Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chew, Test, Pray

I would like to think that peer pressure only afflicts teenagers.

But it doesn't.

It jumps up and grabs my heels every once in awhile and afflicts a decidedly post-teen me.  It clings with a tenacity that surprises me, and I find myself fighting to regain my equilibrium.  I stop and look at it to see what is trying to make me move in a direction of it's own choosing.  More surprise!  The peer pressure is emanating from the voices of other Christians I admire.

I have been reading words and hearing admonitions written and spoken by people I truly follow as they follow Jesus; words full of truth and light and . . . Him.  'Yes!' I think, 'I agree with much of their thinking . . . So w
hy do I feel so uneasy? Is this disconcerted feeling a good thing, or not?' This time I think not.

Then comes the questioning, wondering if I'm on the wrong side of what they are saying.  Wait . . . conviction is a disconcerting feeling . . . is that what this is?  That's not what it feels like.  But I start scrambling anyway, trying to fix everything they said to fix, leaping to knock down the particulars of what they said was pride . . . or could be.

The whole time I'm running around "fixing," a quieter, calmer, un-frantic thought is politely asking for notice.  'You're repenting for things you're not sorry about.  You're fixing things that aren't broken.  Have you asked Me what I think about this . . . and you?'  No, I realize, I'm running to stay with the crowd.  I'm worrying about what they'll think of me if I don't make these changes.  This is like high school when I bought a pair of shoes I hated in a desperate bid to fit in with the cool kids.  I'm responding to peer pressure, not to Spirit molding.

Confused thoughts swirl around in my head, bumping into one another, bumping into me, upsetting my sense of where I was going and why.  I know better than to swallow before I chew, and yet that's exactly what I started to do!  What was I thinking?  What if they think I'm less spiritual than they are?  What if they misinterpret my motives and think me prideful?  What if they think I love Jesus less than they do? Yuck! This CANNOT be what God wants running through my mind today!!

Are 'they' my God or is God my God?
"We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18 HCSB
  Whose job is it to make me like Jesus?  Theirs or His?
It is the Holy Spirit's job to make me like Jesus!

It isn't even MY job to make me like Jesus--my job is to be a mirror!

There for a little while I almost forgot that God isn't working to make us, His people, to all be like each other.

God is working
in all of us . . .
to make each of us . . .
just like Jesus Christ.

That is the ultimate relief from peer pressure in any form.  From "glory to glory" He makes His adjustments in us, moving us ever closer to that glorious image of His Son. He does not do this collectively in huge batch processes, but individually, with high resolution, pixel-by-pixel personalized attention.  We can learn from and influence one another as we submit personally to His attentions, but it is never a one size fits all walk.  How He is working in you may be completely different than what He needs to do in me and vice versa.  He may be moving you east of your current position and moving me west of mine.  If I try to follow directions He is giving you, I might actually be going the wrong direction from where I am!

The trick is to always . . .

. . . chew before I swallow . . .
. . . test before I trust . . .
. . . pray before I move.

What a hope we have in knowing that someday our transformation will be complete, that the reflection will be true, that we will be LIKE HIM!

"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2 NIV

Do you ever catch yourself people-pleasing?
How do you fight the temptation?

An old song, but it expresses our hope
of future glory so powerfully!

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