Stay Fly Girls!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Inner Substance vs. Exterior Materialism

Many of us know this girl, the one who greets you with a big smile and hug then proceeds to say "That top/ dress/ bag/ shoe is so cute! Where did you get it?". No evil eye. No hateful stare. Just a determined and transfixed plan to find out the details of the particular item she is focused on today. In the hierarchy of materialism, labels are worth more than fabrics, and status is based on material possessions. Now in the name of full disclosure, I do like myself a sassy bag/ shoe/ bauble on my person or in my possession. We all do, right? But I have to quell my natural desire to purchase too much material finery, lest I shift my focus on my stuff instead of my Savior.

The trap of materialism takes on many forms with each lady. One girl may not want anything that doesn't have a designer label. One girl may constantly acquire new things, any thing, just to have more. Another may not accept small or mid-sized anything, but instead desire to have the biggest everything - house on the block, car amongst her friends, diamond amongst her co-workers. Do any of these descriptions sound familiar?

Recently I was tasked to complete a project on a sin I have been delivered from and I choose Idolatry. Now my ole' time Christian understanding of idolatry was worshiping other god's above the Lord Jesus. Well, of course I didn't do that! But in gaining a deeper understanding of the term, I learned that craving the things that our conventional society tells us we should have is idolatry. Working extra hard just to get more stuff is idolatry. Focusing on material possessions to mask your internal character flaws is idolatry. Elevating people based on what they have or how they look is idolatry. Materialism is idolatry.

So, ladies scoop up your receipts and return your designer handbags, shred your department store credit cards, and trade in your luxury car for a modest economy car. Not so much, huh... Well let's at least make a commitment to God to honor Him in our outward appearance and our inward thoughts. God's focus is on your heart; your heart is the soil for your thoughts, your thoughts grow your outward actions and appearance. Ask yourself if a spot in your heart is filled when you acquire something that has external value. Then listen to how your inner self answers the question - is it a "yes, but with explanation"? Examine your explanation. As Christian girls we know who God is and His power to fill every void in our life and heart, but as human girls we have to put that knowledge in to action. That's the hard part.

God does not care where your suit was purchased or which season your handbag is from. God wants your whole heart - and if part of your heart is taken up by the things you have or want He can't get into your heart like He really wants to! You may not have to look in your closet and start giving things away, but hey, if the shoe fits...give it to me. (just kidding) If material possessions are driving a wedge between you and your walk with God, decide how to overcome this challenge. Whether by renewing your mind, changing your thought life, or changing your heart, shift your focus from the possessions to God. Remember "Seek ye first he Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33. That which you seek you can only find in God.

Stay fly girls!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Great Transformation

"And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

One of the first CD series I ordered from a radio ministry was by Dr. R.C. Sproul.  Great teacher; although he can be more descriptive than my little pea brain can handle.  His radio ministry is called "Renewing Your Mind", which I thought was a nice program title - short and accurate according to the focus of his ministry.  But how interesting it was for me to find this title in Romans 12:2.  "Hmmm, that guy is pretty clever."  I thought.  Little did I know! As I started to grow closer in my walk with Christ I gained a level of understanding for this passage of scripture that was indescribable.  So was the beginning of my great transformation...

As women in the world today, we are faced with continuous images and reminders of what "the world" finds acceptable.  Mainstream media and culture is just that, the main-stream that everyone follows and measures themselves against.  But the first part of this verse makes everything clear: "And be not conformed to this world," (People try to make it confusing, but the word of God is so crystal clear sometimes, isn't it?)  The New Living Translation says, "Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world".  Easier said than done, right?.

TV shows, music on the radio, movies, magazines, computer and cell phone apps, they all promote and encourage the conformity of society to the world view and image.  We have to go out of our way not to be overly exposed to the mainstream view of normal.  I cut off my cable TV subscription and haven't turned a television in my house in 12 months.  Extreme?  Yup; to some of you it may be.  But that's what I had to do to start the transformation process.  For some of you it may mean ending your subscriptions to certain magazines.  For others it may mean not watching certain shows or TV channels.  God convicts the heart of those who love Him and search for His truth.

"But be transformed by the renewing of your mind," - Now we get down to the nuts and bolts!  Transformation by the renewing of your mind.  This is where God gives us the foot print of how to navigate this journey that is the Christian life.  You are not the same as you were before salvation.  Although you may do some of the same things, and have some of the same problems, you are not the same.  Sin is bondage, and we were born into sin, therefore we were born into bondage.  Think of your redemption through Christ as your breakout from bondage.  Like in the movie Shawshank Redemption - you are breaking out of jail.  Chipping away slowly at the rock wall built around your heart and wading through sewer lines to climb to your freedom!  This is the best visual I can paint for your mind renewal.  Not a pretty picture, I know, but work with me.

Ephesians 5:22-23 says "Throw off your evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.  Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes."  We have to think differently ladies.  When we think differently we act differently.  This leads to the third and last point of the passage..."that you prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  Wow!  Did you feel that?  The power of God living and breathing in His word?!

When you think differently - not being conformed to this world...
You act differently - being transformed by the renewing of your mind...
Then you prove God's perfect will to yourself and to others - a testimony that God's plan is good and acceptable and perfect...How awesome is that! (I think I just wrote a sermon.  Look out Billy Graham!)

God gives us the outline all in one verse.  Don't get me wrong, God summed it up in a nice little package but this is not going to be an easy journey. (cue Shawshank visual)  But believe me, the tools you need to dig yourself out of the bondage of sin and this world are all in His word.  This verse is your little spoon, and the bible is the big poster protecting the big hole you have dug out to break free of your bondage. 

Renew your mind.  Change your thought life.  Free yourself from the world's mainstream view and practices.  Pull out your little spoon girls and get to work.  I'm rooting for you!