Christians Aren't Called to Live a Tidy Life

Living a holy life is very different from living a tidy life. Life is bound to throw us some curve balls.

Ten—even five years ago I was the young wife and mom reading all the books and Bible verses on Christian parenting, keeping house, and being the most excellent wife I could be. I’m what you might call a rule-follower; a do-gooder; the “good girl”.

Yet in my 19th year of marriage and 17th year of being a mom, I find myself more desperate for Jesus than ever. While reading books, Scripture and striving to walk in wisdom has equipped me tremendously in my roles, they have not (and could not) save me from the trials that have ensued.

Being a Christian Doesn’t Automatically Erase Your Troubles

Don’t misunderstand, striving to be the best mom and wife and person you can be is not bad—in fact, it is commendable. But doing so won’t solve all your problems or protect you from hardship, heartache, temptation or even sin. Instead it offers us a life that pleases God and helps prevent dire consequences by our own hands. It minimizes the amount of troubles and negative consequences brought on by our own hand. But it doesn’t eliminate them.

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
~Proverbs 14:1 (NLT)

I wholeheartedly believe in serving our families and loving them well because that’s what God calls us to do. But what happens when this looks different then we imagined? In fact, what if our very ideas of what loving our family looks like are a far cry from reality? What if loving someone isn’t supposed to be done on our terms?

Living a holy life is very different from living a tidy life. Life is bound to throw us some curve balls. These are the moments that refine us…like gold in the fire, God is removing the dross so that we can shine. But that can’t be done without going through the fire, first.

Love is Messy Because People are Messy

Loving people can get messy. Because love is not self-seeking. And people are messy. We just are. We all bring a different story, experience, and even genetics to the mix that make us who we are. But that isn’t the end of the story. God continues to mold and refine us when we let Him. And He works on us all at different paces.

Maybe you’re dealing with depression or have a loved one who is depressed. Maybe you find yourself in a destructive relationship. Maybe you have adopted children who are super challenging. Maybe you are living with a chronic illness (or with a loved one who has chronic illness or injury). I mean really, the list is endless with ailments lovers of Jesus can go through.

Christianity is Not a Cure for Trials

Being a Christian does not exempt us from such trials. And being a Christian, we ought to have compassion on one another and encourage each other daily. We are supposed to help the body of Christ—our own brothers and sisters in the Lord—when they stumble or are in need. We should not be pushing or turning people away when they come to us for help.

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.
~Matthew 5:45b

Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.
~1 Peter 4:12

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
~1 Thessalonians 5:11

Christians are supposed to look different than the world, not superior to it. ~Christin Slade

My encouragement to you today friends is this:

If you think your life is a mess, it’s not tidy, it doesn’t look like the “ideal Christian life”, take heart. There is no ideal Christian life. Yes, we can (and should) put our best foot forward. But we shouldn’t hide behind this mask of the ideal Christian when life is not ideal. The only ideal is loving and following Christ with your whole heart. Our circumstances do not define us or how well we love or serve God. But how we respond to those circumstances is what speaks the love of Christ, not only to the world, but to those around us.

And when we do make mistakes, are we owning our mistakes…our sin, and doing what’s necessary to make it right? Are we forgiving those who have hurt us or sinned against us, even in the deepest, most hurtful ways? These are the messes I’m referring to. Forgiving may not mean reconciling, but forgiveness releases us from a prison of our own making.

What I’m Not Saying

I’m not talking about the kind of messes we’re in because we’re lazy Christians, doing whatever we desire and are not striving to love Christ with all we are. I’m talking about the messes that come even WHILE we’re loving Christ with all that we are. Even when we stumble because we deceived ourselves but have come to repentance. We all fall into sin…some with greater natural consequences than others. Some (like addictions) with ongoing consequences.

There is no one way a Christian is supposed to look or “appear”. Are we to be set apart? Absolutely!

We are supposed to look different than the world, not superior to it.

We’re called to have compassion on people and love even our enemies. That’s what sets us apart. We’re supposed to avoid evil, but we don’t always do that. So when we find ourselves ensnared, we need to do what needs to be done to get out. And then work through those consequences—-which can be messy.

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This is true if we are on the receiving end of the one who’s doing the hurting. It’s messy. It’s gritty. It’s raw. But it’s real.

I won’t pretend to have all the answers and you don’t have to either.

We’re commanded to love God with everything we are.

And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'
~Mark 12:30

And we’re commanded to love others as we love ourselves.

The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."
~Mark 12:31

God never said it would be easy, tidy, neat or exclusive. He simply commanded we love.

For His Glory,

Christin
ChristinSlade.com

The Promises of God Come With a Cost

While God does promise us eternal life, there are still conditions which we must meet in order to receive that promise.

God makes us some pretty amazing and remarkable promises throughout His Word. He promises to be faithful, to be our strength, to never fail us or abandon us, and to guide us--just to name a few. As a mom who is raising children to live for Christ, these are promises I cling to. There is no greater mission field than my home while my children are living there and under my care.

But did you also know that many of His promises don't come without specific conditions being met first? Such as the promise of everlasting life. While God does promise us eternal life, there are still conditions which we must meet in order to receive that promise.

1. We must confess we have sinned. (Romans 10:9)

2. We must repent of our sin (by leaving the sinful life behind). (Acts 3:19)

3. We must believe in Christ's death and resurrection. (Romans 10:9; Mark 16:16)

4. We must work out our salvation. (Philippians 2:12-13)

These are not comfortable conditions. While they will indeed set us free, being faced with our own sin is painful and then leaving behind those things we've grown accustomed to doing is also a sacrifice. Furthermore, working out our salvation by allowing Jesus to mold our hearts and purge out the ugly is not a pleasant process. There are many things He will require of us as we grow in righteousness and most of them are not comfortable.

These conditions require molding the heart and as the heart is molded, our actions should follow.

If we are not moved with compassion for the hurting or lost, then we need to pray for God to remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

We find our comforts in many worldly things:

  • Money
  • Food
  • Entertainment
  • A Comfortable Home
  • A Nice Car
  • A Rewarding Job
  • Shopping
  • Freedom
  • A Good Education
  • Books/Podcasts/Blogs/Information
  • Pastors/Evangelists/Bible Teachers/Christian Leaders

When we have all these comforts to rely on, where do we have room to rely on God? Where does God fit into a life that seems to have it all? I find this question of particular interest to Americans.

God's Word is consistent about telling us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), put others before ourselves (Philippians 2:3), honor others first (Romans 12:10), and love each other deeply (1 Peter 1:22).

The Bible also communicates at great length about serving God (Matthew 4:10), serving others (1 Peter 4:10), and giving to the poor (Matthew 19:21).

As I've pondered living the comfortable life, I noticed many people deem it as "the blessings of God". Indeed, God does bless us with some comforts...some. But they are never meant to be hoarded or take the place of God in reliance.

I'm reminded of Solomon, whom God not only blessed with wisdom, but also riches. He told Solomon that...

"If you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom..." ~2 Chronicles 7:17-18

God's promise here was made on an "if" condition Solomon had to follow. God made another promise to Solomon if he turned away from God:

"But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house [the Temple] which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples."
~2 Chronicles 7:19-20

The more comfortable I become, the more uncomfortable it makes me. It reminds me I'm not in a place God can use me because I'm too caught up in my own satisfaction.

Being a disciple comes with great cost. But it also comes with a desire to serve God in a greater capacity. The more you seek God, the more you'll willingly give up to serve Him.

But remember, as you seek out the promises of God and claim them, often they don't come without a cost or sacrifice. God wants to take you deeper and that often requires letting go of our own desires and stepping out into uncertainty--which is often very uncomfortable. But He is always there with you.

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

Why It's Critical to Feed Your Spiritual Life Daily

Just a few reasons why we need to seek God daily to keep our spiritual lives strong and always focused on Him.

I see it all the time. Christians are worn down, not just physically, but spiritually. We are fighting battles we are not equipped to fight. We've lost joy, purpose, and are always focused on our circumstances; allowing them to dictate where we put our faith and our level of love and trust in God.

Serving God Shouldn't Be Circumstantial

If things aren't going well, we think God is out to get us or we are being punished for some past sin. We are worn out from the struggle and don't know what to do next. But this isn't the way a Christian was ever meant to live. I'm not suggesting our lives are always going to go the way we want. But God has given us Himself and rarely do we see Him as enough. Rarely do we go to Him on a daily basis (not just when things get bad) to ask for strength, wisdom, and a pouring out of Himself on us.

When things are going well, we think we have it all handled, so what need is there for God? What purpose do we have going to Him when our life is going well? Why bother with the Bible when we think we have the answers--the solutions that sound good and logical?

But the problem is, God isn't just a God of our circumstances. He is the Creator of our very beings...everything we have, everything we are, everything we've become, and everything we've been forgiven comes from God. He doesn't want to just be Lord of our circumstances. He wants to be Lord of our lives. Our whole lives.

Here's a handful of reasons why we need to seek God daily to keep our spiritual lives strong and always focused on Him. This is by no means exhaustive and are in no particular order.

1. To Mature and Grow as Christians

Sadly, I see a lot of Christians who don't even know God's word on popular issues today. People falsely believe that God will have the same ideas as them because they see their ideas as "good and logical".

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12 ESV

Reading God's Word daily ensures we know the Truth about what is good and acceptable and holy. This is God's desire for us as His children. Then we need to live it out.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16

2. To Build an Intimate Relationship With Christ

There are a lot of people who speak for Jesus without hardly knowing Him at all. Going back to the above point...we often believe that because we believe a certain way that Jesus does, too, and frequently that isn't the case.

We cannot know Jesus if we never get on our faces before Him, deny ourselves and what we think we believe, and give ourselves to Him. This isn't about head knowledge. It's about walking in the Spirit.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16

We cannot know Jesus if we never get on our faces before Him, deny ourselves, and what we think we believe. -Christin Slade

 

It's also about understanding our deep need for Him. Without Jesus, we cannot do anything. We are sinners who are lost and separated from God. Believing in Him is not enough for salvation.

You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
James 2:19 NLT

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV

Once we recognize our deep need for Jesus and His work on the cross, we are compelled to act. It's a deep work of the heart from the Spirit that moves us to action. If you have not yet experienced that work, I urge you to get before God and pray for that revelation and heart-work. It is necessary to for intimacy with Christ.

3. To Suit Up for Battle

When soldiers train, they don't typically do it on the battlefield. They do it before heading to the battlefield. (Though history shows that hasn't always been the case--but the results were catastrophic).

We need to learn to arm ourselves and use those weapons before we actually require them. We are in a spiritual war--constantly. We need to know how to fight off the attacks of the Enemy. The lies, the deception, the discouragement, the temptations. Satan is always prowling around, poking at our weaknesses, looking to gain a foothold in our lives.

When we aren't armed with God's Word and seeking Him in prayer, we will be unable to successfully fight off these attacks.

It is crucial we recognize and understand our need for God, whether our lives are going well or not. God is not a God of circumstances, but of LIFE. And without Him, there is only death.

For His Glory,

Christin Slade

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