Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sex, Lies, and... (Part II of ???)

Most times, writing a post takes a total of 30(ish) minutes.

This post has now taken a total of six days. 

****Important side note:  This post is written to my fellow believers in Christ.****

So we're talking about the highly acclaimed  "50 Shades of Grey"book series and the wildly popular movie, Magic Mike.  

I don't think you need me to tell you that watching the aforementioned movie or reading the book is "wrong".  In fact, I'm fairly certain that, if you read the book series or bought a ticket to watch the movie, at some point you considered the thought yourself long before any of us mom-bloggers ever took to our keyboards to slap you on the wrist.  There's this thing inside of each of us (believers), placed there by God Himself, that tells us when we are getting a little too close to the fire- a little too close to the sin we're toying with.  It's the same thing that keeps us from having affairs, from stealing, from killing and acting on every impulse or temptation we experience.  It's not simply the knowledge of wrong and right or the threat of punishment- it's the Holy Spirit.  

But it's just a movie, you might say.  It's just a book!  What's the big deal?!?

Well, for starters:

"Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.   Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." James 4.
(had to look this one up)


The state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something

I know.  That sounded all "Super-Christian" and maybe even a little harsh for first thing in the morning.  But keep reading.  It gets better.  I originally avoided adding this scripture in because it's not really a "sweet" scripture.  It's not all "love" and sweet and cuddly. It's convicting and it cuts straight to the bone, straight to the core of some of our issues.  It reminds us that God is a jealous God and he is telling us that we cannot make choices like reading "mommy porn" and continue to consider ourselves "friends" of God.  We cannot continue to try to be friends with the world and call ourselves Christians.  I heard once that the word Christian means "little Christ" or "like Christ".  I'm pretty sure that when we make choices like we've been making, we aren't "like Christ" at all... and then we go to church on Sunday and raise our hands in praise, as if nothing has changed- when right next to our Bibles on our nightstand, sits our very own copy of 50 Shades of Grey.  

We are "double-minded" and He's calling us to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts.  

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."  Romans 12:1-2

And I think... well, if this is the case, isn't my mind a part of my body?  When I think about ALL He has done for me, I think, is putting these things into  my mind going to produce the results mentioned in the verses above?  Will my mind become a living and holy sacrifice?

Not so much.

And while we're still on the verses, let's talk about copying the behaviors and customs of this world.  Some translations call this "conforming to the world".  I've spent so much time conforming to the world, trying to fit in and be "cool" that I know I've missed out on some opportunities God has for me- and I've set no example for non-believers.  I've spent so much time blending in that I almost forgot I was designed to stand out. I'm not sure about you, sister, but I desperately want to be transformed into a new person.  I've been ignorant, selfish, prideful, arrogant... and the entire list would occupy this entire page, so I'll spare you.  But I need Him to transform me.  On my own, I can never become the woman He created me to be.  On my own, I can never accomplish His will.  On my own, I'm just... on my own.  

But that's not all.  Reading on, we see: 

" For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves.  If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead."  Romans 14:7-9

LORD: (noun) a person who has authority, controlor power over others; master, chief, or ruler.

He died and rose again to be our Lord- not to be "that guy" we talk about at church on Sundays, or the reason we bow our heads at the dinner table.  He wanted to be our Lord... even at the movies or when we're reading in our spare time.  

But do we want Him to be our Lord?  

I think this is a question we all need to consider.  I mean, I was okay living life on my own- getting by, making my own way.  I had my "fire insurance" (that's when you're 12, and at youth camp the speaker tells you to turn or burn, so you turn because you don't want to burn).  But I heard this the other day and it made me think- life insurance isn't for life, is it?  Life insurance is preparation for when you die.  So to have "life insurance" in the form of salvation is simply protection- like a "GET OUT OF HELL FREE" card.  

But that's not why we're here, is it? 

And if it is, in the mean time.... we should....???  

If we were meant to live, have a good time, and die, wouldn't life be so much easier if we could just do what feels right in the moment?  What ever happened to do first, ask forgiveness later?

"A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.John 10:10

Life.  In all of its fullness.  Not preparation for when you die, but life.  In all of its fullness.  And I thought- so maybe we're meant to experience a different kind of life.  Maybe this whole "Christian" title isn't just our means of insurance or a way we can feel better about ourselves after a week of doing our own thing.  Maybe it's a way that we can live- really, really live.  

But just before that, it says the thief comes to do what?  To STEAL.  To KILL.  To DESTROY.  The thief (that's Bible talk for the Devil, the enemy, Satan) has one mission- to steal, kill, and destroy.  And you know how he will accomplish this plan?  One person, one thought at a time.  He has waged an all out war against our minds and has determined that if he can distract us a little with these thoughts, then little by little, he will whittle our defenses.  

I've watched marriages crumble and fall because of addictions to pornography, affairs, selfishness- all of which start with just one look, just one thought, just one time.   And based on the recent numbers of women who are flocking to theaters by the MILLIONS and downloading copies of these books by the tens of millions, I have a feeling a new epidemic is on the rise.  Once we begin to make allowances for these thoughts in our minds (and in the minds of our brothers and sisters in Christ), we give the Devil a foothold.  And once our defenses are completely destroyed, we lose our focus.  Then we become "comfortable".  

Comfortable.  I cannot remember one scene in Braveheart when the warriors survived by lounging on the couch with their Snuggies and a cup of coffee... comfortable.

No.  Braveheart was a warrior who was always in the state of mind, a state of readiness- remembering the ongoing war.  
"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere." Ephesians 6:10-18
This isn't a matter of a book or a movie.  This isn't a matter of you and me.  This is a matter of life and death- it's something most people don't even talk about in church, let alone outside of church.  

It's war- like nothing we've ever seen.  

And the weapons... fiery arrows.  Sometimes they come in the form of self condemnation.  "I'm not a good wife.  I'm not a good mom.  I'm not thin enough.  I'm not smart enough.  I'm not attractive enough." Sometimes they come in the form of anger or pride "I can handle this.  It's just one time.  Why should I change?  I'm fine the way I am.  I don't need help."  Sometimes they come in the form of discontent or depression.  "I don't have enough... I don't have any reason to live.  I can't get out of bed today."  They usually come in a voice that sounds like your own and they are almost never obvious- to the naked eye.

And do you see that?  They always sound like rational thoughts.  They aren't crazy.  They seem like things you might say or think to yourself.

But to the eye of the one who made us- the one who gave us the Holy Spirit, they are obvious.  That's why we are called to put on the full armor of God.  Not like we were taught in Sunday School, but really, truly, prepare ourselves, body, mind, and spirit so we can "stand firm against all the strategies of the devil."  

Friends, He has called us to live lives that honor Him.  We read it in Romans14:7-9

" For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves.  If we live, it’s to honor the LordAnd if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead."  Romans 14:7-9

I don't know about you, but I want to live this way:  to honor the Lord.  

Just a thought.

More on the subject tomorrow... or six days from now.   Before I go for today, I'll leave you with this.

"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.  But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.  When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.  Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another."

No Longer I,

The Real Life Mom. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sex, Lies, and... (PART I of II)

Nah- no videotape (for those of you who are not old enough to get the reference, you might want to stop reading here).  

So what's this post all about?  Sex, right?  Perhaps.

I'm really writing to address the wildly popular book series called "50 Shades of Grey" and the newest (and most highly anticipated and praised) movie Magic Mike.   

No, I'm not a pastor, not a judge, not a Bible-beater or a fire-and-brimstone teacher, and not claiming to know everything there is to know about what the Bible says on the topic, but none-the-less, I feel compelled to share these thoughts with you, so here goes.  

No, I'm not writing about sex before marriage.  

No, it's not a list of dos and don'ts or a slap on the wrist for all of the fans of the aforementioned book and/ or the movie.

I want to share this blog with you.  CLICK HERE   This is the blog of a lady (whom I've never met or heard of before last night) who shared very similar opinions to those that are rolling around inside of my brain.  She penned several thoughts that I echo, and I applaud both her raw honesty and her boldness to come forward knowing she'd be in the minority.  Her name is Melissa Jenna.  Please take a moment to check out what she's written and then come back to read my response.

You might be surprised.

If you've never read this post (CLICK HERE) from last year, you might also want to take a look.

See you in a few!