Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"It is for freedom..."

God has been gracious to reveal much to me as I prepare for the Living Stones Women's Conference, "Liberate." I will be addressing three areas: our relationship with God, men and other women. My goal is to proclaim truth in these areas that women would be liberated and stand in the Truth that makes us free. Specific areas of bondage make my heart heavy for the ladies of Living Stones: Discontentment, Comparison, and Performance-based living.

Discontentment is the absence of gratitude. It's a focus on what you'd like to have and an ungrateful heart for what you do have. It could be regarding your dating life, your home, your clothes, your body, children, spouse, money... the list is long. When our eyes are turned to what we have, the blessings God has already given, we can be thankful. It is difficult to be discontent when we are thankful. Discontentment is a cousin of comparison and jealousy.

Comparison, competition, jealousy, bitterness and covetousness are epidemics among women and disturbingly present in the church. James calls it demonic. Hebrews says it defiles us and Paul calls us to put it to death. Often we can be ensnared by them and not realize it. Competing with other women is manifested through body image, losing baby weight fast, thinner waistline, good hair, nice clothes, our husband's success, our home, material things, our children's behavior. We tend to compare these things and find our value based on who's got it better. Women can tend to be haters of others who've "one-upped" them and become bitter while drowning in jealousy. Has a girl ever walked in the room and you notice her shoes, outfit, hair, etc and a tinge of judgment pricks your heart towards her? You really only have issues with her because you're discontent with what you have and you covet what she has. It promotes this lifestyle of "sucking in." Women walk around with their gut sucked in completely fooled by the disillusionment that everyone else doesn't have a gut! We all got a gut, some are bigger, some smaller. If we'd all just let it out and see that she's got one, too...we'd be a little bit more free. (I mean this literally and figuratively) Many of us are captive in this area and we don't even know. It impairs our freedom of healthy, godly, female friendships. 

It is a constant struggle to cling to grace and not the law. Many women struggle with living by performance. "Am I good enough?" "Did I DO enough?" It's a dark cloud that looms over us and deceives us into believing our worth comes from our work. It veils the Truth that our worth is completely other than ourselves. We are to radically define our worth based on God's love for us in that He sent His Son to live perfect then be murdered and rise again thereby giving us His righteousness freely in exchange for our sin and depravity. Instead of standing and being free in this Truth, we live these lives of performance and law regarding our homes, our relationships with God and others. We foolishly base our worthiness of God's love and affection (and other's affection) on our own works: church attendance, prayer life, Bible reading and other good deeds. It bleeds into how we relate to others. We hold them to a works-based mentality as well. You do for me and I'll do for  you. 

What is grace anyway? It's getting what we don't deserve - completely unmerited favor. It's giving to others what they don't deserve. It's freely given to us to liberate us from the slavery of performance, the law.

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 

1 comment:

  1. You are spot on and I can't wait for more! I'm so excited for the 18th. Praying for God to humble all of us and unite us as sisters in Christ. I'm hopeful to make friends and that we can all be real - not comparing what we choose to wear or life accomplishments. We can do so much more for God's kingdom if we put all the energy we use to compare, "suck in", and cross off tasks on a list so we look good to outsiders. There is so much knowledge, compassion, creativity, and strength in the women of our church. We are young and mighty and I pray God would use this conference to unite us as sisters.

    "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear." -Eph 4:29

    "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with youra faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,b do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." Romans 12:3-8