This morning the Lord taught me something about myself, or maybe He just shined light on what I already knew. He showed me how much I despise being made a fool of.I hate when my actions and decisions are questioned, even simple ones like…paint color. Through His word, He taught me that sometimes He values my “foolishness” over my “religion.”
At work I struggle because I am continually learning and constantly being contradicted. Even when these simple suggestions or teachable moments are minor, my self-esteem takes a hit. Moodiness sets in and I immediately become very hands off. Oh, you don’t like my paint color? You can take over the project. You want to go through my patient’s chart? How about you take over care.
To take it a step further, I think it puts boundaries on when and how I share my faith. If I feel that my views are unpopular in a certain setting I tend to just stay quiet at best, and at worst do my best to “fit in.”
“I’m not a regular Christian…I’m a cool Christian.”
I do think there is value in being relatable and not pushing or bullying someone into your beliefs, but in all that gray area I think there is a line.
When does being relatable turn into conforming to the world? When is staying quiet generating peace versus passive acceptance? When does my fear of appearing foolish make me spineless and robotic instead of free in Christ?
Reading through Mark 15 and 16 this morning I was struck by Jesus’ humility. In these chapters, everything about Jesus is questioned, mocked, and insulted. He was flogged and tortured but, dare I say, even worse than that, His integrity, intelligence and worth as a man was exposed and ridiculed.
Now if Jesus can go through this, I can swallow my pride enough to be teachable and patient when I have to explain myself. In even more seriousness, I can stand firm in my beliefs even when those around me disagree or put my intelligence into question because of them.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
It is important for us to continue to represent the Father, and to control our words and actions. Even when it means looking foolish to the world, it means everything for building our faith. Fitting in will never be as important as showing love to the Lord through obedience.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26
So, how do we deal with this insecurity? As I went through James 1, I found a few applications:
- Persevere: persevere through the trial God promises that He will finish His work in us, producing maturity and wholeness, and giving us a crown of life. (James 1: 4, James 1:12)
- Ask God for Wisdom: God places no fault on those who ask for guidance, and He even promises to give you wisdom when you ask for it. (James 1:5)
- Control Your Temper: God wants us to be good listeners and self-controlled speakers. He values those who do not put their foot in their mouths. Our anger does not produce His righteousness. That is His job, we are to be humble and self-controlled. (James 1:19-22)
- Be Obedient to the Word: Don’t just say you follow Christ, follow Him! Don’t just read your Bible, obey his commandments! I struggle here, but obedience is how we combat worthless religion. (James 1:22-25)
“Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you will become wise.” 1 Corinthians 3:18
Are there moments when you value the opinion of others more than obedience? Do you also fear appearing foolish to those around you? What are some ways you combat these feelings?