Ephesians 4:22-23 (NLT) says, “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
I’ve noticed recently a lot of “lukewarm” christians. Let me explain what I mean by that. I mean the ones who go to Church Sunday morning but spent their Friday and Saturday nights drinking and cursing. I mean the ones with the high standards about the next person they date but are willing to lay down with a total stranger. The ones who can hear God calling but just can’t seem to separate their flesh from their faith. The ones who don’t know how to make a conversation that isn’t about another person. The ones who perceive them selves as devoted Christ followers on social media but live a life of sin in the background. The ones who only pray when they need a miracle or treat prayer like a joke. I recognize them because I’ve been them. This will come as no surprise to some of you but, I used to be to be no stranger to a party. I didn’t hesitate to let a cuss word come spewing out of my mouth. I was the girl that would speak or do things without giving a second thought about how it would make anyone else feel. I thought I was cool and I thought I fit in where I was.
Then one day, something in me changed. I started to feel bad being in these conversations where we were talking ugly about people. I no longer wanted to stay out until all hours of the night, I just wanted my own bed. I felt dirty for saying a curse word. I felt God calling me and I wanted to answer.
I am desperately begging you, to stop being “lukewarm” christians. Jump all the way in!! I finally let God change my heart and I wouldn’t go back for anything. I get invited to things a lot less often, for awhile there I didn’t have any friends I felt comfortable around, I spent a lot of nights at home just watching Netflix by myself or with my mom. Most of my plans were made to have lunch with my dad or hang out with my sister. I didn’t have a lot of friends but I would tell myself, “I have Jesus. So I have everything.”
One of the prayers I pray the most is for people to see Christ through me. Let me ask you this, am I embodying Christ if I am cursing, drinking, sleeping around? No. This is not Christ-like behavior. If you want people to follow in your footsteps, you must give them admirable foot steps to follow in. The reason you do these things is because you’re searching for happiness in all the wrong places, whereas real pure happiness can only be found through Christ. I’m not in any way saying I’m perfect or to follow in my footsteps. I’m far from perfect and I don’t want you to follow in my footsteps. I want you to follow in Christ’s footsteps.
Stop preaching the gospel and then turning around and spending your Friday night drunk, or dropping the F bomb in your next conversation or engaging in meaningless sexual immorality (Ladies, if a man is asking you to engage in these activities, he is not the man God has sent to you because he does not fear God…this goes for you too, gentleman). Or maybe you’re not preaching the gospel at all and you’re living your life this way, this is for you too. Start preaching the gospel through the way you live your life. Be kind to people, to everyone you meet. Take that $20 for your nails and put it in the bucket at church. Start a conversation with a random person and end it with, “hey is there any way I can pray for you?” (You would be surprised how many people take you up on this). Let people learn by just watching you live your life. It’s contagious. For example, when I first felt this change in my heart I had to distance myself from certain people to isolate myself from any temptations. This meant that I spent a lot of time hanging out by myself and I got very, very lonely and it was hard. When I said I was going to stop cussing, I stopped listening to rap music. I no longer watch really vulgur sex scenes in movies (I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades). I don’t dress to look “hot”. I dress modestly because I learned that if I’m dressing or presenting myself in a way that might cause another brother or sister in Christ to sin by lusting after me, then I’m sinning too. There was a period of time where I basically isolated myself from my old friends and certain parts of the world so that I could work on myself. And at first, I think people thought I was doing it for attention. “No one just wakes up one day and all of a sudden doesn’t curse or drink or sleep around and actually means it, that’s just crazy!” It was crazy, but I felt called to do it and I did.
So… slowly, people noticed I wasn’t going anywhere. I started getting comments like “you seem really happy”, or “I really like all your tweets and posts about God”. I started to get people texting me and asking me to just pray for them or send them a scripture I thought they needed to hear . I was getting these opportunities put in front of me to minister to people and try to bring more people to Christ. My girls in my bible study group became my best friends and my prayer warriors (I prayed for so long for Godly friends and He blessed me with so much more. I have a family there). Almost everyday I hear a story or a testimony that just humbles me and reminds me I serve such a mighty God.
I am begging you, stop living this life of sin. God promises us so, SO much more than you could ever find at the bottom of a bottle or in someone else’s bed. Let Him in. Let Him change your heart. There is a loving God just waiting for you to accept him into your heart. What are you waiting on?
©The Ansley Foundation