Lately at work, I've been building a database from an old excel file and as anyone who has done that before knows, it involves lots of mindless data entry. Which, not so coincidentally has coincided with the Revive our Hearts series on the Proverbs 31 Woman (True Woman Makeover) so I've been able to listen to that as I work. I hadn't ever heard of that group or Nancy Leigh DeMoss before but I am thoroughly enjoying the series.
If you are a Christian woman, whether complementarian or egalitarian, I urge you to read/listen to at least the first one of these talks. I know a lot of my friends are egalitarian and I'm not suggesting you listen to necessarily be convinced and change your evil way of thinking (said in best deep and condescending way imaginable, lol) but more to understand the other point of view and why complementarians like myself feel the way we do. I get so much out of reading other peoples' explanations of what they believe the Bible is saying about a certain subject, whether that is quiver-full movement or dress-only or Halloween celebrators or non-Halloween celebrators. I obviously have not changed my thinking to agree with all of them but in most cases, it helps me to see them not as "people who believe weird things" but as people with different convictions (think 1 Corinthians 8). I obviously think my way has more scriptural merit or it wouldn't be what I believe, but I recognize that others feel differently.
Personally, this series has really had convicted me in several areas and inspired me to work on them. Of course, as soon as I felt the Holy Spirit telling me I needed to let him address areas, my mind went to work thinking of how I was going to fix that. And yesterday, it bit me in the butt. I had an awful attitude. I was so grumpy I ended up picking a fight with Craig over how he took cookies to his office and I can't even blame it on PMS. Now, I won't share all the areas in which I was convicted, but spending more time fighting with my husband was certainly NOT one of them. So I am starting over today - don't you just love how grace allows you to do that, start new every day! Reminds me of Ms. Stacy's wise advice to Anne, "tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." But today, I am asking the Holy Spirit to change me, to mold me into Christ.
I hear people say they want to be like Christ fairly often and I include myself in that. But do I really really, deep down inside, strive to be like Him, or do I think if I were, I would be no fun (who said Jesus wasn't fun?), I would be too perfect (I wouldn't), no one would like me because I'd be too harsh and Pharisee-like (not if I was really like Jesus). Do I convince myself that some weakness (sins) are good/okay because they remind me I'm not perfect (I don't really think that will ever be a problem).
Have we as a Christian culture, taught ourselves to cringe at the idea of "good works?" I know I don't really like the phrase "good works." I have somehow equated that with trying to earn salvation, and it certainly can come to mean that when taken out of context. But I keep coming upon this verse that use that phrase in a good way:
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Now, good works will never get me into heaven. Salvation is a gift and trying to earn it is ridiculous and wrong. But once we are a Christian, we show our love to God by our obedience.
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. I John 5:2-3
If I do good things to show God how good I am and try to earn my way into heaven, he sees that as repulsive as bloody tampons (did anyone else just throw up a little in their mouth at the thought of giving God bloody tampons?). Yet if I do good things out of obedience to God, he sees that as love. To people, it may seem like the same thing, but God knows my heart.
I think of good works as being like little kids who go with their mom to buy a present for their dad. Now, the dad is one who earned the money so really he is giving himself a present, but does the dad think like that? No, he loves his present because it is his child way of showing love for his dad.
I love God and I want to show him my love by my obedience. Now, the only good things I can do are because of the Holy Spirit who was given to me as a gift when I became a Christian, but God sees my good works and obedience as love - as long as I understand that even my obedience is a result of God's grace and love towards me through the Holy Spirit, and not because of my own goodness. It is a hard concept and no matter how much I think I understand it, I don't live it out. So this post is really just to remind me of what I should already know and maybe it will remind you too.