We should never be ashamed of all the qualities and personality attributes God has instilled us. Most importantly, we should never be ashamed of our personal convictions because of our faith.
I was looking at the story of Rebekah who gathered water from the spring for Abraham’s servant. The passage is in Geneses Ch24 from verse 15. This story explains the first aspect of Beauty I’m exploring – Purity. The passage states that “The girl was very beautiful; a virgin…”
Listen up girls. In today’s society, we’re made to feel as though remaining pure is a reflection of our worth and physical beauty. We could be the best looking girl in the world, but still be considered ugly because we refuse to give ourselves to someone on a whim. My view is that purity is an inner reflection of our devotion to God. It usually makes a very clear line between a Christian girl and a non- Christian girl. Of course, many non Christian girls also make the decision to remain pure until marriage AND just because a girl decides to sleep with someone; it doesn’t make her some of the horrible names society has created. But as a Christian girl, we can’t blur the lines. Purity is a non debateable issue because it’s what God requires of us. He isn’t trying to spoil our fun and make MORE rules; he simply wants to protect us from all the emotional consequences sex before marriage can bring.
It’s far more important to have a “servants heart” like Rebekah that is uncomplicated by what we feel is expected of us after a certain age. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. We hit 14, and suddenly, everyone’s getting some experience in that department. Even though we want to remain faithful to God, we can’t help but feel like we’re missing out, or that we couldn’t be half as good looking as any of those girls! Rebekah’s beauty didn’t simply lie in her looks though – her purity was a reflection of her heart. She took time to gather water for Abraham’s servant because she had a gracious and giving heart – it craved nothing more than to serve others, and not her own desires.
It can feel like we’re in a race to lose our virginity when we consider our peers approach to life – but adapt Gods approach instead. He considers purity a beautiful and holy thing. It’s not something that has to be lost within a certain period of time – God certainly doesn’t expect that off you. It makes me question why our peers even should?
In a world where remaining pure can equate to being “unwanted”, I know I’d rather stand beside a God who accepts me regardless! Even if you’ve made a mistake and are no longer pure, don’t worry! It’s nothing prayer can’t fix. If you admit your sorry to God and ask him to renew your purity, he’ll do exactly that. You’re no less of a Christian for making a mistake! That’s what a lot of Christians maybe forget to preach – I wholeheartedly believe that purity goes beyond the physical act! If you have a repentant heart, God will not reject it.
Since I started going out with my boyfriend, I’ve been forced to think a lot about this. Thankfully, he shares my views. But if I didn’t have a boyfriend like that, I wonder where I’d be. I could decide today that I didn’t want to save myself for marriage. I could go out and have a good time and do whatever I wanted. But I know that once it’s all said and done, I’d want nothing more than to crawl back to God who loves me unconditionally.
Do you truly believe the things that you profess? Or are you living under a Christian facade? If I was to plunge into your heart and mind, would they be reflection of someone living a life for God? Or would they show a very different person, hiding beneath a careful constructed “Christian” image?
In this book, Graustein talks of the first danger associated with church kids and one which poses danger to anyone who’s began to surround themselves with Christian influences. That danger is false assurance of Salvation.
When you’ve been exposed to God and Christianity all your life, it can be easy to simply go through the motions of Christianity without having a genuine urge to please God as your personal Saviour. To simply conform to your surroundings rather than displaying any real faith of your own that you want to grow and develop.
I can understand why so many church kids fall into this trap! We become so knowledgeable of the bible and its teachings, that we almost equate knowing bible references with knowing God as your personal Saviour. It’s a terrifying assumption to make and continue to make for the rest of your life, which is why it’s so important to ensure you aren’t just a product of a Christian environment. That simply spouts Christian doctrines, convictions and mantras without really feeling anything for them. You know what’s expected of you and all the right things to say but God says:
“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Lord is Jesus’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans Ch10: v9
Being confronted with the question – is God living IN you, or simply AROUND you? - is enough to make any God fearing Christian uneasy. It certainly made me uncomfortable! Not because I don’t feel as though I’m truly saved. But because to think some people spend their entire lives blending in with their Christian peers without having a true relationship with God seems impossible! Their motives, actions and words are simply spawned from those around them! Yet it happens, as God warns:
“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Matthew Ch15: v8
We’ve all been there in a sense. Standing in church, singing hymns alongside everyone else but in reality, we feel far from God! The difference is that although we can’t be perfect, not being on form with God makes us restless and for me, brings incredible guilt! For me, thats one of the clearest signs of true faith. I can’t forget my Saviour or feel okay in being lukewarm and i’m sure EVERY Christian hits that point at some stage. Christianity is one lifelong learning curve, where we monitor our growth under the guidance of our Father!
Those with false assurance can’t have or feel that though, because to grow and learn, you must first have a relationship with God. It’s sad because I don’t know if they really even understand what they’re missing out on! If you can’t distinguish the difference between living for others or living for God, how can you ever know if you’re truly saved?
That’s simple! It’s a matter of the heart! You know that feeling before a quiet time where you desperately want God to teach you? Show you something to help you grow in faith? Even just having a heart that genuinely seeks God, through prayer, his word or seeking the advice of Christian friends is a heart that you know has been transformed by God. If you really, truly WANT to be better for God and to please him, then your place in heaven is assured!
However, we must recognise we all have failings! I for one should be far more lively and interested in Church! I have a terrible attention span and my mind wanders far too much! But I want to work on that and I pray every day that God draws me into the church! That’s all he requires of us – to want to improve and produce good fruit throughout our lives. Just because I don’t always feel God strongly in church, it doesn’t mean I’m any less his Child! It means I’ve identified a weakness in my walk, and need to address it through prayer and reflection.
On a final note, whilst signs of true salvation our evident in our words, actions and motives, don’t be discouraged if you can’t yet see that good fruit being shown constantly! We all make mistakes! Earnest belief in Gods might and love is wonderful, but to show that consistently is a gradual process and it’s okay to not be in that place yet! Chances are, your friends and family notice that good fruit more than you do! We’re all working towards being better and it will take time.
So, please, look at your heart. Look at your motives for doing things. Do you want to please God whom you love? Or please all those around you who seem to be doing the same thing? Don’t have a life with God through anyone else! Don’t let the wonderful blessing of a Christian home stop you from taking ownership of your faith today.
Don’t spend another second feeling unsure of your place in heaven. You may not have another second to claim it.