*Sidenote: Never have I had such trouble coming up with a title for a post! I’m having one of those moments where the word of God and the Holy Spirit have left me at a bit of a loss for words to describe exactly what I’m experiencing, so bear with me.*
This work is convicting me. It is causing me to find all of those areas of weakness and sin and confront them. That’s a…painful and humbling place to be. It’s one thing to say I’m going to write a book to show other women how it’s done, or that I’m going to create a website that helps women get serious about their lives, but it’s quite another to realize how much of what I research and pray about and write pertain to me and what I need to do. I hear my minister say all the time that he is preaching a sermon to himself; now I know what that means. Knowing what that means also means that I have been avoiding a couple of areas that I need to write about, because I know I’m going to be called onto the carpet in them.
One of those areas is talking about beauty and worth. I have a problem in these areas. Self-esteem, especially when it comes to my looks, has always been an area in which I struggle. Yet, I know that there is more that I should be doing on the outside as well as the inside to cultivate a more attractive person. There’s a song we sing at church, “Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen,” whose first verse talks about the inwards beauty:
Let the beauty of Jesus Be Seen in me; all His wonderful passion and purity. May His spirit divine/all my being refine/let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
That’s the inward goal. The outward goal is what I like to call temple maintenance. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, according to I Cor 6:19; it is where the spirit of God lives. There is no more tabernacle and mercy seat where God’s presence dwells; it’s inside of us. We are the church. Well, my church has leaks and sagging soffit and swollen baseboards. My temple needs to be renovated. It’s not a swanky, luxuriously appointed piece of prime real estate right now, if you know what I mean. I need a little work, and I haven’t been doing it.
I read in I Peter today, I Pet. 1:1-3:7. What stuck out to me, other than the advice to wives about their appearance was when Peter talks about spiritual sacrifices (I Pet. 2: 5). We are a royal priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices. It caused me to think, what am I sacrificing? What am I offering to God?
I’ve actually been studying sacrifice a little bit for me book. I only say that so you’ll know I didn’t just start contemplating any of this when I opened my Bible this morning. Anyway. Sacrifices are made for several reasons in the Old Testament: friendship, goodwill, sin, thanksgiving, etc. It involves giving something that you have earned that has some value to God. What of value have I been giving to God?
While I think this blog is a good work and it’s done for the glory of God, while I think the book is a good work that will bless someone to the glory of God, what about me and my personal walk with God? What am I giving him that is valuable to me? Paul says “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Cor 9:27).” This is the peril of all teachers, preachers, evangelists, and elders: that we will save others and yet miss the mark because we are neglecting our own relationship with God. I need to make sure I am submitted to His will and that I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).
If this blog has a point, it is that in all that we do for others, we must do for ourselves, whether we need to repent of sin, ask for strength in an area, stop avoiding an area, or offer better to God than we have been. God doesn’t accept anything we give Him; we have to give Him what He asked for. Those are the submission guidelines. If we don’t submit our lives to Him the way He has told us to, the submission won’t even be considered. I’m talking to myself here. If it encourages you, glory to God. Let’s give Him what he asked us for, not what we have lying around.