I try to keep it real when I write. I admit failures and try to exhort others along the lines of where I could use an extra boost of encouragement, prayer and self-control.
And, yet, sometimes I feel like a huge hypocrite. (Aren't we all?) I am sometimes unclear if it is conviction from the Holy Spirit or a taunting from the Enemy. But just to be clear, I am too-often a snappy, impatient, self-centered wife, Mama, daughter, sister, friend. I have hurt people I care about with my tone and my tongue in the last 24 hours. I need God. I know this about myself and really hope I never come across as trying to portray myself as anything else. I am not trying to glamorize my struggle. It is what it is.
I am not writing this in an attempt to berate myself--just as a reminder. I write, not as one who has it all together, but as one who is striving. We all need God's grace and presence in our life. Especially those of us who are professing it. I love the Lord. I seek to follow Him with my life. I truly believe He is who He says He is--and that I am who He says I am--a fallen woman in need of His grace, wisdom and love.
If you have read this blog for long you know I LOVE the Message translation--not as a replacement for more traditional versions of the Bible, but as a fresh look at Scripture we have often heard before. My absolute favorite passage in the Message is Romans 12.
1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
4-6In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.
6-8If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.
Whew! What marching orders...Trying to do that out of my own strength will certainly lead to hypocrisy. There is no way to do that without His help.