Ok so I’ve been MIA for a bit because we have been BUSY! I’ve hosted a few bible studies, Isaiah started STEM camp and ended it the SAME DAY because he broke his ankle, dad has been sick and I’ve spent a couple of days helping out over there, AND Noah has been doing baseball which surprisingly takes up a TON of time! SO, though I have WANTED to write, I have simply been exhausted at the end of the day which is when I get to write. HOWEVER, though I SHOULD finish cleaning my kitchen at this moment, I am more inclined to write and since my asthma has decided to show its’ face, I am sitting and writing.
I want to touch a bit on faith right now and center my writing thoughts on the song “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns (my fave Christian band). This song is so wonderful in a stab-you-in-the-gut-and-give-you-a-reality-check kind of way. You see, I have witnessed a “slow fade” in myself a few times over the years and have currently noticed it happening again. A slow fade; what does that mean? Well the song implies the meaning as slowly slipping from your walk with God to a walk with man; giving into the desires of the flesh. And it is a slow fade. Think about it. You “fall off the wagon” just once and you think you won’t do it again, but you don’t hold yourself accountable so when you do it again you say again “this will be the last time”. It is really just like an addiction…an addiction to the world.
Say in your speech, for instance, you say a “bad” word or use a word in a bad way just once. Instead of holding yourself accountable in confession, prayer, repentance, and forgiveness, you simply let it slide and go on your merry way. You THINK this isn’t a big deal, but then it happens again, and again you let it slide because after all, you are human. Then it happens again, and again, and now it has become a habit and you feel guilty each time you do it but you can’t stop (like biting your nails or over eating). Slow fade; see? You start small, but it always goes big unless you confront it and take care of it.
Now, I in no way EVER will claim to be perfect. I will NEVER claim to be close to perfect. I will NEVER claim to be a better Christian or person than another and you know why? Because while God made me perfect in His image, sin is rampant and because I am a person and not God, I am wholly sinful. We used to do a catechism class at my old church and one of the questions was “how sinful are you by nature?” and the answer was “I am corrupt in every part of my being” (Great Commission Publications, 2009). When I first read and heard that I was offended…imagine that! My sinful heart didn’t want to hear that I am corrupt in EVERY PART of me. The activity that goes with the lesson really made it sink, though. It uses water and food coloring. Do you know if you put even one tiny drop of food coloring in a glass of water the entire cup will change color (or become contaminated)? AND, did you know that once you put the food coloring in the water, you cannot take it back out? It will be whatever color you changed it to forever. Sure, you can add more water and make it lighter, BUT, the color will always be there, even if you can’t see it. YOU GUYS, that is EXACTLY how sin is! It takes ONE DROP and that drop will FOREVER be in our hearts, BUT we can choose to make ourselves clearer via Christ, or we can add more coloring to the water until He cannot be seen.
It is a SLOW FADE. It only takes once. One slip to start fading; one bad word, one wrong choice, on walk on the easy road; that is all it takes. AND since we are not perfect, we need to be accountable not only for ourselves, but to hold each other accountable also.
THAT is HARD!
As if it isn’t bad enough that we have to try to control our own sinful nature, we also have to hold others accountable for theirs? Are.you.serious!? Yes, yes I am. This is actually what the Bible says, though MANY misquote it! Here is one verse where we are told this: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2 NIV). “But Ceci,” you say, “it says right here, DO NOT JUDGE, so how is it my place to hold others accountable; to essentially judge their actions”. Well, I am so glad you asked because the very next verse explains exactly what we are to do. You see, we ARE to judge, BUT we are to do so without hypocrisy. When we judge, we should be aware that we are also TO BE judged IN THE SAME WAY that we are judging. If you are confronting a brother or sister in their sin of dishonesty, but you are hiding behind a sin of your own, then be FULLY prepared to be judged as you are judging your brother. Let’s look: “Why do you look at the SPECK of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the PLANK in your own eye?” (verse 3). OH SNAP! That’s right, friends, go ahead and judge, BUT you might wanna look in that mirror first because Jesus goes on to say: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You HYPOCRITE, FIRST take the plank out of your own eye, and THEN YOU WILL SEE CLEARLY to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (v.4-5); well that’s a wakeup call, isn’t it. So you gotta judge your brothers and sisters, BUT you gotta take a good, long look at yourself first. Ouch.
SO, friends, I realize I kind of went on a tangent, but my point behind that whole section of Scripture it that holding yourself THEN others accountable IS your job as a Christian. I have NOT been holding myself accountable so I have not been a position to hold others accountable. I’ve been being a hypocrite; essentially…I’ve been slowly fading. Even when I have been visiting other churches I’ve been doing so with half a heart and low expectations for a couple of reasons: 1) so I am not disappointed, and 2) so I have an excuse not to return. I was hurt, I have been rebelling; now I want to confess, repent, apologize, and become vibrant for the Lord again.
SO, I have been stabbed in the gut, and my reality has been checked. “Be careful little ears what you hear. When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near” (Hall, [Casting Crowns] 2007).
While I WISH I could put the entire chapter here, I had to choose a few key verses from Romans 3. I encourage you to read the chapter, though. It is necessary to living!
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:19-20 NIV).
Don’t fade; become conscious; and encourage each other.
AND, one final request, can you please pray for me and my family? 🙂