Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hat Flipped Up and Pants Sagged Down

Why are people so quick to judge? It’s really annoying. Not going to lie, but I hate being judged. I hate being criticized. I hate being looked down on. Don’t get me wrong though— I appreciate constructive criticism— in fact I love it. What I hate is when people look at me— specifically how I dress— and judge me in their mind. Allow me to explain myself.
I was at church this weekend and a missionary we support was visiting. My friend and I decided to talk with him after service. She was excited to talk to the missionary about Africa and stuff and the missionary was thoroughly interested. I tried to keep quiet (I’ll explain more in an upcoming post). Finally the missionary asked me what I wanted to do in the future and before I could answer my friend said, “He wants to be a pastor.” I saw the missionary look me over— head to foot to head— and watched his face change. Basically saying, “This tall, skinny kid whose hat is cocked to the side and his jeans are falling off wants to be a pastor? What’s this world coming to?” I was appalled.
You see, there are at least five Bible verses that I have taken up that put my casual dress appearance to ease. Allow me to share. 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Corinthians 9:22b, Colossians 3:1, Romans 7:14-25, and 1 Timothy 4:12.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
When it comes to how I dress all I have to remember is that God doesn’t care about that. What He cares about is where my heart is. And where my heart is, as I will show in the following verses, is on God. My dress keeps me focused on Him actually.
1 Corinthians 9:22b says, “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.”
I’m all about going out and spreading the gospel. One key way I go about that is through rap music. My own. Shai Linne’s. Trip Lee’s. If you do rap music, you can’t wear your pants above your hips. It just doesn’t give the right image and people say, “wow, what a poser. I’m not gonna listen to him.” So, to fit the image pants must sag. In addition, I live in a “ghetto” of my city. If I’m gonna do any good I’ve got to dress the part. It’s that easy. No gangster is going to listen to someone who wears his pants above his waist, shirt tucked in, etc.
Colossians 3:1 says, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
This verse speaks about my hat.  Well not really, but soon you’ll understand. I had a really good friend, who I rarely talk to anymore unfortunately, but I would always turn my hat crooked and point the bill at her, saying, “my hat points at my favorite person in the room.” She never liked it, but the truth is now: I point my hat at my favorite Person in the world— Jesus Christ. If He’s at the right hand of the Father, up in Heaven, and my hat points at my favorite Person, then logically my hat is pointing up, slightly right of center. Every time I remember my hat I think of Jesus. He’s higher, better, and greater than me, but He is my right hand Man through all trials, temptations, and struggles.
Romans 7:14-25 says, “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”
This passage is a long, complicated way of saying, “sin is warring against me, trying to get me down. I have to fight the temptations to come out on top.” This is where my sagging jeans come in. If my pants are slowly working their way down my waist every day, and I have to pull them back up constantly, it reminds me of sin. I have to keep on top of temptations and not them get a hold in my mind, because that is when sin comes in. I have overcome several temptations recently, solely by thinking about my pants— or even just in the process of getting them back up above my hips. Sin wants to get me down just like my pants want to fall down, but I have to work to keep myself above sin and to keep my pants on my waist. If I kept my pants above my waist 100% of the time I’d forget about the spiritual warfare quite quickly.
1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
This verse will close out this post. Nowhere in here does it say that you have to wear your pants above your waist to be an example. The closest thing to that is “conduct”, but I believe that is speaking of how you live your life, not how you dress while living life. Purity isn’t really an issue either. My mom has told me numerous times, “girls would like you more if you wear your clothes right.” Thus, I would be leading more people into sinful thoughts if my pants were up high than if they’re slightly sagged.
Well, there are my thoughts. I want to be a pastor one day, and yes, when I am preaching I will be dressed up. But as long as I’m not behind a pulpit I will dress to reflect Christ (with my hat) and my war against sin (with my pants). Say what you want but this is me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Prayer Bargaining pt 2

Judges 11:30-35— “Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, “If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand. He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel. When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back.””

So, I read this today and it reminded me of my post from a couple days ago about prayer bargaining with God. Clearly it’s not a good idea. Because, it would be highly possible for to happen. I would not be able to follow through on my vow, but we as Christians are called to live up to our word. So the warning is not to promise God anything if He will do one certain thing for us. So, I thank God again for showing me that I shouldn’t bargain with Him, and for allowing me to hear Him through His word.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Transformed Mind

Romans 12:2- “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Let’s just say that I had tons of stuff to write on this verse, specifically the “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” section, but I just started thinking about the rest of the verse and it made 65 times more sense why God had put the verse in my head at all. I’ll keep it simple for you though.
Tuesday night I was lying in bed and my mind was wandering where it shouldn’t have been. All of a sudden “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” popped into my head and it helped immensely. I still haven’t been able to get it out of my head so I decided to write it down, and in doing so I wrote the whole verse.
Reading the verse in its entirety clears it up for me as to why God put it into my head. Let’s just say I’ve been praying for Him to reveal His will to me, and there it is. “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is”. So therefore, in order for me to know God’s will, my mind needs to be transformed.
This leads to questions about whether this happens at salvation, or whether it’s a Christian maturity thing. Personally, I have no clue. I think it’s more along the lines of maturity because I’ve been a Christian for almost two years now and I know for a fact my mind could still use transformation. Romans 7 and the whole topic of sanctification back me up on this.
But, in closing, let me just say that God does speak to us through His Word when we take the time to get to know it and the time to quiet ourselves to hear Him.