Christlikeness or Worldliness?

I swiped the tears that leaked out of my eyes like a child would, sorrow punctuating my every word as I confided with my husband about something that had deeply bothered me. The moment I saw it on Facebook, I was overwhelmed with dismay and at once, my sprit sank to the ground. How fast can a Facebook post make one so depressed! Her peace is shaken and there is even a threat of stumbling in her faith walk. How sad it is when one unthinkingly (or even unintentionally) puts a stumbling block on one’s brother’s or sister’s path!

stumbling block

On the afternoon that I saw it, I curled up on my side and tried to process how I would fight the threat of losing zeal in serving God. I knew that my love for the Lord Jesus Christ would never wane or change no matter the circumstances, but the quality of my service may be affected nonetheless. That is, if I didn’t address it seriously as I should. For the things that may cause one to stumble in her faith walk are matters of grave importance and should not be shoved aside or tolerated or ignored.

Like a very disappointed child who has not received the birthday gift he or she has ardently prayed for and wished for upon a star on many a starry night, I felt that my unceasing prayers for “that particular thing” which touches my faith life and confidence in the place where the Lord has sown me, had come to nought, clearly and completely. And I was devastated. I didn’t know where to run to. Who would listen? Who would understand how you struggle against weariness of spirit and feelings of discouragement and utter disappointment because of the things you see which you have diligently prayed for not to ever see?

What if they are all looking at the very same thing differently? Or maybe that they will rather choose to look the other way?

But my spirit within me wouldn’t quiet down. I think that it is not a bad thing to be so deeply affected of the things that matter most to our spiritual walk. For if your spirit is so stirred up within you in such a way that you break down in tears, you need to listen to it and address it accordingly. You will not stuff it all somewhere without processing it for it might grow into a hard lump of resentment and bitterness that could be deadly, like cancer.

When your spirit is stirred up within you because you believe the Word has not been lived well, I think that is a good thing. It is the Holy Spirit’s conviction. You are deeply affected by such spiritual things because they matter most to you. How we react or respond is what we need to ponder on and pray for.

And that’s exactly what I did. There was nowhere or no one to run to but to the Lord Jesus Himself. I confessed the turmoil swirling in my heart and mind, the heaviness upon my soul. I poured out to Him every detail. I so needed His help.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Pet. 5:6-7)

A considerable amount of peace descended upon me (but not yet complete for I knew that there would be more wrestlings in spirit and prayer regarding that matter following that afternoon). But I was comforted with the Holy Spirit’s gentle whisper to my heart that I must focus my attention on my own faith walk and do my best to be acceptable and pleasing in God’s eyes, that I should not start making changes in my life just because other Christians are doing it. My decision in living a simple and modest life, as much as possible, free of any frivolity and superfluity, must not be affected by any of the things that I see around me.

A Christ follower must not be “keeping up with the Joneses”.

What the Word vehemently teaches and the Holy Spirt’s guidance on living a life that is Christ-lke – that I must fastidiously follow and the Lord will be most delighted. Still, I know I need to pray more that worldliness should not define the lives of God’s children. These thoughts that ran their course in my heart that afternoon pacified my troubled mind.

The threads of our lives must be woven into this: the simplicity of Christ. Why, as the King of kings, would He choose to be born in a hay-laden manger in a dark and dank stable rather than in a gilded palace, if He didn’t want to make a very grave statement of living a godly life and not a worldly one?

Apostle Paul wrote:

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. ((1 Tim. 6:8)

And yet, God is so generous He showers us with even more. We do not only have food and clothing, we also have beautiful homes, sleek cars, gadgets, appliances, etc. But must we live in lavishness just because we can? Should we not live within the limits which a life of simplicity and modesty dictates? Should we rather share our abundance with the less fortunate brethren who, to begin with, may not even have proper food and clothing, than to fill ourselves more than necessary?

Should material blessings be taken to the extreme? More houses, more cars, more expensive gadgets, more, more, more! Isn’t that already crossing the line between Christlikeness and worldliness? Should sky be the limit?

I have a story about this that involves my husband. In 2008, I found out that he was planning to buy a secondhand BMW X5. For those not in the know, that is an SUV, and although secondhand, I didn’t even want to think about the price. I confronted him about it with tears and implored him not to push through with his plan. Our days of worldliness were past and he knew that. And, why was it that while I was desperately focusing on my healing, he was eyeing a BMW SUV?!  I quoted Bible verses such as 1 John 2:16:

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

To no avail. That BMW X5 was one of many which the great flood of 2009 was able to destroy. It stayed in the machine shop for many years and needed countless repairs and hard-to-find, expensive spare parts before he could even use it again.

Now, my husband is not really a frivolous man, but he said that he wanted to taste driving such a fine vehicle. The desire and temptation were too great for him that, unfortunately, he gave in to it.

When others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, see our propensity to embrace luxury and superfluity, how would that affect them? For those who do not have, they may harbor envy, covetous thoughts, or self-pity. Or simply that they may feel depressed. For those who have, this may encourage them to have more and live more lavishly. Either way, we are causing them to stumble.

Apostle Paul wrote:

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. (Rom. 14: 13, emphasis added)

We are not to judge, yes. But most important of all, we are not to put a stumbling block on our brother’s or sister’s way. We do not live alone. We live responsibly and conscientiously, as shining lights to others and not as stumbling blocks.

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Linking up with Sharing His BeautyTrue StoriesTell His StoryWise WomenCoffee for Your HeartFaith Filled Friday.

Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. BettieG says:

    Oh, I am so blessed by your heart of conviction and openness before God. As I was reading this and praying, the Scripture that you shared from 1 Peter really touched my heart: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” And, I felt that I could see how impossible it is for us to really cast our cares on Him unless we are willing to be humbled before Him. But what a precious gift from Him–to be allowed to give ourselves over to Him so completely! May the Lord bless you today!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you so much, Bettie. Yes, accessing the throne of grace at any time and throwing ourselves at the Father’s feet for whatever we need, especially peace, is a great blessing indeed. Blessings to you as well.

  2. Hi Rina,
    I’m your neighbor at Coffee for your Heart today and your post brings up so many good points! It is funny isn’t it, what a Facebook post can do to make us a variety of emotions we thought we were immune to? So grateful our identity lies in who God says we are and we can gather strength from that feeling so thankful for all that he’s brought to our lives on our life’s pathway that is unique to us and fit for us through his loving hands!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Yes, Valerie. It’s so easy to be distracted from our own faith journey sometimes, esp. when we focus on others’ faith walk and be deeply affected by what we see. We need to remember to turn our eyes on the Lord Jesus and how we are following and obeying Him.

  3. Visiting from Coffee for your Heart. So many ways we can lose our focus on the things of the Lord. I love that you recognized and instead of stuffing your feelings as I have been known to do you turned to the Lord for your comfort and you realized that He alone could bring the healing that you needed.

    • RinaPeru says:

      I’ve written a few times before that the road that leads to my Savior is a well-worn road. I run to Him for whatever I need or is distressing me. Yes, He alone can.

  4. Hazel Moon says:

    I remember praying that my husband would not purchase some property he desired to build us a new house. God spoke to me and said, “Hazel haven’t I been good to you?” I replied, “Yes Lord.” Then is it okay with you if I do something good for your husband?” I immediately repented and told my husband to go ahead with his plans. There does come a time when our desires are not God’s will and that is another story that we suffered with. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    • RinaPeru says:

      What distresses me is the seeming lavishness of the things of this world that I believe do not really have an impact on eternity and can also affect others’ faith walk. Blessings, dear Hazel.

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