“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable, and perfect.”
Romans 12 v. 2
Ours is a largely delicate age where we find ourselves so desperately in limbo with the desires of constant representation, i.e., social media and other mediums, and the idea of staying low for a minimum while. Some say social media is crucial to success and recognition, whereas social media is not a part of the lives of several people I know.
How do we respond to either perception? Both are tremendous needs in the world we currently reside. Yet, for most Christians, our steadfast faith and our eyes of hope steadily prepare those willing to experience Christ’s immanence of and with us to live out not our truth but His Truth, instead. In this credence, we stay on track based on what is asked of us, despite the desires and pressures of the world.
But, for me, staying on track while living in the world often creates internal confusion, and I question whether I am coming from a place of the Spirit’s fruits, as in Galatians 5 vv. 22-23, or am I too rigid especially concerning specific people I love so dearly? The people who, while in prayer, I shed violent tears for. And some young women I know who are aware of Jesus, who I want desperately to say to— cover your cleavage and lower the hem of your skirt. Then I question whether there should be precise symmetry between my heart and the words from my mouth. Indeed, this balance should always be a tenant in mind. However, based on my utmost desire to consistently protect my daughter, I find that there’s also a need to try to protect her friends.
So, now I practice how to say these things with the care of eldering while not appearing judgmental. A steep mountain to climb, and as I seek God’s guidance, I’m getting better. Not from the perspective of a fool who despises wisdom (Ps. 14 v. 1; Prov. 1 v. 7), and more in the thought that the words of my mouth should speak wisdom and my heart apply to understand (Ps. 49 v. 3). In this I can offer practical insights driven by some of my firsthand experiences.
Staying on track in other vital aspects of life offers me different results. There were moments when I used to be utterly exhausted after completing a project, doing chores around the home, or even after specific conversations. But then, these same life elements and responsibilities have become exhilarating. When I read God’s Word and pay attention to understanding them, I recognize where exhilaration comes from, and with this beautiful effort, obtaining satisfactory results is not as tedious as before.
I’ve often found this verse of Isaiah extremely helpful too,
“And He will give rain for the seed with which you sow ground, and bread, the produce of the ground which will be rich and plenteous.” (v.23 a to b).
And I think it so exact and accurate of Thomas R. Kelley’s words here:
“The energizing dynamic center is not in us but in the Divine Presence in which we share…We may admire the heaven-scaling desires of the tower builders on the Plane of Shinar, but they would have done better to listen and not drown out the call from heaven with the clang of the mason’s trowel and creaking of the scaffolding.”
Kelly continued to write about the importance of the NOW presence of God. In the NOW, we stop to listen to God’s leading, which Kelly discussed as God’s song.
To quote Kelly once again.
“The song is put into our mouths, for the Singer of all songs is singing within us.”
So now I ask myself, when and if I am ever present on social media while completing some expected posts, do I listen to our ultimate Singer who only sings of the fruits of the Spirit, or will I move at the beat of the clang of a mason’s trowel? How do you handle the creaks of the scaffolding for those who not only renew the mind but also go as far as removing themselves from society? Because we know that even in the quietest forest, the leaves make a sound. In the most tranquil of this early morning, as I accepted the dogs’ request to go outside at 2 am on this windy morning, the yellow leaves on the trees sought my attention. As they touched each other, they whispered quite loudly too! As if to say—we’ll fall soon but will rise again!
Of either choice, God loves His way in and through us. But to know, to really know this, the greatest of all tracks are to remain in discovery to find God, to read God’s Word, understand God, to know God. And, as I shared with my daughter this early morning–while discussing appropriate dress–when you consistently seek God’s guidance, the conceivable truth is that all other tracks become a bit easier to stay on. We become supreme caretakers of these paths, and despite the tares in the field (Matt. 13 vv. 36-39), our resilient thankfulness created by the Gospel propels us to keep moving. To move in upright positions, and we look above.
With the season of Advent at our porch, I come to the end of this reflection, and recollect the writings of Christopher Friedrich Blumhardt, who wrote:
“Our faith, our ardor, must be for this coming. Otherwise, it would be better to put aside meditations on Advent. The reign of God is a marvelous thing. To worldly wisdom, God’s kingdom seems like foolishness, and yet it gives shape to the whole world, the whole creation, making it God’s eternal coming.”
Friends, in so, and for all of it, we must transform our minds!
Growing together, from the inside and out,
Blumhardt, C. F. (1998). Action in waiting. In Watch for the light. Plough Publishing. (pg. 3).
Kelly, T.R. (1941, 1992). A testament of devotion. HarperCollins Publishers. (pgs. 72-73).
Scripture is taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV). 2001. Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers