Tuesday, November 13, 2012

following Jesus as woman in today’s world {part 1}

womanfollowing

Do you ever wonder how a woman in 2012 is supposed to be like Jesus in 30 A.D.?

That question was on my heart the other day as I drove to the gym. So I asked God.

“Lord, forgive me for asking, but how am I supposed to be like a man who lived 2000 years ago? I’m a helpmate, a woman, a mother in a modern age- not at all like the Jesus, the Lord of all things, who lived and walked here in the flesh so many years ago in Israel.”

Not even a minute passed, and the Lord started to answer. He started pouring out ways I, a mama of four and a wife of a man, could be like His Son, right here and right now.

The first way hit me in the gut.

I was completely taken aback when He said this:

He did not try to make himself seem beautiful to the world.

Oh. my. goodness. Why did I ask?

Here I am on the way to the gym in full makeup.

Oh, no.

Yes, Lord, I’m listening. You’ve got my attention. And I feel a bit sick.

“Remember,” He said,

“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” {Isaiah 53:2}

He didn’t try to make himself look more appealing to His culture, the Pharisees or anyone else for that matter. Now this is just a guess, but he probably didn’t whiten his teeth, use an age-defying moisturizer followed by a glowing primer, topped with a great matte foundation to cover up His flaws, all while running and eating cabbage so His thighs would get smaller.

Ugh.

He wasn’t pretty. And He didn’t try to be.

Oh, Father.

As I drove, His quiet voice asked, “how many hours a day do you spend making yourself look beautiful to the world?”

The answer came instantly.

Hours. Every day.

I spend hours and hours at the gym each week. I spend plenty of minutes putting on makeup each day. I wash my hair, I dry it for 30 minutes a few times a week. I have five different skin care products I use on a daily basis.

For what?

For whom?

It was like taking a punch to the gut.

I’d like to believe that God wants me to look beautiful so that I can share his message to the world- so that I can reach those around me by being noticeable. By being different.

But that is not what Jesus did.

He did not seek the notice of others. He did not seek to make himself appealing so that he could share his message.

What does that mean for me?

How do I learn from Jesus 2000 years later?

I follow His example. I make myself less noticeable, and my Father more noticeable.

It can’t be about following rules- like avoiding makeup or any sort of beauty treatment. That would be trying to follow the law. And I will fail when it comes to following the law.

This is about my heart.

And unfortunately, it’s not pretty.

I care far, far too much about my appearance to the world.

My heart is clever and deceitful- it tries to make it about Jesus, but it’s honestly at it’s root, it’s not.

It’s pride. I want to be admired, or at least thought of as pretty or trendy. And while my heart loves Jesus like crazy, I can’t love myself that much and put Him first. I'm being like a whitewashed tomb.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27

I hate talking about this sort of thing because it’s not fun and easy; in fact, it’s far too hard of a thing to follow. At least it is for me, anyway.

I will fail at this. I constantly fail at this.

I know my heart.

But my God knows it even better.

And He is slaying these idols one leg, one arm, one finger, at a time.

I don’t have any simple steps to follow, no list of ways to cast down the desire to appear beautiful to the world.

I only have God.

And I know that He is bigger and stronger than my selfish desires.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that He can change this stubborn, prideful, selfish heart into a heart like His. He can help me lose the desire to make myself appear more beautiful to the world.

It’s not about the makeup.

It’s not about the exercise. It’s not about the five skin care products. They aren’t sinful.

It’s my heart. My heart is full of love for itself.

That is sin. And it needs to die.

I praise God for shedding light in dark places, even when my sinful heart loves those dark places. 

I praise Him for redeeming me and making me beautiful by giving me a new heart through the sacrifice of the blood of His perfect Son.

God give me a heart that is fully yours.

Don’t let me focus on my appearance. I don’t want to serve myself in my hours on this earth. I want to serve you and only you, Lord.

Change me, change my longings and desires to be only for you, God. Let my adorning come from your Spirit, not from the dresses I wear or the things I put on.

And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-5

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next week: following Jesus as a woman today {part 2}

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