Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So here are some of my realizations.

I have come to realize that while I enjoy the swimming, the whole carnality of vacation really gets to me. We get all geared up to spend an entire week just pleasing ourselves, spending lots of money, getting new clothes. Its so self centered. I realized when I went shopping the day before we left that I was so focused on myself I had forgotten that the sole purpose of my life really isn't to please myself. Its to spread the glory of the Lord. I can't just take a break from that and focus on myself for a week. I guess you can say "you could be focusing on the Lord, taking a break and spending time with Him." I am trying to do that but when you are on a schedule that revolves around your pleasure, it is a hard thing to do. I thank God for the beauty I see but all around me I see emptiness. I see so much carnality that is brushed off as "vacation."

I was thinking about this with my swimsuit. Sounds stupid but its true. So I worked hard to get to wear this swimsuit, went tanning 5 whole times and did a couple of weeks of dieting to try and down size the hips (didn't work to well...) but I did it because I wanted to look good and be comfortable in my new swimsuit. You see my whole life I have worn a one piece swimsuit. I am just more comfortable in a one piece, it seems more functionable. In Florida however, wearing a one piece makes you stand out. Wearing a two piece makes you blend in. I choose a modest one, no little strings or anything and wore it with some O'Neill board shorts that came down to just above my knees, I asked my dad and my brother and they both said it was ok. Yet I still felt uncomfortable and then when I stepped back and thought about it I realized why. I was so focused on myself. It could have been a full length burka and if I had the heart I had while wearing it it would have been no good. I mean I was so concerned about getting a tan and stuff on the beach that I had forgotten my purpose. I can never forget my purpose. Does any of this make sense? 

So I am not going to wear that suit anymore. Not because I thought it was immodest or because anyone told me not too, just because it feels like something as trivial and stupid as that detracts my vision from the Lord. Anything that does that shouldn't be aloud to stay in my life. 

Oh and here is another thought for the boys out there. You know what? Modesty goes two ways. Why is it we women have to worry constantly about our clothes and being modest when I bet you a guy never, or rarely if ever, looks in the mirror and asks himself if his clothing is modest. Shirts? I see a lot of em too tight and too small. Pants? Guys, where em looser. Shorts? Ok boys when your on the beach we don't want to see your bottom. Pull em up, tie em tighter. Don't think you can run around everywhere with your shirt off and then get "mad" at your christian sister's who wear a bikini or swimsuit just around. You know that girls have a lot of the same struggles guys have but none of you seem to care. Sometimes it stinks being a girl because I don't only have to worry about what I wear as far as looking good, I have to worry about being modest too. I like being modest, I get very uncomfortable when I feel like my body is at all exposed. But still, it would be nice if it went a little both ways. 

Anyways that was my probably unnecessary little soapbox but talking to Michael on the phone last night it hit me how insanely much it bothers me that I have to worry about modesty and what I wear and he doesn't. I wanted to scream. 

But back to the main point of this blog. 

I am trying to learn a balance of focusing on the Lord and pleasing myself. By pleasing myself I mean the food I eat, the clothes I wear, the music I listen too, the company I keep, how much I work. Where is the line that I need to be concerned about? How much is to much as far as doing the things I want to do? I wish I could hear the Lord giving me advice at every decision for how to walk according to Him. I know I choose the 'me' route far to often. I do all the time. UGH! I hate the flesh battling against the spirit. I just wish I was able to conquer. I know I can't...but I wish I could just completely shed my sin nature and not desire it an ounce. How to do that?

This is a devotion that just happened to be the Utmost for His Highest for yesterday. I couldn't have picked better timing. 

The natural man, or unbeliever, knows nothing about carnality. The desires of the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the Spirit warring against the flesh, which began at rebirth, are what produce carnality and the awareness of it. But Paul said, "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" ( Galatians 5:16  ). In other words, carnality will disappear.

Are you quarrelsome and easily upset over small things? Do you think that no one who is a Christian is ever like that? Paul said they are, and he connected these attitudes with carnality. Is there a truth in the Bible that instantly awakens a spirit of malice or resentment in you? If so, that is proof that you are still carnal. If the process of sanctification is continuing in your life, there will be no trace of that kind of spirit remaining.

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, "Oh, I can explain that." When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.

What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it-it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, "If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!" And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.


Uriel said...

That's a lot to comment on - it's such a hard balance... well, I guess it's not really a balance. Walk in the spirit and then "to the pure all things are pure" your motives and pleasure in the gifts of God will be pure, But my "walking in the spirit seems to fluctuate every day, if not every hour!"
Good observations. Clothing question - do tight shirts and pants really "tempt" women the same way they do men? All the women I've ever heard comment on them say they don't do anything for 'em. I agree about the "both ways" bit - I think that a lot of it is culturally conditioned, because when I was a teenager just moving back to america, I was primarily attracted to faces. It was only after five or so years of hearing people talk and seeing advertisements that I developed almost the same sort of messed up perception all my friends and acquaintances had -and which I've been trying to discipline myself out of ever since.
But you have my empathies.

One Quiet Voice said...

I really apprecitaed this blog Melody... I've been so sick lately that when I do feel good... i jsut want to spend that timefor myself. Thanks for reminding me that life is about God, and time spent with/for Him is time wirth spent.

Melody said...

I guess I can truly say that guys in tight shirts and stuff doesn't really cause me to sin I think...but its still annoying!

And I wish all guys were attracted to faces only.

What do you think about swim wear Judah? From a man's perspective.

Tammy said...

I'm glad that you are open to the Holy Spirit's refining process. As one of the people on vacation with you, and one of the two people who provided your trip to this carnal land, I hope we are still keeping the First things first. I know your dad and I have had very sweet fellowship while here and we've been seeking the Lord while here. To me it's no more carnal than it is at home. Yeah, things are focused a bit more on our pleasure here, but this is not where we live, it's where we visit and while we visit we don't check our Christianity at the door, but bring the Light within us, with us to be seen even while "in a forgein land".

I'm glad that God is using a different environment to sand out the rough spots in your life. I pray He continues to do that with me as well.

Believe it or not, your blog caused me to repent, but not in the way you might imagine. This is the first real vacation we've taken in years. We've spent our time, talent and treasure for so long on seeing the gospel furthered etc. When our parents (your grandparents) tried to bless us with trips like this etc. we sometimes became legalistic about it and refused to be blessed. I had to repent of that, because I realize that I didn't allow God's balance of grace in my life when they did that, instead I turned to legalism and the law and in my self-righteousness thought I was choosing the better thing. Sometimes I was, but with the wrong heart. Sometimes I wasn't. Sometimes God wanted to bless me and because it didn't look like what other Christians said life should look like, I refused it.

This trip I've been reading 1st Corinthians and I'm asking God to show me just how much of my life will be burned in the fire, and what will remain. I am humbled by the answer to that prayer.

Ok, I'm rambling, sorry about that.

I love you, Melody.

E. Chikeles said...

As far as men in scantily or tightly clad clothes go, I think a woman is not as easily moved as a man but (in answer to Judah) yes I have had a hard time with guys who are attractive and know it! Perhaps my body does not react as a guy's would but my mind certainly can... perhaps it is cultural conditioning.

As much as it is good to check your heart I'd be careful to do just that and not judge vacationing itself. Yes it is carnal and there is selfish spending and most of the time is just spent for yourself, but sometimes that is what you need. I know for husband and I we are in a busy time and are entering an even more busy time and this vacation, though completely carnal and selfish- and yes I did spend many hours dwelling on it before we left too- it is the first time in AGES that we have had the peace of mind to really talk and the an almost distractionless time to read the Word together. It is good to check your heart, but everything is what you make it. For me, I covered it in prayer and I think a time just to be free of care and interact with your family can be Godly even if it isn't "serving" God.

Congrats on your swimsuit realization. Being pregnant has definitely helped me in that area... when I am on the beach I forget to think about what I look like, I'm pregnant! =)

Uriel said...

On guys or girls? I'm not partial to wearing speedos, if that's what you mean. But on girls, I think one-piece is more decent and looks more comfortable. Who cares what everyone else is wearing? I do agree it's mainly a conscience thing though, and I believe the less you think about it and the more you cultivate fellowship with Christ and then just do what comes naturally the better. (I remember shortly after being saved I was roofing with a bunch of brothers at CCSP, and even though it was friekishly hot I refused per conscience to take my shirt off, as there were ladies present, but I think that dictate of conscience was due to me caring way too much how I looked BC, and later things like that nearly drove me insane-and going crazy doesn't glorify God at all, I think.) I am convinced it's a lot easier to just do what you know isn't wrong as long as you know that it's not "stumbling" anyone. Like Paul says: "For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?" - if you are enjoying something, and giving thanks to God for it (i.e. vacation) and you don't know personally of anyone in the vicinity stumbled by it, then thank God and enjoy it while you can!

andrew Christiansen said...

Something I came across a few months ago that might be interesting to some of you. I thought it was interesting what christians across the board thought about dress and such. It is worth a look at. here is the link