Wednesday, September 03, 2014

be careful whom you follow


Jealousy.

Awe.

Shame.

Inspiration.

Embarrassment.

The flood of emotions hit me all at once.

I found a fun new blog, and I had a lot in common with this girl. I liked her. And she liked what I liked. She was impressive- and did challenging things that were some of my favorite to read about. And as I devoured her posts, my heart started burning with shame that I didn't do something equally as impressive as she had.

I could do that if I worked harder... I thought.

And then BAM... the Holy Spirit interceded and stopped my wicked heart from going further.

Wait. What am I doing? Who is this person? Do they even know Jesus? Are they pursuing Him with all their heart? Should this girl be my role model? Should I fix my eyes on her as an example of what is good and right before the Lord?

No. 

In fact, in a quick scan I could tell she doesn't even claim to know Him. Her passion for what she does is awesome and she did it so well, but it doesn't seem to be coming from a heart pursuing what I want in this life. 

Oh, Lord God what am I doing? How many blogs do I look at with this lustful heart, wishing I could be a little more like that girl? 

Why am I reading things that motivate me to pursue worldly things out of jealousy and covetousness??

I need to be more careful to guard my heart- to closely follow only the lives of those who are imitating God. Though my flesh fights me with everything, my spirit doesn't want to covet the lives of others. In my short time on this earth, I truly want to walk closely with people who are walking in the light of our Holy God. I want to imitate God, not man in the midst of his pursuit of worldly passions. Ephesians 5 tells me:
1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not become partners with them; 8for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Oh, man. I see people in "blogland" doing things so very well, and I love to see their excellence. And sometimes, my flesh wistfully wants to pursue things like they are.

I do believe their content can often be both helpful and useful, but I want to remember that as a believer, I'm not called to pursue being known as a great fashionista, a DIY master, a fitness guru, or a fantastic writer or blogger, or anything else. I'm called to pursue the Lord with everything I have. I want to be careful to see that the people I spend time studying on the internet are the people who are following after Jesus with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Those are the kind of people I want to be my role models. 

Unfortunately, my sinful heart naturally wants to to build up an image of what I want to be instead of what seeking after what my soul truly needs. Solomon was so right in Ecclesiastes 4:

4Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanitya and a striving after wind.

I don't want to strive after the wind.

I want to grow into maturity in Christ through His Word and through studying how others have done it before me. Paul tells us who to follow and who not to follow in Phillipians 3:

17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Oh, that day we will see our Savior!! My heart is no longer to be set on the things of this earth. Seeing my Savior is something worth pursuing. Living for Him now is what I long for. And to be like Him is what I want the most:

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

The reality of reading blogs is that we are studying the lives of others- sharing in their lives, and perhaps even subconsciously becoming like them in our own lives. The question is: are these the people we really want to imitate? Are they true believers seeking after the Lord?

Sweet followers of Jesus- we have to remember the partnership we are called to:
14Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15What accord has Christ with Belial?b Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
1Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of bodya and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.  2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

I pray that the Lord will help me cleanse my heart from the impurities I've subjected it to- that He would increase His holiness in my heart and reveal my sin and all the ways I've defiled it {though painful}, and that He would help me walk in the light and to leave behind even my most secret fellowship with darkness. That I would see clearly the path that He has set before me and not swerve to the left or to the right to join in with the crowd.

I need to spend less time reading awesome worldly blogs and more time pursuing His holiness. I want to remember:

"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." 1 Corinthians 10:23

Even in blogland, 
I need to be careful whom I follow.



How do you guard your heart against the lust of the eyes when it comes to blogs? 


Do you ever find yourself imitating those you are around the most?

22 comments:

Holly Roberts said...

This is JUST what I needed to read today. Thank you for the reminder! :)

Jessica @ My Coffee is Cold said...

Loved this- thank you for sharing! It's very convicting to take a step back sometimes and realize we're striving for worldliness over holiness, and it's such a real, intense struggle! I wrote a very similar post a couple weeks back: http://www.mycoffeeiscold.com/2014/08/a-life-un-pinteresting.html

Anonymous said...

Jess here. Thank you so much for such a wonderful blog! It completely spoke to me. I've been wanting to study my Bible and jump into the Word for a while now but just don't know where to start. Any suggestions for a good bible study? I've got the Strongs Concordance book (which I love) and I also have a program on my computer which will help me go deeper in to the Word, I just need to be directed as to what to read daily. Thank you again! God Bless!

Jesenia said...

Love this and love your heart. You're still one of the few blogs I read for this very reason. Thank you! Blessings. xoxo

Kirsten Kay said...

I love your complete honestness. You speak truth without sugar coating yet without calling out, "Look, everyone else, look what you do!" Thanks for being open about your struggles. I just shared with my hubby about wanting to be like your blog and he essentially told me this exact same thing. But I hardly think you are a horrible example, and scanning your blog, you can clearly see your passion for Jesus and your family. Although I can't follow you, per say, I sincerely do admire you. <3

Julie @ Loggers Wife said...

Being a blogger, I read a lot of blogs. Seems to go hand in hand, doesn't it? I find myself in the same position as you every so often. I have gotten to the point where I honestly follow very few non-Christian blogs. While it is not a substitute for the Bible and I still have to be careful to not end up with "blog envy," I find it helps when among their deal posts or DIY projects or whatever, they are sharing their Christian walk as well. I love that about here. :)

I do think some imitation is okay in that "oh I like the way she set up her menus" or "oh I like the way her voice comes through in her writing." But you are 100% correct that we need to be careful to imitate Christ first. :)

V. H. said...

"Be careful little eyes what you see...
be careful little ears what you hear...
be careful little feet where you go..."

Yes Lord. Help us decipher, help us discern. And once deciphered and discerned, help us obey.

Jenessa Phillips said...

Thank you for this wonderful reminder today.

Teri said...

Ugh. Thank you!!! This helps so much...not just in who you want to follow but also in who you strive to be!!!

Lee and Beth said...

I hear you! I used to have a blog myself, but I had to give it up because it was taking up so much of my time and energy. I was constantly trying to come up with new things to blog about that people would find interesting and would get me a lot of comments. I was so concerned about how many followers I had and would do projects around the house and link them up all over the place just to get more followers. If a "big blogger" left comments at my blog or linked to my blog from theirs, I would feel so proud of myself. But if I didn't get any comments, or someone left me a negative comment, it would completely ruin my day. Of course I followed all the "big bloggers", and felt like I needed to keep up with them. I bought an expensive camera so I could take better photos, and I was so frustrated that I couldn't take pictures like them. I hated that I couldn't write as good as they could. It just got to be too much. So I quit blogging. I still like to follow blogs, home decorating blogs being a favorite, but I have added more blogs like yours to my reading list. Blogs that help me to be a better Christian. Blogs that are good for my soul, and remind me that having a perfect house and a perfect family isn't what life is all about. Thank you for this post, and for your honesty.
Beth.

April, Momoffour said...

Yes yes yes yes yes. Right on! Glad to know I'm not the only one who struggles with getting jealous of what others can do. Aren't you glad we get so much grace from our Father?

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your insightfulness. However, did not Christ come to the sinners? Did he not come unto the unbelievers? Does he not love all? It is a reminder to love all!! That is the first and great commandment. I am a sinner and fall short daily. He still visits me. He has given me the power of discernment. To recognize truth and error. If I associated only with those who are Christians then I would not associate with half of my immediate family. I pray to be long-suffering, patient, kind, to envy not and yet I am still my Brother's keeper. I can read other writings and yet remember his truth and his writings and teachings are the most important.

Susan said...

I struggle with the same thing Mandy! Some of the blogs I follow make me feel like a little nothing compared to all things they are doing all the time. One blog in particular had really taken a toll on me and what I thought about myself and my husband told me he didn't think I should read it anymore, and I haven't. Now i try to limit the amount of time that I spend reading blogs and keep my focus on the life God has given me to live. It's still fun to read them, but I noticed I was spending more money on clothes and home decor items then I used to keep up with all the beautiful images I saw. It is hard to find balance and to not put things of this world above God, harder than I can believe sometimes!!

Stefanie @ CalledHis.com said...

What an awesome post! At first, I was confused - I thought you just flat out refused to follow a non-Christian blog - but then it really came together and revealed something I even struggle with in my own heart! It's so true. It's so amazing to seek out friends, even online, who want to grow in Christ, encourage each other, etc. And it's so easy to lust after what other people have, even though it may seem silly to lust after a pretty blog or lots of pinterest followers, it shows a very real struggle in our hearts.

Stefanie Called His said...

That can certainly happen! I think it's so important for blogging to be an encouragement to your marriage, health, organizing, finances, etc - when it's taking over as a detriment, it's time to step back!

Kaitlin Vincent said...

This was a lovely post and a potent reminder. I'm relatively new to (consistent) life blogging, but I definitely have felt those feelings with iterations of similar things

Mary Caldwell said...

Thank you for this reminder to remember our first love and not follow after lustful thought.

Kim Sullivan said...

Thank you so much for this! You are so right and I easily get caught up in the same. Sometimes being human is just so tough. I want to get it right and have my actions be pleasing to the Lord, but I always seem to fall short. This post is such a great reminder of who I am called to pursue and where my heart is to be. Thank you for being transparent and sharing your struggles as well. :)

homeschoolonadime said...

I've been guilty of this at times as well. Thank you so much for sharing. At times, it helps keep me honest to myself and God when others are so truthful about their own struggles. I pray that His Holy Spirit will continue to shine through in your posts as they have helped me so often in the past. God Bless!

JoyBelle said...

I've definitely imitated some not-so-great behavior from less-than-stellar role models.

I think the same is definitely true of TV shows. We love to watch 19 Kids and Counting, for example, because I love their family dynamics, their helpful tips for big families, their heart for God, etc. I completely lost it when Michelle lost her baby and the first words out of her mouth were, "The Lord giveth and taketh away..." THAT is what I want to imitate. I wouldn't have faulted her for responding in another "more fleshy" way whatsoever. I don't hold people to unrealistic perfection. But that mother is a mother I want to imitate (especially as my own passed away when I was pregnant with my first so she's not here).

Another thing: I got off of Facebook. I was involved in a private group of women. Most not Christian, though I loved them and their babies and just knowing them. Never met in real life. Anyway the group just kept taking such unhealthy turns that I began to reflect it in my OWN life. I became more critical, more complacent, complained more and even spoke some pretty nasty words (within earshot of children). I hated what I was becoming. So I got of FB entirely. I could have just left the group but I found it wasn't just the group and I hightailed it out of there. Not saying everyone has to get off FB but I sure did. And I don't miss it.

Iron sharpens iron. :-)

rie said...

Just wanted to encourage you to jump in anywhere. The Bible is full of truth! Take any chapter in the New Testament and as you read it, write down any questions you have, any thoughts that come to you. Talk with Jesus as you study. Ask Him what things mean and determine to DO what you learn as truth or He won't show you anything else. "Walk in the Light". Blessings!

domesticatedoutlaws said...

You are not alone. I catch myself or perhaps the spirit pinches me at times when I know I shouldn't compare and while the materials and outfits are pretty, I wrestle that I am too caught up in the "pretty" and not focusing on who I am meant to be.

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