Posting about Valentine's Day is like posting about the New Year. You are either a grouch because you refuse to make resolutions that you probably won't keep or you fall into the "everyone is doing it" category and make a list of things you promise to follow through with but don't. February 14 brings about the hopeless romantics and the heart-day haters. I don't know where I stand on the issue. I've never been a big celebrator of Valentine's Day because let's be honest I didn't usually have anyone to celebrate with. Marriage to a military man hasn't really changed that much so we'll just say I'm pretty ambivalent towards the day and I really do mean that. If tomorrow passes without a card (I'm positive that I will because he's already told me he didn't send one....lol) and I don't get any flowers I certainly won't be surprised or upset. There's plenty of time for that the other 364 days this year.
What I am a BIG fan of though is love. All kinds of love. Also the Food Network, Salted Caramel ice cream and costume jewelry. But I really really love love!
I've been struggling a lot with the following words...freedom...love...sacrifice...rebirth. All words that have to do with my faith. Then all of the sudden both my weekly bible study and sunday morning sermon addressed them. I know that isn't a coincidence. I can't decide though what God wants me to do with it. I mean, there are some obvious applications in my life. But I continue to struggle with what those words do and should mean for me and other born-again people.
We live in a world where it is really your own fault if you aren't knowledgeable. Notice I didn't say smart or wise. Not everyone falls into that category. But the ability to research, read and learn about things is at your fingertips. In bible study last week we looked at the Corinthians. The Corinthians had lots of knowledge but they were applying it incorrectly. More specifically they were applying it they way they wanted to. They were deciding what they "felt like" was acceptable and then allowing people in their fellowship to be sinful because of their modified version of truth.
The bible is VERY clear on this subject. We must focus on the true message of Christ which is the cross. We aren't permitted to live by personal preference just because we are knowledgeable about a subject or we think something should or shouldn't be done a certain way.
In Corinthians 5 Paul is addressing some crazy cases of incest that are occurring among believers. Historically this wasn't even accepted by non-believers of the day. So it is pretty concerning to him that the church at Corinth is allowing such behaviors to continue. He writes that they should expel these people from the church. He isn't talking about unbelievers here. He doesn't hold them to the same standard. But he is clear that if you are claiming to be a Christ-follower you must act a certain way.
The issue I keep coming back to is this....everyone, even believers, seems to have their own set of standards to follower. Some are based in scripture and some in experience. Some seem logical and some seem wise. Some seem wise by worldly standards and others seem crazy.
I read in the news this week about a girl who won a Victoria's Secret modeling contest. I don't know all the details because honestly I think it's hard to believe anything you read in the news anymore but the article leads one to believe that she stopped working for VS because she wanted to honor her husband. She didn't want to put her body on display. I wanted to give the girl a high-five! I mean, that is awesome right? Then I read the comments on the article. And literally I wanted to cry. People were so mean. They bashed her for "throwing her life away", for "being a hypocrite" etc etc etc. I was shocked....I don't know why but I was. And it brought to mind this verse...
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (I Corinthians 1:18)
And really that is what it all comes down to. Sometimes we as Christians have to make hard decisions. We have to do things that are unpopular. We have to do things that make us look like we are unaccepting or not tolerant. We have to tell people hard truths. We have to sit out when it seems like everyone around us is playing. And we definitely don't get to pick and choose what we want to believe in because we are smart or have read a lot or just have a feeling about something.
You want to really talk about love. Consider this...
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (I Peter 2:24)
This really happened. As a Mother I CAN NOT imagine what it must have felt like to watch Christ die on the cross. And then to know that literally it was my own sin that drove the nails into his hands and feet. That pierced his side with a spear. That mocked him...spat upon him. It makes me sick thinking about it We really were "bought at a price". We BELONG to God. We are no longer free to just keep on sinning. We are supposed to LIVE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS!!
At church this Sunday I was struck for the first time by the words born-again in this way. I thought about all the things the Little Guy has learned in the past year. Wow! I mean, it would take me a long time to write down every he has learned in the past month!! A lot of times a new Christian is like that too. They soak in the Word. They pray. The immerse themselves in everything that is the cross. When did I stop doing that? Why did I stop doing that? I have to pursue righteousness in my life. Christians can not stop pursuing righteousness. We must daily be at the foot of the cross. If we aren't there we're in the wrong place. We will not find the answers to our question anywhere else. We must center ourselves where the ultimate display of LOVE took place.
So for me this Valentine's Day is definitely all about love.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."