsthand how important it is to "keep on top" of it....to purposely live transformed in my thinking- NOT CONFORMED to the world's attitudes.
These are issues I have battled and overcome.

So, when those "old feelings" surface again, it can be surprising and disarming!
Let me explain what happened.

I joined FACEBOOK. ('nuff said?)
As I looked around at many of my FB friends, I saw perfect bodies, perfect skin, perfect hair, perfect lives....
Many of these people I have not seen since high school...I don't know if they know the Lord...
One precious woman wrote that she was excited because the designer stiletto shoes she had been waiting for arrived.
I didn't even know the who the designer was!
Life on FB seemed glamorous....
living in Chicago, working in glamorous lives, looking glamorous....
I felt overwhelmed with a "I don't measure up" feeling.
I battled the same feelings a few years ago when I walked into a going away party for a friend. I was just dropping off a gift and didn't stay.
I had been gardening, so had on my shorts and t-shirt. I walked into party where the women were DRESSED for a party and dressed "to the nines."
I hadn't been prepared for the ultra expensive home, decorated like a magazine...
As I looked around, I felt inadequate...
Being a woman's speaker, I thought, "What could these women want from me? What do I have to offer them? They have it all! Why would they want to listen to what I have to say?"
This was the same feeling that came over me when I began exploring FB...
Of course, my BRAIN could make all of the correct arguments....
If these women don't have Jesus, then all of the material and worldly things won't make them happy... having a relationship with the Lord is more than anything here on earth.
I am not dependent on who I am in the world, but who I am in Christ.
I KNOW all these things in my head...
it didn't change how I felt.
I had to go back to the Word (and to my Spiritual Mama!).
I called Donna and cried on her shoulder, telling her all of this.
And, she said something so wise.
She said, "Tracy, it is natural that you feel 'left out.' This is how we are SUPPOSED to feel as Christians...left out with ways of the world."
I hadn't thought of it that way before.
I am so familiar with 1Peter and "being strangers and aliens in the world." I know this world is not my home. The message translation says, "don't become cozy in it." But, I hadn't thought about "feeling left" out before.
Yes, it is hard at times to make Godly choices. And, sometimes I do feel "out of it" when I can't join the conversation because I haven't seen "that" movie...
or listen to secular music...
or watch popular (to the world) TV programs.
I am sure this is even harder for our daughters...
not watching MTV
or dressing MTV
or talking MTV
or staying pure, unlike MTV....
The NKJ translation says we are PECULIAR people! We SHOULD feel peculiar...
But, sometimes, it FEELS peculiar to be peculiar...
I guess that is why Paul says in Romans 12:1 to "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice." It will be a sacrifice at times to not conform to the world. At times it will feel uncomfortable to not conform to the world.
1Peter 2:113-16: So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. (I lived such a worldly life before Christ. God tells me to NOT slip back to that old way of living!) But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
3:1- 12: So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, (if Jesus was rejected by the world, why would I be surprised by feeling uncomfortable in it?) but He was chosen by God for great honor.
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.
Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. (there will be a battle...these desires war against my soul!) 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

Please visit Gina at Chats with an Old Lady for more What are YOU learning!

4 thoughts shared....:

Beth in NC said...

Oh Tracy, I can identify more than you know.

I have often felt like a square peg in a round world! And like you said, that IS A GOOD THING. We are in the world, but not a part of it. Heaven is our home!

Thank you for sharing your heart!

Proverbs 27:19 said...

Yes Tracy, it is hard being peculiar but I can imagine that it is harder for our children. I love your statement about having a love affair with the world, it ties in with God calling Israel an adulterous nation.


Denise said...

I appreciate your honest heart, and I really understand sweetie.

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

SOOOOOOO good! thank you for sharing!!!! I appreciate your heart and honesty!