I’m linking this up with Lisa Jo for Five Minute Friday today (even though I wrote it this afternoon) because she chose the word Grace, which I obviously had already written on today! Funny how that works out sometimes. I considered writing another post, but I just feel like this is fitting. So, I hope my Five Minute Friday friends don’t mind too much. It took way more than 5 minutes, but shouldn’t take much longer than that to read!
When this blog first began, I mentioned that God created all of us sisters in Christ unique from one another, and that He did so with a purpose! Lately, I’ve been reminded of that fact. Not only are we unique as individuals, but our walks with the Lord will be unique from one another, as well. Thus, the ways in which we live out our faith will vary from person to person.
Paul describes it well in Romans 14:
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters…
4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall.
And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
My weaknesses and strengths will not be the same as your weaknesses and strengths, amen?! Unfortunately, because they are different, I’ll be tempted to compare myself to you, my sisters in Christ, and you to me. As a work-in-progress woman, I’m still learning how to have confidence in the woman God has created me to be.
However, as much as I loathe this tendency to compare, I see another, more destructive risk to this comparison game, the risk of self-righteousness. You see, sometimes I compare myself to another sister in Christ and find her lacking, instead. (Gasp! Shock and Awe! Let’s be honest – it happens more often than we like to admit.)
Of course, it’s not always quite that blatant; sin rarely is. But these thoughts that I don’t even want to acknowledge slowly creep in. I’m so thankful my children are well-behaved (….because so-and-so certainly needs to get a handle on hers). Or perhaps you hide it more cleverly in thoughts like this – I’ve studied the scriptures, so my position is biblical (which would make any opposing position unbiblical by default). When we start thinking we have the corner on the market in knowledge, wisdom, or understanding, look out! We are due for a major fall
Self-righteousness – thinking we can somehow make ourselves right.
How I wish I fell prey to it less often!
Self-righteousness centers around actions and outward appearances rather than the heart itself. Oh, how we like to focus on the outward rather than the inward, sisters. I know because I struggle with it, too!
And that right there is the problem: the tendency to quantify and qualify that which we cannot! The truth is, we’re all on equal footing, all saved by grace alone and not by works, so that we might not boast. But how often do we find ourselves boasting in our minds and hearts? I readily admit; I’m just as guilty. God’s grace cannot be qualified. We cannot and dare not attach strings to something He gives freely! And oh, is His grace big, my sisters! It’s so much more than what I can imagine.
You may parent differently, dress differently, celebrate differently, eat differently, educate differently, and on and on. And the truth is – that’s okay. Part of finding confidence in Christ, learning to be who He created us to be, is also learning to extend that same grace and freedom to others. Can I not rejoice in the freedom to be me, yet still celebrate your freedom to be you?
More truth from Romans 14:
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. (emphasis mine)
What is the pleasing way? It is not “a matter of eating and drinking,” not a matter of the details, rather it is a matter of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,” choosing to live by the Spirit. That choice brings to mind 1 Cor. 10:3:1
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
In the scope of eternity, the “whatever” doesn’t matter, sisters! The “glory of God” is what matters. Do you see it?!
I want to shout for joy because our God is so good and gracious! He knows our tendencies to get caught up in frivolous arguments. He spells it out for us – whatever you do – whichever choice you make - if God’s glory is truly the motivation, then go for it, sister!
If we, fellow sisters in Christ, cannot celebrate each other’s choices to follow hard after the Lord, then who can we celebrate with? This world certainly won’t be encouraging and celebrating us in our efforts to live worthy of the calling we have received. Such self-destructive behavior can only be celebrated by the enemy, that twister of truth, creator of lies. And I, for one, do not wish to give him any cause for celebration!
“Beloved, let us love one another,” 1 John 4:7
We are sisters in Christ.
Let’s build each other up in love, lest we all fall prey to the enemy who seeks to devour.
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
United in Christ,
united in Love.
and let the celebrations begin!
I’m linking up with any of these lovely blogs.