Does your culture inform your Christianity or does your Christianity inform your culture?
Everyone needs grace, everyone needs encouragement, even you. Often times we are our own harshest critics, but why? What would you be able to accomplish if you believed in you?
What do you do when someone you love or care about is racing into a head-on collision? What do you do when someone is about to make a detrimental mistake?
My first instinct, of course, is to jump in and be a hero, but what if that’s not the right answer? What if, instead of fixing someone, we’re just supposed to love them?
You, with your specific gifting and life experience, are valuable to the Body of Christ. It’s so tempting to look at the gifts of others and become envious of what they have or have been afforded. But that’s the wrong perspective, but an easy trap to fall into. Instead of being jealous of another person, what if we devoted that energy toward practicing and honing the gift that God has given us?
Prayer isn’t a tool to be used to correct someone else, but to correct yourself. Whether you’re married or not, looking or not, happy or not, pray for your spouse. And when you do, pray for yourself. I’m not talking about selfish prayers, but selfless prayers.
Church is weird and church people are even weirder. But, does that have to be a bad thing? Being selfless is weird. Being devoted is weird. Building relationships is uncomfortable. Doing live together and being accountable to someone is just downright strange. Exhibiting the characteristics of love and joy and peace and patience and kindness are all out of the ordinary. But all of these things are desperately needed. In a society that’s hurting and looking for answers, maybe a little of that weirdness isn’t so bad.
What do we do with lies? We combat them with the truth. When your thoughts begin to return to that dark, twisty place say “No. I am fearfully and wonderfully made” or “I am His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works”. But instead of reciting these verses from rote, learn what they mean. What does it mean, practically, for me to be a masterpiece of God? How does God’s masterpiece act? What does it mean to be fearfully and wonderfully made?
What if, instead of thinking of purity as a sacrifice we do because it’s the “right thing”, we focused on the reward it brings?
The only thing that will cancel out the hurt and expunge the record of wrongs is forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t letting a person off the hook or inviting them to hurt you again, it’s a way of saying “I don’t like what you did, but I’m willing to not hold it against you for my sake and yours”. Let’s do our part to stop the cycle of hurt and abuse. Let’s try a better way; let’s love and forgive instead.
Timothy had a great calling on his life, yet Paul knew that Timothy, as we do, had the tendency to want to shrink back from that call and remain inactive, a much less terrifying place to be. God has called us to be fearless and fight that tendency to stay stuck. But it’s so much more than that! Fear usually leads to rash or unwise decisions but God has given us the tools to fight against that as well: power, love, a calm mind, a well-balanced mind, discipline, and self-control.