Monday, January 9, 2017

Do I really want to be godly, or just more put together?

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There are so many things in my life that I would like to change. I long to be more disciplined; to go to bed early, to get up super early, to be consistent and excellent in maintaining a clean and orderly home. 

I want to be a much better mom; to never yell or speak unkindly, to build amazingly close and sweet relationships with my growing kids, to discipline consistently and compassionately. 

I'd like to be a way better wife; to only speak words that build Niall up, to be his biggest cheer leader and helper. 

I want my house to be organized and decorated just-so, to look less like a random collection of hand me down furniture and messes, and more like a Real Simple magazine. 




While we're discussing all of the things I'd like to change, I'll go ahead and admit that I wish I was one of those women who did her hair, wore make-up, and looked sharp every day. If I could just manage to always keep my nails painted {never chipping!] I would feel very put together.

There's the rub. In all my longing for self-improvement, so often I mistake a desire for a better version of myself as a desire for holiness. None of these desires are necessarily bad, but many {if not all} of them are infinitely less important than what my number one desire ought to be- knowing, glorifying, and mirroring Christ. 

Painted nails and tidy homes and self-discipline are lovely things. They can certainly come from the overflow of a heart deeply in love with Christ. And I do believe that growth in grace leads to greater discipline, a greater capacity for working heartily, and greater faithfulness in all of these areas of our lives. 

But having a heart that revels in the Gospel means that my identity and affirmation isn't found in how "put together" I am. My first pursuit isn't meant to be a more glorious version of myself. My first pursuit is meant to be intimacy with the Living God. No more, no less. 



It's a New Year! That is so refreshing and exciting. I certainly have goals and areas of my life that I'd like to make improvements in. Perhaps you do too. In all the excitement and pursuit of these ideals, let's remember to seek first His Kingdom. 


When you fall short of your lofty expectations, don't berate and belittle yourself. Remember that Christ has paid the penalty for all of your sins. He has clothed you in beautiful robes of His righteousness. You are accepted and welcome and beloved. Not because of who you are or what you've done, but because of who Jesus is and what He has done. You, sweet sister, on your bad day with your messy hair and your sweat pants and your disaster house. You are loved and welcomed. 

When you are hitting every ball out of the park, and your house is sparkling and your family is living in sweet harmony and you managed to shower and put on make-up and your manicure is spot-on, rejoice! But don't rejoice in the glory of your great put-togetherness. Rejoice in the glory of knowing and being known by God. Rejoice that despite all of your filthy-rag "righteousness," you are accepted and welcomed simply because God has shown great mercy to you, a great sinner. Use all of that sweet put-togetherness to serve, build-up, and extend grace to others. 

You can be very godly in the middle of a mess {financial, housekeeping, family, what have you}. You can be very ungodly in the midst of what appears to be great perfection. And vice versa. So whichever situation we find ourselves in today, let's check our hearts and make sure our eyes are on Christ and His glory, not ourselves and vainglory.

Let's pursue Christ together this year {and every year!}. Let's not measure our status by the externals, but keep our hearts grounded in the humbling security and life-giving freedom of the Gospel. 

                     

     For good Gospel grounding and encouragement, these three books are at the top of my list.

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