In my last post I described my struggle in becoming a man who was a Christian, but was struggling to get his spiritual house in order.
As I continue to share with you, I pray that my struggles will help and encourage. Again I must say that I knew that I was a Christian; however, there was a depth of commitment to Jesus Christ that I knew I was missing. Are you there? What is your spiritual life like? Growing? Stagnant? Honestly, I was living on the periphery of deep commitment. Yes, I was a believer and follower of Christ, but I thought, let’s not get crazy. I thought, “I don’t want to go too deep with all of this.” Yet, as I learned (from digging in Scripture) Jesus calls us to a radical lifestyle. He calls us to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
He calls us to holiness and purity. That means I’m not to watch anything questionable on TV and not listen to ungodly music on the radio. Do you know what’s funny? I didn’t use to think I did either of those things, but I did. I was watching TV shows filled with sexual innuendo and bathroom humor…
…and I never thought anything about it. As I continued to study the Bible, God revealed these things to me very clearly. I was listening to the same music everyone else was, even though it was filled with impure lyrics. Finally, my mind was opened to the truth of Scripture, such as Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV):
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
Not even a hint of sexual immorality. No obscenity. Do you know what that means? This Scripture teaches as a follower of Christ, I am not to watch, listen or read anything that has any sexual immorality or obscenity. No foolish talk or coarse joking. No off-color emails or jokes (spread through social websites or otherwise) are acceptable. As I continued to read and study Scripture, as I never had before, I was challenged by passages I had heard all of my life, but now saw differently. For instance, Romans 12:1-2:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
I discovered I was to be a “walking dead man.” That’s what it means to be a living sacrifice. I learned I am to be holy. Yes, as believers we are called to be holy. But, I had excused away this whole idea by saying, “No one is perfect.” So, I didn’t even attempt to live a holy and righteous life. Don’t get me wrong. I was good, as compared to the worst “Christians” I knew; but being holy and righteous, I thought only Jesus could embody those qualities. I had been deceived.
Yet, slowly things started to change in my home. This is not to say we had a home filled with overtly sinful things. We didn’t. As a family, we decided to do our very best to live a sacrificial life before the Lord. Therefore, TV shows, music and movie preferences changed. I remember distinctly getting emails that would have been considered coarse joking, that I deleted and didn’t forward. Coincidentally, I no longer get those kinds of emails. I suppose those who were sending them saw something different in me, or so I hope.
I slowly began to untangle myself from the world and secular worldviews that had been filling my brain since childhood. I truly became a student of the Bible.
I sincerely grew in my desire to study the Scriptures. I remember asking the Lord to give me a desire to read the Bible. (Maybe that’s what you need to do if you don’t have the desire. Pray for the Lord to give you the desire. He will.) I replaced so much wasted time watching TV and surfing the internet
with Scripture reading and Scripture memory. It is true that you will never be any better in public than what you are in private. I had to sacrifice sleep in order to get up early, (and still do) to get into the Word and meet with Jesus. I realized that for years I desired sleep more than I desired being with the Lord. Over time, my walk with the Lord became so much sweeter and more relaxed. It’s difficult to describe in words, but I hope what I have shared helps you to understand what God was doing in my life.
So, look at your life and take a spiritual inventory. How are things in your life? How are things in your home? Men, if you are reading this…how are you leading? Are you leading by example? Have I got all of this figured out? No way! But, I desire to grow and I desire to be the best Husband and Dad I can be. If I succeed in everything else I do in life and fail here…then, I’ve blown it.
Boy, have my perspectives changed!