Are you sick of your SELFIE yet?
“I beseech you therefore, bretheren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Our weekly Christian devotional
Imagine a half-blind, tone-deaf elephant attempting to dance the jitter bug in the middle of a Sotheby’s Auction. As a new Christian, that’s exactly how I felt grappling with my authentic but awkward life in Christ.
I wanted to dance, because I was finally free! At times I could definitely hear the melodies of a beautiful song in my heart. Sadly, those tunes were mostly choppy and incomplete…most of them so short they made me question if I was really hearing anything at all… Every time I moved out in faith it wasn’t long before there was another casualty. Even in my sincere attempt to do right, I couldn’t accomplish it and this was beyond frustrating.
Those inspirations of the Holy Spirit were more like quick flashes of light rather than the steady warmth the sun. Despite how discouraging this was for me, I could tell something inside my heart was definitely changing.
My salvation is a radial testimony of the supernatural power of God overcoming the forces of darkness. But, little did I know that this was only the beginning of my journey into the unknown…
At the time I began my relationship with God, I was so broken, there wasn’t much I could do for myself; complete surrender to God was a survival choice. I desperately called out to Him and without missing a beat God swooped right in, whispering things about me that I’d never seen in myself. That was the beginning of the dim inner light flickering on.
For me, healing came like a slow steady drip; ‘Intravenous Holy Spirit’ is what I like to call it. Daily, I tapped into His spirit for strength to continue my commitment to forgive, love and change the awful way I engaged in life.
For some, this may sound easy. For me, it was the furthest thing from that. My broken heart was shattered in a million pieces; it had some pretty jagged edges and up until now, those edges were my best protection.
Daily, as I came to the Lord, I could feel that little flashlight inside growing stronger and brighter. Eventually, God began moving my heart to not only pray for forgiveness and love but to actually walk those lofty commitments out in my everyday life. His promptings led me to venture outside of my comfort zone and engage with the world in a vulnerable way again. I can’t explain how hard this is for one who’s experienced deep pain inflicted by others…
I knew God wanted to grow me out of this private shell of the healing that was occurring during our time together. In His infinite wisdom, He spoke to my heart that total healing wasn’t possible without opening my heart to others and making the choice to be vulnerable once again.
The world around me hadn’t changed very much but I was a different person. For the first time I wasn’t alone; God was with me, to guide, strengthen and heal me.
Alone in prayer, I always felt very strong. Wholeheartedly, I made big commitments to Him. But, it seemed as soon as the front door slammed behind me, that dormant elephant within would flail around; taking people out with every turn of faith I made. This battle of adjusting to the Christian life and understanding how to navigate it was harder than I’d imagined it would be! Despite the fact that I was no longer living in darkness, my jagged edges were definitely showing and causing others to bleed. This made me feel like such a failure and such a hypocrite!
Something had to change. As I reached out to my brothers and sisters in Christ, I found many ‘suggestions’ and ‘rules’ to follow. Although they always sounded ‘good’, none of it felt like freedom either. I was never ‘doing’ enough and I felt trapped in a new labyrinth: Instead of wanting to please myself, my new desire was to please God, but I was totally oblivious on how to do it or exactly what I should do to make Him happy. I’m not sure how it happened but in a very subtle way my commitment to God started to become all about doing ‘works’ to earn His favor and presence.
Because I had so few ‘good works’, I was very aware that they didn’t earn the freedom Christ died to give me His unconditional love, forgiveness and answers to prayer came at the height of my depravity! This gave me an understanding that God loved me in that pure kind of way that held no interest in me superficially ‘earing’ favor with Him.
I desperately needed to hear from God in a personal way. He spoke clearly through His word during my season of deliverance. Although my life has calmed down since then, my healing and understanding were still very incomplete. As an ignorant but sincere New Believer, I needed God’s clarity and guidance more than ever. I couldn’t read the Bible and have those words just hit my mind, I needed the Bible to penetrate my heart and give me personal revelations like they did when I first turned to God.
Because of this craving for intimacy and communication, I began to think of God in terms of relationships I enjoyed in the natural realm. This led to an internal epiphany:
“If I was talking with a dear friend and I wanted to hear her clearly, wouldn’t I close the door, turn off the television and focus my complete attention on her? Why shouldn’t I give God the same kind of respect?”
Hmmm…perhaps I wasn’t able to clearly hear from God because I was being inundated with too much stimulus.
So, I decided to do something about it. For a week I shut down my Facebook account, quit logging onto Twitter and turned off the television and radio. It didn’t take long to see how much ‘residue’ my spirit (and brain) picked up throughout the day—from disheartening news reports draining my hope, to competitive commercials reminding me to keep up with the who-evers, to those glossy magazines lauding airbrushed perfection not humanly possible; all of it was beyond distracting—no wonder I wasn’t hearing from God!
Because I’m aware of the nature and goodness of God, I was pretty certain it was never God that stopped talking to me. Unfortunately, there are countless other louder and flashier messages drowning out His still, small voice…
This made me wonder: what would happen if I turned off the television and radio for one whole year? What would God show me? What would I hear?
Since then, I’ve scaled back on life (and blogging) to spend more time in prayer and discover who I am in Christ. (I needed a clear distinction from what I do for Christ.)
It hasn’t been easy to make a conscious effort to do less and wait on God more. From what I can gander about the people who waited on God in the Bible, He’s reserved some pretty amazing things for those who are willing to stop, take a breath and just listen for a while…
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your patience with me. I get so antsy waiting for you to answer my prayers. I realize now that you’ve been waiting for me for a LONG time.
Today, I bow my head in repentance. God, you were never meant to be the servant of me; I was created to be a servant of you! When did this get flipped around? When did I stop appreciating Christ’s sacrifice and your mercy and grace? When did I make my life all about me again? Oh, I repent, Lord.
A certain coldness is enveloping the world and culture today; one that encourages a ‘mob’ mentality of pressure by the influence of popular opinion. Today, I resist the pressure to fit in. I reject the idea that my identity comes from my Instagram account, my Twitter friends, the size of my thighs or my bank account balance. I reject the lie that my value comes from anyone but you. Lord, show me why you created me.
You alone can show me the meaning of my life and my unique gifts. I was created to make a difference so help me okay with being different! Give me boldness to embrace my individuality as a gift from you.
I know there are certain friends and media outlets that I need to unplug from. Help me to obey you and do this with grace. Bless me with strength to follow through and not make an empty promise to you. I want to hear your voice and I’m putting anything aside that might prevent or obstruct that.
In Jesus’ name, I put you first, God. Your will be done in my life as it is in heaven. Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: Romans 12:1-2
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan
*To my loyal bloggers and readers, thanks for all your support and prayer despite my inconsistent posting. —jules