Is my life really that different than non believers? For a couple of weeks I've had this thought in my mind and a certain memory in my mind that I can't rid myself of. The memory goes something like this..
3-4 years ago I worked as a tutor at an elementary school during the day, volunteered at church on the weekends, co-led a small group during the week, and partied pretty hard on the spaces in between. One day at work I was trying to convince my friend Mallory that she should come to church with me because I felt that was my duty, to invite people. Her response changed my life...
She didn't accept my invitation and replied with something along the lines of "the only difference between you and me is that you walk into that building and I don't." That hit me hard, She was right and I felt super convicted. I didn't stop partying all together but I did slow my game a lot. Fast forward to 2 years ago to my friend Lara's wedding. At the time I was calling myself a Jesus lover but still relying on food and alcohol to fill my void. That night was one that also changed the way I acted. I was a recovery group leader at the time and knew I probably shouldn't drink but I did..and I didn't quit, I drank a whole lot because that's just what I did. I embarrassed myself more than once while I was dancing, falling, saying inappropriate things and then, once again, Mallory's statement entered my mind. I stopped what I was doing, helped clean what I needed to and then left.
The bible says that Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. (Romans 8:5-7 NIV)
My mind was governed by flesh, it didn't matter what I said about myself or how I described me, my actions spoke, no, my actions yelled that I was governed by death. I had Jesus in my heart, had accepted him as my savior but I wasn't trying to submit to anything, especially Him. Verse 8 says that if I'm in the realm of the flesh I can't please God and I so badly want to. I want to live my life in such a way that if someone was to speak badly about me no one would believe it. I try to live this way now and usually before I do anything I will ask myself if it glorifies the one who saved me, some days(a lot of days) I fail and that's ok because repentance comes in at that moment. Beth Moore said at our conference recently that a world that loses the word repentance loses revival and I so agree with that.
Verse 14 of Romans 8 says for those who are led by the Spirit of god are the children of God and I don't know about you but I want to be a child of the Heavenly Father and because he is in me I want to obey Him. I had a heard time obeying my Earthly dad growing up because I never felt like he deserved my respect.. I obeyed him because I feared him hitting me, yellingat me, or threatening me. I remember more than once locking myself in our bathroom just so he couldn't get to me. I'm glad God isn't like that. My God, my perfect father loves. He loves me unconditionally and even when I don't deserve it. Unconditional love has taken me a couple of years to understand,but this is what I've gathered.. there are no conditions. I don't have to try harder, work better, pray more, go to church more, lead more groups or do anything..He loves me. That's it-nothing else.
Romans 13:12-14 says So let us put aside the deeds of the darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness...and goes on to say that we should clothe ourselves with Jesus and not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
I quit drinking 2 years not because I believe that drinking is a sin but because when I drink I'm not glorifying anyone or behaving decently, I want to live my life so that if someone were to speak badly about me no one would believe it. I want there to be a visible difference, night and day, in me now from me 5 years ago. I want people to see that because Jesus is in me, my life is more peaceful and full of life and that I truely have changed. I want to clothe myself with Him and do all that I can to do what I know Is right. I want to be a woman of integrity, and honor, and love.
I didn't come to know Jesus and accept him as my savior because someone told me I needed to or that doing so would make my life better. I accepted Jesus because complete strangers in rehab showed me love, There was something different about them and I wanted what they had. I don't exactly know why this has been on my heart and in my head so much recently but my prayer is that I, and we, will continue (or start) to live according to the spirit in us and think about if what we are about to do glorifies the one who saved us... If not, pray hard for the willingness to change your mind and take the actions that will help make you the most godly version of yourself. Be different and let people see how you have changed.