Since we are new to the area, we've been visiting different churches looking for our new family and new home. Two Sundays ago, the pastor preached on lukewarm Christianity.
Rev. 3:16 "Because you are a lukewarm Christian, neither hot not cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." A mediocre Christian makes God vomit. Yikes.
Here are a few points that completely convicted me. They are from a checklist on lukewarm Christianity:
1. Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church as long as it
doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little
extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so, After all, God loves a
cheerful giver, right? 1 Chronicles 21:24, Luke 21:1-4
2. Lukewarm people are moved by stories of people who do radical things
for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for
“extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical”
what Jesus expected of all His followers. James 1:22, James 4:17,
3. Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors,
coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they
want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like
religion. Matthew 10:32-33
(See the rest here: http://www.simplymissional.com/2008/06/are-you-a-lukewarm-christian)
There have been common themes at every church we visit... refresh your faith, take a risk, give generously, seek justice, eliminate poverty, pray for divine intervention, and meet the needs in your community.
My husband and I had a long talk a few weeks ago about our budget. Our hearts want to be generous and give more than we do, but by the end of the month there is never anything left in our account and we spend the last week of each month eating PB&J and cereal trying to avoid debt. Unfortunately, we have debt.. a car payment, student loans and mortgage. We can pay our bills just fine, but a big chunk of income is spent before it is even received. The rest is spent on gas and food and random items mostly from Wal-Mart. Yup, crazy, cheap, junk made in China. I want to cut back on frivolous purchases so that I can have more financial freedom to give when it's asked of me.
I've been praying, "Lord, help me to be a wise steward of what I have so that I can radically obey You."
Over the past two weeks, God has honestly challenged me not to buy anything for myself for a while- clothing, shoes, accessories etc. ... maybe for an entire year. I tried to ignore that thought, because it kind of depressed me. I'm not even a big spender, but I can power shop with the best of you and I LOVE bargain hunting. I live in a rainy place and I'm a stay-at-home mom, the mall is my exciting day out of the house. It's an escape and sadly, a refuge. But, I don't need more stuff. The clothes that I have are just fine. My shoe supply is actually embarrassing. The prodding won't stop and I know this is my challenge. I'm sharing it with you so can keep me accountable. :) I'm really weak in this area. Don't tempt me, ok? I'm serious!
Here is my challenge to radical obedience:
1. I can't buy anything for myself (except hygienic products so if you can use it in the bathroom excluding make-up, it's okay).
2. I can buy things for my son who's ever growing into a new size, but I can't be excessive or indulgent. It has to be an absolute necessity. I can't go into a store and buy him things on a whim just because they are "cute." (He has the best wardrobe of all of us anyway!)
3. I can buy things for my home, but they must also be a necessity. No more decorations. The excessive and indulgent rule applies here too.
It's only been one week of this challenge, but it's SOO amazing how God is changing my heart. It's not torturing me like I thought it would. I actually feel liberated from conspicuous consumerism. I've realized how many great things I have that just need to a little love. It's inspiring me to repurpose what I already own. It's making me more creative with my outfits and I actually like my style better! Most of all, my heart is becoming so much more grateful for what I do have and much less tempted to lust after the newest trends that I don't have. I am not entitled to more stuff. Others are actually entitled to mine. My hand has gone from gripping what I have to wanting to give or lend a lot of it to others.
At a different church this past Sunday, the Pastor preached on 1 Timothy 2. Verses 8-10 confirmed it all for me.
"Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and
self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works."
I want to have a fashionable heart. I want to be beautiful. Really, truly, gorgeous. :)