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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

should i feel guilty?

should i feel guilty when i watch families come to our church and share how they are raising money so they can go with their brand new baby and move to brazil to preach the gospel to an unreached people group?

should i feel guilty when i read the blog from my sweet friend who is saving up money to adopt a baby girl from ethiopia?

should i feel guilty when i go to the grocery store and spend extra money on silly things like fudgesicles and oreos? what about when i go to the mall and buy a pair of shoes i don't need?

i know that the need to spread God's love to other countries is great.
i know that the need for orphans to be taken care of is great.
i know that there are millions of starving children across the world.
i know that there are people who would give anything to have just one pair of shoes.
i know.

but what?
what now?

what does God expect me to do with this knowledge?

i have spent a lot of time wondering this. thinking this through.
see...i don't want to be the kind of person who justifies what i am doing (or not doing) or comparing myself with another person who i think i am doing better than.

i get so irritated when people matter of factly tell me that what God wants of me is to live where He has put me and just not be too focused on all my possessions.
he certainly doesn't expect me to go without.

i mean. maybe that's true.
but then maybe it's the furthest thing from the truth.
maybe it sickens God when he sees you pour over your pottery barn catalog.
maybe it breaks his heart when he sees you spend 30.00 on a pair of shoes.
just maybe.
can you even see that as a possibility?

james 3:14 says "but if you have...selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth"

what does that mean?
lying against the truth? could i be doing that?

what is the truth?
one truth is that God says if i have food and clothing that is what i should be content with.
another truth is that God says i need to not lay up treasures on earth.
another truth is that God says that i shouldn't love in word or tongue, but in action and truth.

the lying against that truth could be
~i need at least 2 new bathing suits per summer. i mean...i am not frivolous like so-and-so who buys 5 every year!
~i need to have a lot of money in savings. ya know, it's being a good steward.
~i will pray for all those poor, unfortunate people.
~what could your lie be?

so should i feel guilty?
guilt will bring me down to a place that makes me feel worse and worse about myself.
so i don't think guilty is the right word.

should i lie against the truth? should i convince myself that what i am doing is enough?
that God certainly couldn't expect me to do more?
should i spend time with all of those other girls who are "godly" and have enormous houses, attend every lia sophia party in town and have every piece of furniture directly from a catalog?
because that might make me feel better about what i am doing.

no. i don't think that is the solution.
if i am feeling something.

maybe that something is conviction.
conviction is a feeling similar to guilt, but instead of driving me down to a place that makes me miserable, it drives me to action.

action that may require sacrifice.
action that may require pain.
action that may require living out what i say God wants me to live out.
it might be not getting my way.
it might be supporting a missionary when we don't see how it's possible in our budget.
it might be sending in the paperwork to become certified to foster children.
it might even mean giving up something i like so someone else can have it.

that is the kind of living that i want to be living.

i refuse to take what you say God means and make it what i say God means.
because what if you're wrong?
what if God is asking for more?

i want to be listening.
i want to be prepared for action.
i want to be living my life for one purpose only - to bring glory to God.
after all, that is what i was created for. (isaiah 43:7)

what about you?


  1. Anonymous10:09 PM

    wow-very thought provoking and well written. thank you for the challenge to action that begins with sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him.
    lots of love, mom

  2. Even those of us who are, say, going to Brazil to preach to unreached people, need to be reminded of this. Just having the title "missionary" doesn't get me off the hook when God is trying to get convict me of some area of my life I need to give over. Maybe it's that I shouldn't write off sponsoring a child in Honduras because "I'm already doing a ministry elsewhere." Or maybe I need to be more convicted by those who are boldly preaching the gospel by word and example to the guy on the street or their next door neighbor, when I am not. It's always easy to justify your own self-righteousness if what you're doing is for personal motives rather than the glory of God. If we're truly seeking His face, we will be humbly open to the conviction He brings our way to always be more sold out, more in line with the love of Christ in our lives. Especially in our pleasure and comfort-driven culture, it's so easy to get laid back and forget why we're here. Thanks for the great post!

  3. I love this. Very well said. Thanks for always encouraging me!!!


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