Saturday, September 28, 2013

She Changed My Life... and we didn't even know it

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."

Run that you may obtain it. I think this blog series is a perfect example of my lack of self-control (how long has it taken me to do? how often do I talk about how long it is taking me?!). I am not good at disciplining myself, especially when I can not see the immediate reward for my hard work. I believe this to be a common problem. What's easier? To spend time at the gym pushing and sweating or to eat those 3 chocolate chip cookies on the counter. They both have a pay off. But one is slow, it will takes weeks to see. The other is quick and delicious and oh so sweet. 

We are a culture that craves instant gratification. Freeways, jet planes, microwaves, iphones, credit cards, drive thrus. But sometimes the pay off doesn't come right away. Sometimes, it's about being faithful in the moment. Doing what the Lord has called you to do. Right. Now. The prize may come in this lifetime or it may be in eternity but, self-control is about doing good in the present and patiently waiting for the pay off. My life was changed decades ago by a woman who was faithful in the right-now and neither of us even knew it... until yesterday. 

Catherine works at Starbucks with me. She is about my mothers age and reminds me so much of her. (Really mom, it makes me miss you a whole lot sometimes) Catherine is kind, hard-working, genuine and encouraging. And, through passing conversations in the midst of chaotic work days, I found out that Catherine loves Jesus. Yesterday, during the extra hour after work that I spent waiting for my paycheck to arrive, Catherine and I began a conversation about church. As she entered the back room, she asked me where I attended (she had never heard of Revolution though) and I asked her the same. 
"North West Bible Church," She replied. "OH! I think that's where my husband Jake went to church in high school." I said. After calling Jake to confirm I joyfully told her yes, he did attend. In fact, that is where he got saved. We celebrated that connection together. The beauty of her home church being a huge part of how my husband came to know the Lord. And, a huge part of why he is the man that I was blessed to marry! As the conversation went on Catherine told me that Randy would have been the youth pastor at the time. Now, he has planted his own church here in Tucson. I knew that. Jake had been to coffee with him this year. I explained to Catherine that it was Randy who took an interest in Jake when he first attended North West Bible. He led Jake to Christ. At this she started. "Abigail! My husband and I have been at North West Bible for over thirty years. And it was in our middle school group that my husband and I led Randy to Christ!"

WOW! This women, who I barely know, was used by God in a big way to impact my life. What a blessing that He granted us just this little glimpse into His intricate plan. Catherine and I couldn't stop smiling. I mean we were giddy. Because of her faithfulness to the Lord all those years ago, my life was changed. This is the far reaching impact of our momentary acts of obedience. This is self-control, this is discipline in action. These ideas seem so lofty, and honestly, I despair of ever keeping my body under control. But, each day in each moment. Right. Now. I can be faithful to what Christ is calling me to do. What we do doesn't have to be huge but it's impact can extend farther than we will ever know. 

I keep thinking about how amazing it is that God gifted Catherine and me with the beauty of this moment. But know that if He hadn't, her obedience would not have resulted in anything less glorious or less good. He uses us in ways we never see. Let this moment be an encouragement to you. You may never meet that girl years later whose life you never knew you changed, but the ripple of your faithfulness is no less actual. And let this story be a charge. We run not to receive and perishable prize but in imperishable. The results of our discipline will never fade. So... what will you do with your right-nows? 

Monday, July 29, 2013

My "Anniversary" Blog

One year ago in San Diego, Jake and I became "The Wilhelm's" We had been engaged 8 months. 8 months of planning, preparing and waiting. Our days were filled with the normal engage-y things. Work, school church, time with family and with friends, and no small amount of attention to the details and dreams of the days to come.
Our wedding day was beautiful. It went off without a hitch (or at least not one that was noticed by our guests). I wish I could say I remember every detail, but what I do recall is wonderful bliss. The days before  the wedding are another story. Many, many things went wrong during that time. We had the rehearsal Friday the 27th and took Saturday as a "day off" to deal the with last minute details and visit family. Jake and I were more stressed on edge than ever. Actually, I was a turbulent nut case dragging Jake behind as he stumbled along trying desperately to pick up the pieces. I had a few moments when I thought to myself, "Why are we even doing this?! Eloping could have been so fun!" But, praise God, 24 hours before I would walk down the aisle, Jake and I had a conversation that broke my heart, and built me up and reminded me what all "this" is for.

It was Saturday evening Jake and I had spent the last 48 hours together. Running around paying some people, buying gift cards for others (buying replacement gift cards for the one that I lost. How do I do things like that?!). We had caught up with out of town family, finalized details, and then finalized them again. The rehearsal was done and we had driven the 30-45 min drive from Mission Valley to Ramona over and over and over. The tuxes were picked up, the schedules were passed out and the decorations were in place.
We climbed into the car to head to Kaleo Church's evening service. We were moving after the wedding so this would be our last service at our home church. What better way to spend the evening before our wedding than with our family and church family? But at this moment I felt so spent and all I could think about was that the night was not over yet. I heaved a sight of exhaustion and as I looked over at Jake, I felt a twinge of guilt. This man had covered that last few days with so much gentleness and grace, and that still hadn't stopped me from snapping lashing out at him multiple times.

"I'm sorry for how crazy I've been. Thank you for putting up with me." 
He squeezed my hand and smiled.
"You still want to go through with this?" I ventured (half-joking), "Now that you know what you're getting into..."
"Nope." He teased.
"No really, You still have time to get out." I was kidding, but was digging for some affirmation that I had not chased him off in the past 2 days. On the outside I smiled but my mind raced with thoughts of rejection and heartbreak wondering if we could really do this FOREVER... 
A few moments of tormenting quiet went by before Jake turned to me with words I hope to never forget.
"This is just the dark before the dawn Abigail. There is pain in the night but joy comes in the morning. Think about the joy we will have tomorrow, and it's nothing compared to the joy that waits after this life." 

The same tears prick my eyes then that do now. I am so blessed by this man. In that moment I remembered that Jake is not just more than I ever thought I wanted in a man. He is everything the Lord knows I need.

We spent the next few minutes talking excitedly back and forth about our engagement and the wedding that would be tomorrow. And reminding each other of what a beautiful picture we get to be of the gospel. Of the Lord who loves us and binds us to Himself with an eternal covenant. That He will be our God and we will be His people and He will cleanse us from our sin. And our love for one another, my submission, Jake's leadership, and our faithfulness get to be a picture of our Savior and His bride. And in that moment, our betrothal meant more to me than a 8 months to "get through".

I never thought of my life as an engagement picture before that day. I never thought of it like a waiting period. Like a time when I plan and prepare and work towards a wedding feast. But isn't that true for those of us in the church, the bride of Christ waiting to be united with her bridegroom forever? I hope that as I go through my days, the Lord reminds me of this conversation with Jake.  There is pain in this life. There are busy days, and fun stuff, and craziness. But joy comes in the morning. And when it is all over, what joy there is to behold! Eternity with my most beloved. My God. FOREVER! 

"For His anger is but for a moment and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, 
but joy comes in the morning." 
Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Freedom to Become a Slave

1 Corinthians 9:1-23

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?  If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? .... (vs19) For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

In my last post on 1 Corinthians 8 (you can read it here), I discussed the freedom that believers have in Christ and how not to exercise that freedom. Paul continues his theme on freedom in chapter 9. And it is here I believe he gives an example of how we can best use our freedoms to the glory of God. 

Before I get into the part of the passage I would like to highlight today, there is an entire 19 verses I chose to skip. In this part of the passage Paul discusses the rights of life and apostleship that he sets aside to better serve the Corinthian church. Remember this is a church that is divided specifically over their "favorite" teachers. Paul here is reminding them that he does not come to them in order to gain anything, but even to the point of laying aside his own rights, he serves them for the sake of the gospel. It is on this note of service, that we pick up in verse 19. 

"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible" As counter intuitive as it may sound, the correct way to use our freedom in Christ is to make ourselves slaves. "To those under the law I became like one under the those not having the laws I became like one not having the law..." Paul was no longer held to the Mosiac laws. He could eat what he wanted, work on the Sabbath, wear what he chose. But when around those bound to the law Paul walked according to the law. Likewise, Paul still held to the moral standard of God. But when he was around those who lived according to the world's standards he did not snatch every opportunity to point out their sin but rather lived alongside them as in the world but not of it. He did this not to be fickle or "liked" by everyone but rather he says, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." 

This concept is much easier to picture in some sort of foreign mission field. Do not live in a way that offends the very people you are trying to reach with the gospel. For example when going down to lead a worship service in Mexico, all the girls on the team wore skirts. Even though it is completely except able to wear jean in our church, to the people in that church culture it would have been offensive. And in Thailand when offered a pipe by the head of the household as a show of hospitality my leader would not turn it away because he does not smoke. It would be a massive affront. You and I may not face situations like this every day in the U.S., but how do we walk among our friends? 

"I do all this for the sake of gospel, that I may share in its blessings." In 1 Peter 3:18 it says, "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" Christ laid down His life to bring His people back to God. To draw us to Himself. The goal of the gospel should change how we handle our freedoms. May we live not for ourselves but for the sake of  all men that they would come to know the same freedom we do in Christ. May we use our freedom serve His kingdom for our good and His glory. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Concerning Food Offered to Idols

1 Corinthians 8

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

I love how applicable this passage is to our generation. What?! No way! We don't walk into the grocery store and wonder if it's ok to buy the chicken thighs because the breast may or may not have been sacrificed to Zeus. That's true, but raise your hand if you can tell me who this is: 

This is Charles Spurgeon. He was a very famous preacher in Britian in the late 1800's and he is still very popular today. In fact, as the Reformed Movement gains popularity among millennials  so does Spurgeon. We love his theology, his poetic word smithing and the example he set preaching to hundreds from a young age. We also love that is no secret that he enjoyed, more than a little, his cigars and his whiskey. He was known to smoke in the lobby before his sermons. "For shame!" some cry. But many exclaim, "Here! Here! Why not?!" Some things that were considered taboo (smoking, drinking, dancing, tattoos) are more commonly being embraced by our generation. That's fantastic! I love a good glass of wine with dinner. But it would seem that food sacrificed and my husband's pipe have more in common than just some smoke. 

In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul begins to address a few questions the church has written to him about. One of which, is food sacrificed to idols. They want him to tell them whether or not it is ok to eat it. I picture someone in the congregation, confident in their saintly freedoms, wanting Paul to back up their claim that they can eat whatever they want. Instead, Paul calls us all to walk humbly with each other and seek unity above personal preference. 

Paul begins the discussion with another shot at the pride of the Corinthian church. "All of us possess knowledge" seems to be a slogan of the life in Corinth. Yet Paul warns,"This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know." We pride ourselves on our knowledge. But it's not what we know or even who we know but WHO knows us. "If anyone loves God, he is known by God". Our standing before God is what makes us something. It is a position that is wrapped up in the person and work of Christ alone. Not anything we did or anything we know. It is because He has known us. Because He, knowing who we are and what we have done, chose to peruse us. Become like us. Live the life we could not live. Die the death we deserved to die and become our substitution. Then God raised Him from the dead and called us to believe in Him. And when we could not do even that on our own, He took our heart of stone and gave us the faith we need to love Him so we can be known by Him. "'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up." 

In John 7 Jesus states, "There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him" Likewise, Paul lays out an argument, "Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat it, and no better off if we do." The whole point is not about food but instead about who God is. It is not about the pipe or the dancing or the drinking about about our standing before the God of the universe. There are direct commandments given in the Bible. On these topics we do not stand on personal conviction rather, we know what obedience looks like. However, what about the things we are no worse off by not doing and better off by doing. What about the things that do not defile us? Paul goes on to explain the God honoring way to handle such things. 

"Take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak." Some people have very strong convictions on issues that I might not see as sin. For example a woman I love and respect once told me she was concerned about the fact that I drank wine. Knowing her beliefs (however unfounded i might have believed them to be) it would have been wrong for me to bring a bottle of wine into her home and ask her to drink it with me. Why? "wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ" It no longer becomes about my freedom but rather about their conscience. In Romans 14 Paul address this issue again. He speaks of how each person either eats or does not eat "in honor of the Lord" and he concludes with "each of us will give an account of himself to God".  May it never be said of me that I asked another to defile their own conscience before Him. 

This passage is not about whether or not we have freedoms. It is not about food. Again, it is about the unity of the body. It is about putting others before yourself. Seeing their soul as more important than your luxuries. "'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up" May we love one another enough to put our pride aside and lift the needs of other about ourselves. May we come together and seek each others well-being for our good and His glory. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Remain With God: thoughts on a famous passage about marriage

1 Corinthians 7

vs. 17-22
 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God

According to my "tie the knot" app I have been married for 238 days, 20 hours and 6 min. People say this first year is the hardest. I have stopped listening to these "people" because I am almost positive that harder times are coming for our marriage. However, there have been some good times, and some hard times and I have learned a bunch during these past 238 days. Here are some examples: 

1) Like Marian Jordan said "Being married doesn't make you happy. It just makes you married" * Seriously. I am so glad I am married. But there are still some days that I am an unhappy person. Jake can't make that better. Our house, our shared closet or bed, our time together, this ring on my finger,  none of it makes me happy all the time. It's just evidence that I'm married all the time.
2) Being married does not automatically make you wiser or more talented. Raise your hand if you are single and have ever had a married woman talk to you like she knows more than you and has a right to give you advice on all areas of  your life just because she said "I do". Right. She is  lying to you.  I might know more about a few topics due to the fact that I have lived with a boy for the last 8 months but I didn't wake up the next day older, wiser, or suddenly an awesome wife.  
3) Marriage really is a ton of work. Both interpersonal and practical. It's work to make a home. To begin to build a marriage and to begin to create a comfortable place for us to live life together. Talking, Serving, Spending time together, Cleaning, Cooking, Groceries, Adapting, Decorating, Organizing, Learning, Teaching. It's all work. 
4) And Marriage is sanctifying. Being with Jake all the time shows me a lot about myself and a lot about him. We work with each other. It comes from constant community. 
5) Finally, NONE of these things are only learned in marriage. They can be seen from the outside and they can be seen in any community. The first two are givens and the and last two are just a result of living with another person. So... why do people get married?  Why get married at all? Should we even get married? 

There is a scene from the movie Pride and Prejudice that I just love! (I love the whole movie but really, i'll spare you an entire review of it). The dreaded cousin, Mr. Collins wants to marry Elizabeth. He comes in to propose and before he expresses his love to her he wants to make her aware of his reasons. "Firstly," he begins, "I am convinced it will add greatly to my happiness" no matter how many times they are told marriage will not make them happy, people say it will. They really think it will. It won't. "Secondly, it is the duty of a clergyman to set the example for marriage in his parish." People think that it is their christian duty to get married and have a family. They might not say it, but don't they feel like they are less of a believer if they aren't a wife or mother? "Finally, it is at the urging of my esteemed patroness, Lady Deburg, that I select a wife." People feel pressure from their church, friends and family to settle down.

I don't think these are good reasons to get married. But then again, What is a good reason to get married? I'm not sure. But, I had  professor in college tell me, "Run the race hard after God. Set your eyes forward. And if you happen to look around at some point and see there is someone running alongside you, well then you might as well run the race together." **  Maybe that is the key. Headlong after Jesus. Always. Only, sometimes, we get the specific companionship of a spouse.

Ok, getting back to I Corinthians 7. This a famous passage where Paul addresses marriage, divorce and singleness. Remember, he was talking to a church full of self-indulgence and immorality. He as a lot of suggestions for married and single life but the point of all them is to better serve the Lord.  I pulled out the versus above because I think that they are relevant to everyone married or single. "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." Today you find yourself in a specific place in life. Are you living in that place?  Or are you trying to live somewhere else? There are a lot of people that talk about marriage and singleness as gifts. You might have the gift of singleness they say. But instead of worrying about which gift you have what if you lived today where you are. "So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God". Remain with God. I love that phrase. Live that moment in that day, with God. I find it so much easier to live with Jake, or coworkers, or friends, than with God. What would my marriage look like if today I remained with God? 

Later in verse 35 of the same passage Paul is talking about remaining single and he says, "I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord." Paul tells believers that if they are not married it is better for them to stay that way. But he doesn't say it to be restrictive but rather because he is aware that the goal of our lives is undivided devotion to the Lord. That's the point. What does that look like in your life? How are you doing the work of the Kingdom where you are? Depending on where the Lord has placed us, in each season, this looks different. But though our lives may look different, the goal of it remains the same. Serve the Lord. 

It's so easy to get distracted by our daily lives. Work, kids, groceries, friends, family, marriage, dating, not dating, school. All of it is part of the life the Lord has assigned to us. How are you serving they Lord in these things? Leave a comment for me and share some ways that you are leading the life He has given you for His Kingdom.  My prayer for myself and of you is that today we would remain with God, in undivided devotion to the Lord, for our good and His glory.

* From Wilderness Skills for Women: How to Survive Heartbreak and Other Full-Blown Meltdowns  (A book I highly recommend for married and single women. Actually I recommend this author. period.) 
** From a Marriage and Family class taught by Dr. Brian Moulton at San Diego Christian College. Good man of God.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feeling Crafty

I usually have Saturdays off work. Most of the time, I get up early and make Jake a hot breakfast (this is the only "real" breakfast he gets all week) and then I go about my day, or go back to sleep. This week I decided I would spend the day pampering myself. I was going to take a bath, do my nails, take some real time on my hair etc. It was a great plan! Until I got on Pinterst. Looking at all the great homes, I decided that I really REALLY wanted to craft. I had all these great ideas and I wanted to make them a reality.

So I told Jake I was going to make a mess of house, but promised it would look pretty when I was done, and I headed out for supplies. Home Depot for some wood, painter's tape and hardware. Michael's for paint and decorative wire. Home Depot was extra special since I measured the space I wanted the piece of wood for, but forgot to measure my car. Seriously, don't forget to measure your car. A 5 ft X 3 ft piece of wood is not going to fit in your little chevy cobalt sedan. Figure it out. Well, I did figure it out and finally got home to get to work. A week later I am now finished with my projects and here are the results:


I saw this picture on Pinterest about a week ago and fell in love with it! You can see the full tutorial of this DIY chevron canvas here. I wanted something a little more uniform though and this is what i came up with. 


I love how this came out! I used a thing piece of panelling instead of a canvass because it was much cheaper. A 4X8 ft piece was only about $10. They cut it to size and you keep the extra pieces. The hardest part... the taping. For a perfectionist like me, it was a nightmare. It took an entire movie ("The Help" great movie!!!!) just to tape it. I almost gave up but, in the end, I let go and allowed for imperfections. Mixing the paint was an adventure as well. I decided to go with three colors. White, grey, and a teal. The fading isn't perfect but i'm a fan of variety and blue/teal we have in our grey and white bedroom. 

Taping and Painting: 

Still getting used to the Chevron and Floral mix: 

Next I wanted to make some frames of the living room. We had a large empty frame left over from our wedding and I wanted to do something cool with. So I strung some wire across the empty space and painted clothes pins to add some color. The clothes pins look black here but are actually a deep blue that matches our couch pillows. 

Hanging above our couch: 

That's my god-daughter Emilee Ann. She's perfect: 

I'm also working some frames to house pictures of our family. The Wilhelm side, The Thomson side and us The newly established Wilhelms. They are a work in progress. 

Finally, I wanted something for the empty call in our dining room. The space has been glaring at me since we moved in and I felt it was time to fix it. 

A few pretty pieces: 

These were inspired by something I saw at Target. I loved the pinwheels and wanted to paint them to match the living room. However, I didn't want to spend the $20 on plastic pieces so I made them from paper instead. They are a mustard yellow, deep blue and gold. The gold is really close in color to the yellow but I love the subtle shine. I cut Trader Joes bags into strips and accordion folded them. Then glued the end to end. Then I fanned them out into a pinwheel. I glued a thumb tack on the back and painted them.  ( The paint job is messy. I like that up close you can tell they are painted paper.)  Finally, I tacked them to the wall in a pattern I liked. 

Time consuming but worth it: 

Loving the end result:

In the end,  I'm really happy with how things turned out. I think they add a nice touch to my home. I love having a bit of color in our white apartment. I think that the management might regret telling us we can put holes in the walls. And I know they will be unhappy about the paint spots on the carpet.  But I'm happy we can make our small space feel like home. I'm grateful for what we have and pray that we continually use it for our good and His glory. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Under Control

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

We all have idols in our lives. Things that we put in the place of God. We worship them. We are willing to sin in order to have them. We are, in fact, idol factories. Take away one, and more often then not, you will replace it with another. It is a lot easier to point out other people's idols than our own. I bring up this because as I read through this passage, and contemplated what I was going to to write about it, I came to a realization about an idol that plagued the Corinthian church. And no. Not Sex. Control. The Corinthians were just like me. Control Freaks. (You can read about my control issues here.)  They wanted to be in complete control of their surroundings with absolutely no personal accountability. Ask any control freak and they will tell you (if they are self aware) that the harder they try to control the world around them, the less they want to be under control. 

Here is what I'm talking about... what God continues to convict me of: 

- We already know from the earlier parts of Paul's letter that the Corinthian church had issues of division and quarreling. And isn't it true that we argue and alienate because we think we know best? We want everyone to live according to our standards  and our directions. Paul told the church that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Cor. 1:25). He wants them to know that no matter what they think of others or how they think the church should be run, sovereignty belongs to God alone. 

- We also are being told that for all their desire to tell others what to do, the members of this church don't want anyone to tell them whats up! One commentator suggested the the phrase "All things are lawful for me" was a sort of motto for Corinthian culture. You may know this idea better as "YOLO". These are the words the Corinthian world lived by. NO ONE is my master! I do what I want! All things are lawful for me! But Paul comes back to remind the church "I will not be dominated by anything" and "your bodies are members of Christ". When we live according to our desires we give in to the lie they will satisfy. Then we make our wants our gods, and we are slaves to them rather than being our own masters.  

- For me it looks like this: I know how everyone else should live their life.  It would glorify  the Lord and bring them closer to Him if they would read, pray and do the work that needs to get done today. But I'm so tired and lonely. I think it would make me happy to sit on the couch, binge on Netflix and Oreos and check out Pinterst for oh... about 6 hours. I'm not saying all those things are bad. But they will end one day. And in the moment I am turning to them to satisfy my need for meaning. Only God is everything I need all the time. 

Ok wrapping it up. I see in myself and the Corinthian church a desire to have life on my terms. I know what's best. I know how things should go, but please. OH PLEASE! Do. Not. Try to tell me how to live my life.  I will judge the world, but only God will judge me. And you know what? Even then I will give in to whatever desire wants to control me. "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price." The price is the blood of Christ. Shed so that my sin, my stubborn lack of self-control, could be made right before the Holy One. "So glorify God in your body" He paid for my life. He brought me into right relationship with Himself. He promises to be the thing that will satisfy me FOREVER! May I live my life turning from the sins that ensnare me and freely seeking His all-satisfying face... for my good and His glory.