Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Be a Transformer

on May 28, 2013

Have you ever put off saying (or posting) something because you feared the repercussions, how it might be received?  If so, then this post is for you.  Even as I wrote it, and re-wrote it, I felt that same fear because being bold in my witness does not come naturally to me, rather it usually results from conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Thus, I have put off posting this message for too long now, and God has  convicted me that I’m not trusting in the Him, the God “who goes before me.” I have spent hours crafting the message so that it will hopefully ring true without causing a permanent loss of hearing. 🙂

So I hope that when you read it, you will consider my heart (even though some of you might hardly know me).  My heart beats for God’s people and for His truth, it yearns for us all to strive toward Christ-likeness not for the sake of personal pride or satisfaction with self, but for the sake of His glory, that His name and His Truth should be known around the world!  My heart aches for the lost, those who are searching for His Truth without even knowing it.  You can blame my parents for this since I spent a great deal of my growing up years as a missionary kid. But that’s another story for another time.   Today I want to ask you some tough questions in relation to the following verse:

do not conform

Recent conversations on Facebook and other media outlets have opened my eyes to a developing trend in Christianity today.  Being a Bible-believing, truth-defending, Christ-follower is no longer popular even in many Christian circles!

Somewhere along the line, some of us Christ-followers have become so conformed to this world that we are afraid and/or unwilling to take a stand on issues that the Bible clearly addresses.  I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve found myself in this camp before, keeping quiet because it’s just easier.  Some believers even go so far as to throw their total support behind worldly ideology, political correctness, tolerance  – whatever you want to call it – and then condemn their fellow believers for being “judgmental,” “close-minded,” or “intolerant.”

While criticism from the world is to be expected, criticism from fellow believers often surprises us!  We are not accustomed to being labeled (or  dare I say “judged”?) by those who should be our support.  How warped is it that Satan has convinced some of us that simply standing on God’s Truth is being judgmental, and is therefore wrong?

Allow me to clarify: the Bible DOES speak strongly against judging others and becoming self-righteous. We are all familiar with the words of Luke 6:41-42.

speck or plank

Only God can see, and therefore judge, the motives of the heart.  Therefore, we should not pre-occupy ourselves with the sin of others; rather we should be too busy dealing with our own sin.  However, God also calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and to be bold in our witness as transformers.

Unfortunately, well-publicized, so-called “Christians” have recently taken a stand for their so-called “truth” in ways that ARE harsh and hateful, tarnishing our witness.  Furthermore, we have Christian brothers and sisters actively ridiculing others on forums such as Twitter and Facebook, adding to the world’s negative perception of us Christ-followers. While I fully support upholding God’s Truth, when we haughtily shove our beliefs in someone’s face with a sarcastic turn of phrase, a witty cartoon, or a picture that belittles others, we end up conforming to the world and looking just like it!  How can we then be salt or light to a world that is in dire need of God’s truth?

I believe Satan has seized hold of this shame over others’ behavior and used it to confuse believers (as well as the world!) and convince many of us that upholding God’s truth is wrong in and of itself, when the reality is that the fault lies in the method of delivery. We have only to study Christ’s example to see how he gently revealed truth to people, often with a single phrase or sentence, and always while caring for their needs, whether physical or spiritual.  He did not skirt sin issues, neither did he humiliate the lost.

We must follow Christ’s example in our efforts to live as transformers.  When the Bible speaks clearly on issues of right and wrong, we are called to uphold God’s Truth with – and this is the key – LOVE and RESPECT.

prepared to give an answer

The key lies in our delivery – a delivery which requires a balance between Truth and Grace, not the absence of either or both.  A total-grace perspective can lead to conformity, while a total-truth perspective can lead to self-righteous bullying .  Is it wrong to bully others into sharing our beliefs?  Yes!  Is it also wrong to be silent on issues that the Bible clearly addresses?  Yes!  Why then have we allowed the world, the Great Deceiver, and even fellow Christians to tell us that it is un-Christian-like to be a Christian? Ironic, isn’t it? 🙂

My purpose is this: consider carefully how your life and your actions or statements appear to others (especially in regards to social media).  Do they see a difference?  Are you being transformed by Christ, or are you choosing to conform to the world?  There is no middle ground!

power of risen savior

I know it is risky voicing the unpopular Biblical perspective on many current issues, but then Christ wasn’t all that popular with the worldly and falsely religious leaders of his day, either.  You may lose friends.  You may lose popularity.  You may even be judged by the very people who accuse you of “ being too judgmental!” Have the courage that Paul had when he wrote in Philippians 3:7-11:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Amen??

If at the moment you find that you’ve been conforming (and haven’t we ALL at some point or another??), remember that God’s grace is immediate and His power to provoke change in us is immeasurable.  On the other hand, if you are already actively trying to live out a transformed life, take heart. You are not alone!

I encourage you to look to God’s Word and the Word alone to form your opinions, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform your thinking.

Questions to ask  before posting or sharing a “truth” statement via social media:

  1. Is your audience one you love and one who loves you in return?  In other words, will your message be received in the manner in which it was intended?
  2. Is your message one of God’s truth rather than man’s truth?  In other words, do you have contextual biblical support  for your message?
  3. Is God leading you to share this truth at this particular time in this particular fashion?  In other words, has the prompting come from Him or do you just love your soap box? 🙂
  4. Have you achieved a balance between truth and grace?  In other words, how is your method of delivery – gentle or smug?

overcome evil for good

Telling the truth in grace and love is such a delicate balance to achieve, but as Christ’s image-bearers, we must work toward that balance!  We have amazing technology and a unique opportunity to show the world what Christ-like love truly is, so let’s allow Christ’s love to shine through us without diminishing the light of His message.  Don’t conform.  Be a transformer.

Because of His love,

Jen 🙂

You might also enjoy this post:

http://www.godspotting.net/2013/06/god-is-not-republican.html


20 responses to “Be a Transformer

  1. katbiggie says:

    AMEN!!!! What a wonderful post, and something that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately as I try to live a Christ like life in this world. Thank you so much for these words and wonderful passages that I was not familiar with, but sure will be from here on!

  2. Jedidja says:

    Hi, this is a very good (a bit long to translate) blog. I read it with interest. Especially the four questions at the end of your post are very useful for me. Thank you for that and greetings!

    • Thank you! It is on the long side. 🙂 I considered dividing it into two parts, but was having trouble finding a good way to do that. Thanks for taking the time to read it.
      Jen 🙂

  3. renlvsclay says:

    I could not have said it better myself.. This post is perfect!! The behavior you speak of is exactly why I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account..
    Oh, to answer your question at the beginning of the post; at one time I wondered if my blog would offend others (it has) but I stopped worrying about it.. I write what I feel, and I haven’t taught any lessons on my blog that I hadn’t learned myself first.. People are going to get bumped.. Period.. It’s only when we are bumped out of our comfort zones that we mautre, right?
    Keep it up, it’s fabulous!

  4. Jen, this is good to think on. Thanks.

  5. Michell says:

    Ha…LOVE it!! Well said Jen! I especially loved your statement…finding the balance between truth and grace! In other words…spreading the gospel as Jesus DID! If only my brothers and sisters in Christ would find that balance and STAY there! Found you over at Jen’s Soli Deo Gloria party! Have a blessed evening!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Michell. I agree – more balance is needed but balance is often difficult to achieve. We humans tend to swing to one side or the other. 🙂 For me, it’s a work in progress. The more I grow in my knowledge and understanding of Christ, the easier it is to find that balance. Thanks for visiting!
      Jen 🙂

  6. This is great! Truth must remain. Speaking truth in love is so important. I am your neighbor at desire to inspire/ A Royal Daughter. I’m glad I was able to read this. Excellent post!

  7. I really love the questions you ended with — speaking is such a process of discernment! Glad you linked with SDG.

  8. Wonderful!! Found you through Missional Women Friday link up and glad I did! You are very inspiring! I living in Indiana too and my husband and I used to pastor and we just returned home from the country of Latvia as missionaries! We hope to get to return if my sacroiliac will cooperate 🙂 Blessings to you friend! I am subscribing to your blog, it is a joy! Would love to have you check out mine at http://www.hopeinthehealing.com and maybe we can become friends. Much grace!
    Nannette, a.k.a. Candace Jo!

  9. Jen,
    Thanks for sharing your perspective on this topic. It’s one that’s burdened me, lately. Thanks, too, for the link, and for visiting my place. Have a great week!

    Sheila

  10. Thank you so much!! I see this so much, too…especially with politics. Somehow, not agreeing with our President, someone in his cabinet, or one that represents us gives us license to mock and ridicule. It’s wrong!

    “The key lies in our delivery” – AMEN! That’s the key. HOW do we say what we want to say. Thank you for a timely and well delivered article!

    • I appreciate this encouragement! Finding the balance between grace and truth is something I struggle with often, but I know it’s a necessary struggle. So much of it involves asking the Lord what He wants to be said rather than what I want to say. 🙂

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