Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sparring Gear and Spiritual Gear

The world makes us all feel a bit lame at times, doesn't it?

The world screams at us everyday how lame we are for choosing to follow Jesus. How much we're missing out on, how we will never be as cool as them, or have as much fun as them. How we'll never have "freedom" like they have. {If only they knew of the true freedom and tremendous grace in Christ!}
Well. Believe it or not... :) I've listened to these cries before and even allowed them to get me down a time or two.. or seven. The well meant pitying remarks about how I must have to do a lot to help out with all my brothers and sisters. {Why shouldn't I? I prayed for siblings my whole life until i got a boat load of them!}
The not- so- well-meant remarks about how stupid it is that I won't date. {I don't believe in flinging my heart at every boy with nice hair that walks by. I believe God has a better plan that I'm just gonna wait for.}
The "wow, you must have zero friends because you don't go to public school like everyone else." {ha.} They go on and on and on and on and on and on and on...
I'm so glad that Jesus isn't a sugar coater. He doesn't make following Him out to be a fun happy clappy deal all the time. He promises that in this world we will have troubles. But He has overcome the world. He promises that there will be people who can't stand what we stand for. He gives the strength to endure.
Within the next two weeks I'm supposed to start sparring in Taekwondo. I will be learning how beat up and get beat up. {Hopefully more of the first than the latter.} Have you ever worn sparring gear? It feels pretty awkward at times and it really just looks hilarious. It. looks. ridiculous. Not even kidding. See above picture.
Back to sparring though... This is going to happen. I have been told again and again about this and they are preparing me and the others in my class for what is going to happen. We all have gear and it is our responsibility to use our gear wisely and put it on properly. We are going to be punched at, kicked at, etc.{with rules and guidelines, but still.} If I decide not to put on my helmet because it looks hilarious and someone might laugh at me, {pretty likely} I'm gonna be in a heap of trouble. {probably a heap on the ground.}
Our instructors have gone through all of the necessary precautions to train us and to provide us with everything we need in order to stay as un-injured as possible. If I just decide to skip all the classes and lose parts of my gear and expect to show up and spar successfully, without detrimental injuries and actually win...I'm just ridiculous.
It's basically the same with our walks with the Lord, he has prepared us in His word for what is expected of us. How to handle situations and glorify God in the process. He teaches us how to be in this world and not of this world, how to fight for His glory and win. He instructs us on how to put on our armor. "10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
I'm over trying to please the world. I'm sick of trying not to be ridiculous. I want to be ridiculous in the eyes of the world if that is how I'm going to be successful in serving the Lord and furthering His Kingdom. If that's how I'll win the fight for Him. Even though that comes with ridicule.
I'm sick of looking at "everybody else" and trying to be like them. The world is just full of "everybody else". My life isn't mine. My life was bought with a price, my life was bought by the perfect blood of Jesus which was the only cure for cleansing my sin-stained heart. He loved me so much that He underwent looking ridiculous. Being mocked...for me. Being killed...for me. And because of His great love, He did so willingly. He endured ridicule... because of me. He gave me a new life. A beautiful life full of hope and peace and joy and freedom. If others decide that my loving Him and living for him in return isn't "cool"...well then, "cool" is for the birds. Because of Jesus I can endure the ridicule and count it as joy and a privilege to be suffering for His sake. If taking up my cross and following Jesus with every part of my life and wearing my "spiritual armor" looks hilarious, or even stupid to some, I'm so not sorry. You can laugh.
I'm renewing my mind with my Master's words and teachings. I'm taking captive every thought and making it obedient unto Christ. I'm going to keep running and hoping in My King. He's already won and through Him, I can win as well. Funny looking and all.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. " James 1:1-5


natali said... what a beautiful post, ellie! It really spoke to me. Thanks for sharing :))

Sharon said...

Wow!! I love your example and this is something I really need to learn for myself! It is so very hard to get caught up in trying to impress people and not do things that are right because we think others will think that our decisions are not cool. But if we are going to live for God than we have to be willing to give all that up. He died on a cross for us! Not many things are lower than that! And all for us! Thanks for sharing!

P.S. I love your thoughts on dating! I so agree with you, the wait will be worth it!

Faith said...

great post!

NCLighthousekeeper said...

I love you, Ellie Marie. What an awesome group of friends God has knit together - you, Amanda, Paige, Morgy,Emily, Erica.... God has big things in store for all you silly, ridiculous, hilarious, beautiful, smart, talented, amazing girls!