Christians Can’t Swear

Should Christians be justifying the use of coarse language? Can Christians swear?

“I love Jesus, but I still swear sometimes,” she said. Somehow hearing that out loud didn’t sit well with me.

I mean the Bible says not to take the Lord’s name in vain, but there isn’t a list of forbidden words. Who says what is okay and what isn’t? Who says Christians can’t swear?

The Holy Spirit convicted me on this point. Confronting my own mouth, I felt compelled to do some digging around in the scriptures. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Christians can’t swear. Should Christians be justifying the use of coarse language? Can Christians swear?

Here are the proof texts I found to hold myself accountable.

First, the importance of ALL of our speech in our witness as believers, even more so as teachers of the word.

James 1:26 ESV  “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

We can look at this text in two ways. As receivers of truth from pastors and speakers, if we hear someone who is not bridling his/her tongue, we have to treat anything else they say as mightily suspect. James says their religion is worthless. Secondly, as a Christian who is attempting to live my faith with a mission mindset, I do not want my witness to be worthless.

We are to exhibit self-control over our mouths. If we cannot, we have not been sufficiently sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Bridling our tongues would mean keeping our words from being angry, inappropriate, knowing when to be silent, in addition to not “swearing.”

Ephesians 4:29 ESV   “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

While some would focus on defining corrupting talk, I see the second part of the verse as being the more crucial. Only say what is good for building others up that gives grace to those that hear you. Well, that is a pretty high standard which doesn’t leave much room for a lot of things that come out of our mouths. And then start talking defining corrupting talk .  .  .

Each generation or culture has different words we consider inappropriate. Perhaps this is why the Bible didn’t give us a list. We have to examine our own hearts and culture to find our own convictions about what words we choose not to use.

Ephesians 5:4 ESV “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

No foolish talk. No crude joking. No filthiness. Well, that is pretty broad, but I don’t think Jesus wants us to split hairs when it comes to sin.

Is crap okay? What about OMG? shoot? freakin’? darn it?

Maybe, we wouldn’t say God’s name in vain or the swear word, but is it okay to hint toward those words? I struggle with geez. Today, I realize that is a way of shortening ‘Jesus’. As a young woman, I didn’t have any idea that is what it meant. I feel very convicted about even using theses lesser words but am definitely a work in progress.

Lastly, these two scripture really hit home for me in many arenas of my walk, especially when people start arguing that we can use this word or that word.

Romans 13:14 ESV “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Make no provision for the flesh.

Our weaknesses and needs as human cannot be discounted, which is why Jesus came. He could say He wore our mantle and was tested, so we could know He understands the needs of our human bodies and the temptations of our fallen world, but as He was sinless, we’re instructed not to give any room to those sinful temptations.

One last verse, out of hundreds that I’ve found is one that I think I am going to hold onto and memorize.

Matthew 12:36-37 ESV “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

This verse makes me want to fall on my face at the foot of the King. I can barely account for the careless words I’ve spoken today. As a parent struggling with patience, I cannot even imagine the careless words I’ve spoken since my children came into my life. I can only pray in thanksgiving that God has convicted me and in humility asking forgiveness.

Anyone CAN swear, but God calls His children to something more.

Why, yes, we do validate!

Friendship is not for the faint of heart. Real friendship can be messy sometimes if we’re real, honest, and hold each other accountable. Nothing is harder than hearing you’re wrong from someone you really respect and want to be respected by, but if I’m wallowing in pig poop, I need someone to tell me this isn’t the time for a facial!

However, I’ve been known to stand in the poop and try to argue that it’s a spa treatment. God has really been teaching me to listen to the correction, searching my heart for any truth in it. Because I’ve learned that even if the entire message doesn’t apply, there is usually a grain of truth in it. But that grain of truth can rub skin raw like a salt scrub body treatment in the moment. Humility is hard. I want to be right. I want to get things right, so the past 24 hours has been hard. I beat myself up a lot when I don’t things right, but I’m learning.

Yesterday, one of my dearest friends and I had a disconnect. We were both trying to be Godly women, but between text messages, and conversation snippets (talking on the phone around kids, meals and husbands), we both ended up wounded and wounding each other on accident.

She was upset about an interaction during her day. I was trying to be a good friend. I heard the words she used in her message, tried to process what I thought was happening and vowed to give her some time before calling, but when she came to me with her hurt, I rushed in with my opinion. She was still raw, and we talked before she’d really had a chance to process. I had prayed about her situation before talking to her, tried to wait for the right words, but I still jumped in before she was ready to listen, and made some mistaken conclusions about how she was feeling. And because she was so hurt already, nothing I said could be heard with the heart from which it was spoken.

Luckily, we’ve been in the trenches together as teachers, women, wives, moms, Christians, and friends together for a long time, so even in the worst moments of this situation, we were calm and kind, even though we were both feeling like we missed something somewhere.

But thank God for His love that transcends the human emotions of a moment that wants to throw in the towel and quit. His love pushes us to say, “Can we try that conversation again?” Thank the Lord for His word, where we both immediately went in our emotions, and kept coming back from, ready for restoration.

In bits and pieces, between vomit and poop crises and softball practice and big brothers with sharpies, she and I did eventually manage to figure out where each of our hearts were right and what needed correcting in both of us. We were both validated, and also, both instructed. We both got to say, I’m sorry and I forgive you. It really was a beautiful moment in a friendship. We were both able to start over, communicate more clearly, and realize that if we’d both slowed down yesterday to do that in the first place, neither of us would have spent a day feeling upset.

Because we have had these conversations over the past 24 hours, broken into pieces, I’ve been in prayer and deep contemplation about how to talk to her, asking God to show me what I personally needed to hear.

First, I heard, “speak from where you are. You know what you’re thinking and feeling for certain.” When I did that, it we got to the right train of thought, but we still had some work to get to good. So I kept asking, what do I not see?

Usually when I ask Him that, he turns my family into my living object lessons.

Lesson #1 My husband came home from the ER yesterday with a smashed thumb. He dropped a missile on it. (Yes, a missile. Gotta love the army.) He was howling in pain as he tried to ice it. Our daughter tried to show him the ocean-themed get well card she created while he was in the midst of his pain. He wanted to listen to her, to give her proper attention but he couldn’t because of his intense pain. She tried to get louder and louder, but he was trying not to cry, he couldn’t do anything gentle or productive at that moment.

Note to self – when someone is really hurting, they can’t hear anything in their crisis. Just hold on to them and wait.

Lesson #2  I was on the phone (blue-tooth/hands-free) on the way home from our daughter’s softball practice, trying to get some wisdom from another treasured friend to get some insight into how I can better approach people. I’m about to start a ministry with people from all different places in their walk with Christ. I want to make sure I really learn how to love people correctly.

My daughter was screaming from the back seat. I signaled her to stop several times, but she just got more willful, until I did the most terrifying thing a mom can do – I pulled over. I don’t know about you, but my parents threatened to pull over or turn around a lot, but stuff got real when they actually did it. I made it clear that she could not scream while we were in the car, nor while I was on the phone, especially not the double whammy of being on the phone while in the car.

My daughter quieted down, but continued to be upset. When I ended the call a few minutes later, I looked into the kid view mirror. She was still in a puke stained, dirt encrusted softball outfit. Her sweaty hair was plastered to her forehead. She was exhausted from just being her little four-year-old self, and her tiny face was twisted into the biggest sad face ever.

“What is the matter?”

She looked at me and said, “I don’t feel special or loved anymore.”

Whoa! Yes, she IS that dramatic. Of course, I love you, I said, then we talked about what she had been doing wrong, that she needed correction. She agreed that she knows better than to scream and yell at me.

But then she added, “But I don’t feel special or loved when you get mad at me.”

What a wondrous child to be able to tell me what she needed. I told her that of course, she is loved and special all the time, that even when she is at her naughtiest, I love her forever and always, more than the whole world. But her bottom lip quivered, so I told her again. Then I held her leg. I can’t reach her hand in the van, but I can hold her ankle. So we drove home with her smiling happily while I held her leg.

I validated her feelings FIRST, then again. Then I held onto her with all I could, and only then could she hear the correction of her behavior, not who she is.

aha4aiconAh ha! The moral of the story – instead of being able to gently lead my friend to what I was learning in Christ that might relate, she was already in so much pain, then I added to the heap of coals by making her feel criticized, like I didn’t value her, like she wasn’t special or loved, like maybe somehow I saw her as less or broken. Well, no wonder she couldn’t hear me. She was doing her smashed thumb dance, and I thought it would be a good time for a deep philosophical conversation. Why would she want to??

I had to learn how to hear her first, then how to support her, and then ask her “What are you feeling?” “What do you think about it now that you’ve had time to think?” “What are you hearing from God about this?” AH HA!

As soon as I asked her that question, we were back on the right track. She felt really good being able to process what she was feeling, thinking, learning. I could hear growth in her relationship with God, and she could know that I was empathizing with her, not trying to fix her.

Was she wallowing in pig slop and needed me to stop her from giving herself a poop facial? In the end, not so much. Did she need me to be a voice of truth? That remains to be seen. At that moment my behavior wasn’t the most effective. But luckily she was super patient with me and really walked me through a gentler way to get her to come to those realizations herself.

Wow, I know how to use questioning to lead people to finding the right answer; I really feel like kicking myself, but the truth is even when we “know” something, sometimes until the Holy Spirit has opened our hearts, that knowledge is just words. In a very real way, He taught me how to better be an ambassador of love today. Even though nothing I said was wrong or un-Biblical, I learned that I can better choose when or if to say something.

Both of us grew closer to each other and God through going to Him today.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Because when we stand and look at Him, he cleans us up by degree. And sanctification, like good friends, is a tremendous blessing from God. Cool-Cat-Cafe-Free-Parking-with-Validation

So hopefully, she knows now, that in my friendship parking garage, why, yes, we do validate here. When examining the muck, I need to ask her what she thinks. Is that poop or chocolate? If it’s poop, let’s find the car wash together. If it’s chocolate, it’s every woman for herself.

The Butterfly Effect: Handling Rejection as a Christian

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

How are you with handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

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One early fall afternoon a few years ago, I’d been crying. I had shared my passionate fire for Jesus with a friend, but she didn’t want to hear it. Her marriage was struggling. I shared how my relationship with Christ had transformed my marriage. But all she could hear was more things for her to do when she felt like she was already doing everything.

Not only did she reject a Christian take on marriage, our friendship ended.

Later, I replayed every word in my head. I had tried come alongside her, speak with love, gentleness and compassion, and being real about my own brokenness, failures, sin, and redemption.

But something had gone terribly wrong!

I kept trying to rephrase it, find just the right words, but nothing I did seemed to matter. She just grew less willing to listen. She walked away from our conversation and friendship without even a good-bye.  I was just devastated.
But I realized that handling rejection well has to be part of our walk as Christian women. We are supposed to share our testimony, prepared to also share in suffering for it.

2 Timothy 1:8 ESV “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,”

Trying not to let my hurt derail me, I needed some time with God. Seeking His solace and comfort, I went outside to be alone to pray. My daughter is wonderful at a great many things, but being quiet is not one of them. 😉

“Dear God, I don’t know what to do. How do I deal with this pain? What should I do to heal this fractured relationship? How can I be obedient to you in the middle of this hurt?” Tears filled my eyes as I prayed.

A small orange and black butterfly swooped over my head and fluttered its way to the tree above. Squinting in the sunlight, I looked into the branches, but it was gone. All I could see was a bunch of leaves browning in the late summer heat wave.

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

But then the wind rustled the leaves, and the butterfly flickered to catch the cool breeze on her wings. Her vibrant wings shone against the dreary backdrop.

God whispered into my heart that moment.

A beautiful butterfly can be lost among the dying leaves if she looks like her surroundings. Click To Tweet

A beautiful butterfly can be lost among the dying leaves if she closes up to look like her surroundings. It is only when she dares to open as a new creation that her beauty is obvious.

The Butterfly Effect is when we stand out as vibrantly alive in the midst of a dead world.

One tiny butterfly amidst a tree full of brown leaves was all the more beautiful because of the contrast between her and the surroundings.

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

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2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Chills raced over my arms. I felt God’s words flow into my heart.

I’m not supposed to look like the rest of the world anymore. I’m not supposed to blend in. God is calling me to stand out, not as myself, but as a witness for Him.

I may not be blameless in the derailment of our friendship. In my excitement and immaturity, I may not have presented my faith with gentleness or waiting patiently for the right time. I’m learning how to best reach people where they are, but she wasn’t rejecting me, not really. For the first time, I truly understood the following verse.

John 15:18 ESV “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

Jesus knew we would need help handling rejection!

I had forgotten what it felt like to be running full tilt away from God, walking away from people who could only talk about Jesus, the darkness in me refusing to be around their light.

Romans 8:7 ESV “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”

Their light made the darkness in me so obvious. I got angry, indignant, and chose my way over God’s. Thank goodness, He didn’t leave me there!

Ephesians 5:8 ESV “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”

Jesus and the Holy Spirit changed my life, my heart, changed my parenting, and my marriage. I wanted to shout it from the mountains. It was a miracle for my life and family.

Who wouldn’t want a miracle?

People who don’t know they need one. People who have never truly come face to face with their need for salvation and grace.

She couldn’t see God’s blessings in what I was saying. All she could see was the things of this world she would have to give up to follow Christ.

Who wouldn't want a miracle? People who don't know they need one. #butterflyeffect #newcreation Click To Tweet

Most believers will tell you we all have moments in which we cling to worldly things. Selfishly holding onto something that isn’t what God wants for us, we later realize it was holding us back from best things God wants for us.

1 John 2:15 ESV  “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Serving God has to be an all or nothing proposition.

Being sold out for Jesus is a decision. When the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to God, and I started to understand grace, my whole heart changed perspective. Letting Him clean up my life is a process, but I had to surrender as master of my heart. And in doing so, I learned that I am such a happier person without the very things I used to think made me ‘happy.’

I would love to tell you this friend has come back and asked me what makes me so different, and maybe someday I can. I can’t say the hurt is completely gone either, but knowing my responsibility is to grow closer to God is comforting.

Are you good at handling rejection? What should we do when people reject us because of our beliefs and values as Christians? Embrace the Butterfly Effect!

I’m learning to listen more, talk less, serve more, know that living differently, loving much, using His butterfly effect is my best witness.

We meet them where they are, not excusing their sin, but loving them anyway as Christ first loved us.

But, I have to choose to spread my wings, letting people see His new creation in me, not let the world pressure me to look like them.

People who are ready, will see His butterfly effect in me. And for those who aren’t, I will plant a seed.

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Our Jar: Sanctification of our lives

Sanctification is a beautiful process of how God cleans up the mess we've made of our lives, if we let him change what we pour into our lives.

Sanctification is a beautiful process of how God cleans up the mess we’ve made of our lives, if we let him change what we pour into our lives.

Watch this wonderful illustration about how prayer changes darkness in our lives when we open the gates wide and pray.

What a moving illustration about how God is pouring His light into us as we pray, changing our perspective in even the darkest circumstances.

Lately, I’ve had one issue weighing on my heart, sanctification: being transformed into holy beings. The challenge of sin and accountability in the modern body of believers is difficult because we have to balance love with obedience to God’s word.

I wrote about the process of sanctification earlier in my post The Race Set Before Us, and the struggles with judgment and criticism in Winning the Mommy Wars.

1 John 1:7 ESV  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Our fellowship with each other is important because we can support each other in the sanctification process. It is hard being the only person in a group to stand up for what is right.

In talks with my stepson, who has not accepted Christ yet, I share my faith. Partially, his concerns are about giving up the “fun” things in life. He is struggling with choosing Christ because of the intense peer pressure of high school and his fear of being the only one choosing not to swear or talk about sex.

I want to help him understand why I do choose to be different from the world even though, it is sometimes hard to stand for Christ.

I created this video to demonstrate my experiences in cleaning up my heart so sanctification isn’t such a mystery, being appropriately transparent so he sees that my need for God too.

I don’t want him to think this change in me is anything less than the miracle of Christ in my life.

I want my children to see my sanctification as the miracle of Christ in me that it is. Click To Tweet

Ephesians 5:8 ESV “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

We were talking about how to clean up our lives. He was overwhelmed by how daunting a task that seems.

Thanks to original sin, we humans start out pretty messy and only get worse through our contact with the world.

God wants to clean us up. He wants to set us apart for holy use, but are we preventing Him from doing that? Are we getting in our own way? I was.

What are we putting into our jar?

This video is an object lesson I created to show what we allow in our lives matters, whether it is friends, television, music or movies.

Are we filling ourselves with darkness faster than we’re filling ourselves with the light?

Hard to be sanctified when we're pouring in darkness faster than we're letting in His light. Click To Tweet

Some days, I feel weighed down by the abundance of worthless garbage the world pours into our lives. We live in the world; we can’t hide from it, but we can be more cautious about what we let in.

Philippians 4:8 ESV “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Sometimes, it isn’t easy to know where to start. I decided to make one choice at a time, using Philippians 4:8 as my guide.

Sanctification is a step by step journey.

Instead of just eliminating worldly things, I started adding more Godly things: praise songs, praying, reading the Bible and listening to sermons.

I ran out of room for the world when I ran TO God, adding in good things like praise. Click To Tweet

The more good things I chose, the less the world appealed. In time, I became truly changed, more full of God’s light, hopefully a growing witness of God’s grace and love.

Matthew 5:16 ESV  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

What once felt like things I’d have to give up to be “in” with Jesus, were really weights keeping me from experiencing true freedom in Him.

I can’t make my children choose God, but I can live the JOY I have in letting go of the world.

The Race Set Before Us

Ever get advice at the starting line of a marathon? They say, run your race. We have to run the race set before US. Not compare our journey with another's finish line.

I was talking with a young wife in our church, discussing the amazing witness of another woman we both admire.

She is a beacon of light, hope, love and faith to all who meet her. She is an on her knees, give it all to God kind of woman. In the midst of the hardest times of her life, she serves everyone else.

“I can’t see myself ever being like her,” said my young friend, dejectedly.

“Of course you can’t see that today. Call me in twenty years,” I answered, “and tell me who you are.”

I am really looking forward to seeing this young woman grow in her faith. My heart rejoices to see her hear God’s word and be changed by it.

I’ve watched her cry under God’s conviction, but be so utterly changed that she calls me rejoicing. It is beautiful.

Yet, in that moment of comparison, she sounded so defeated.

Just like the #Olympics - Winners run their own race to the best of their ability today. Click To Tweet

I prayed about how to encourage her, thinking how my mentor encourages me where I am, while still holding me accountable.

I suspect many new believers get discouraged because they fall short when they compare their new walk with someone who has been walking God’s path for decades, because they cannot see how God can/will change them over time.

We have to run the race set before us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

What a miracle that truth is! We are new in Him!

Sometimes though, we get so caught up in preaching this joyful verse we forget to talk about the tough work of cleaning out the old.

Your house has been sold to a new tenant, but you still have to clean out the attic with its years’ worth of things, garbage, junk. You still have to sort through it all, working in the clean up.

Jesus made your heart His home, but the cleansing process only BEGINS overnight. Click To Tweet

When the Holy Spirit opened my eyes, I did have a miraculous change in perspective, but my entire life was not instantly changed.

My heart instantly wanted to change, but I still had a lot of sins I’d been hoarding, sinful choices I thought I could make and still have Jesus.

Several years ago, I watched some television that displayed blatantly sinful behavior. I thought I could keep watching these shows because I was an adult and wouldn’t let it affect me. I thought I could serve God and still hold onto these earthly things, that if my heart was His, it didn’t matter what my eyes saw or my ears heard.

I lied to myself about the importance of my daily choices while I was trapped in sin. Click To Tweet

Then one day, after my total surrender to Christ, I saw five minutes of a new show that changed my perspective. The darkness of that show was palpable, tangible to me.

I left the room. God whispered I didn’t need to put that in front of my eyes where it would seep into my brain and affect my heart.

All of a sudden, watching those shows didn’t feel like a freedom, but like a weight drowning me in the muck of this world.

Christ paid my debts. I have no claim on my eyes, ears, tongue. He bought the whole package. I needed to give myself over to Him completely.

Ever get advice at the starting line of a marathon? They say, run your race. We have to run the race set before US. Not compare our journey with another's finish line.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV  ” . . . let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith . . .

Christ is showing me the race set before me. He is gloriously perfecting my faith. My journey isn’t supposed to look like any other until the end, when we are all made perfect in Heaven.

My journey isn't supposed to look like any other. My race is sanctifying me for His purpose. Click To Tweet

I have cleaned up my television viewing, language, tone of voice, attitude, gradually peeling away the layers of sinfulness from my life and my heart.

Several years ago, I couldn’t have imagined being the woman I am today. I was drowning in shame over who I had been and who I was at the time.

But I started running my race. I can’t see whom I will become. But God can. I just have to have faith in Him and His plan for me.

2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

The process God uses to clean up our lives is called sanctification, the process of being made holy, being set aside for sacred use. It is a life-long process.

For someone who loves deadlines, finish lines, achieving a goal, I struggle with an open-ended process. I want to be able to see the finish line and work to get there.

But in my past, I believed I had to clean myself up to get to God. I didn’t understand I just needed to come and let Him cleanse me.

I thought it was something I had to achieve, like when I used to run.

I started running to lose weight. Then I kept running because I wanted to do things I never thought I could. I took pride in every hard-won mile. I cried when I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon race. Going from not being able to jog for three minutes to being able to run 13.1 miles was hard work, but I had a goal. I could see the prize.

Being sanctified isn’t like that. You can’t know the journey God has planned for you, the wonderful ways He will change and use you.

Before I understood, I was so ashamed of my sin. I thought I was too dirty for God to use or claim. Then I read the following verse in Timothy.

2 Timothy 2:21 ESV “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”

Have you ever read a verse that touched a wounded part of you so deeply that tears sprang to your eyes? My heart ached to accept this beautiful picture of God washing me, inside and out. I could be made useful and holy

. . . even me.

Everyone started in the same place. Before we knew Christ, we were sinners in need of saving. No matter where on the journey we are, we all had the same need to be chosen and cleansed.

If you’re standing near the starting line, don’t be discouraged by comparison to those who’ve been in training for years. In your fervor to know God, you can learn a lot from them. If you desire to be changed, He will answer you.

The more I seek Him, the more things of this world fall away.

I used to think God was asking me to give up worldly things, and I couldn’t see how I’d ever have the strength to do so. It felt restrictive and hard.

Now I see, He was inviting me to let them go, to quit being burdened by them.

Sanctification isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, and we must run the race set before us. Click To Tweet

I have freedom in salvation. Some in choices I make (contemporary Christian vs. traditional hymns), but more and more I see that the freedom is in how God is freeing and releasing me from the sinful choices I have made.

But, I have days I cannot see how I will have the strength to run this race.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Those days of weariness, I know I have to understand what I can for today. God doesn’t expect me to be the ‘me’ of tomorrow, just to be willing to obey as I understand right now.

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

Jesus Christ has released you from the slavery of sin to run the race set before you. Don’t waste time in comparison, but you can celebrate the fellowship in the body of Christ to lean on and learn from those further down the journey while rejoicing in His perfect freedom.