March 4, 2019
"Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses." 2 Corinthians 6:4 (NIV)
Have you ever walked into church or Bible study, surveyed the women around and thought ...
Oh, she's the "legit" Bible study girl. Look, her workbook already looks broken in. The corners are crunched and dog-eared, the text highlighted. I bet all her answers are complete. No blanks for her. I'll be a complete disappointment.
Women are brilliant at sizing up the room to see where we fit in.
Aw man, she put on makeup, actual makeup, today. Why didn't somebody tell me it was that kind of event? Goodness gracious, I'm still wearing yesterday's mascara. Next, please!
Or this ... Oh great, she brought the snack. I'm the loser who just showed up. Mercy, there's not one soul here like me!
We do this all the time in 1,000 ways and scenarios. We're constantly examining the real and digital world around us, wondering, Is she really all that?!
How sad that our assumptions about her often make us feel badly about ourselves. But friend, in the darkest corners of my heart - and in the most sinful ways - I have taken it a step further. Whether in real life or social media, I find myself thinking, There's no way that's real life.
Sometimes I want to believe she's fake or see the unedited version because it makes me feel better about myself. Ugh.
No doubt we are tired of the filtered and fake. But let's pretend for just a minute that even part of what we see about someone else's life is authentic. Because what if ... the girl who brought her Bible study book all filled-in, whose Bible is all highlighted and marked-up, really does pour her heart and mind into loving Jesus?
It might not all be real, but maybe it's not completely fake either. Why would I judge her and assume it's not? Because it makes me feel better to believe it's fake?
Can I speak something over those of us trying to biblically define what it means to be feminine and a follower of Christ? What if we let one another be truly transparent or genuine?
Can you imagine how different our churches might look if we celebrated one another's victories, gave voice to the Jesus-growth happening in our hearts and homes, and cheered one another on to holiness?
How might the gospel flourish if we were genuine for the glory of Jesus?
I think that's what Paul is getting at in 2 Corinthians 6:4. "Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses."
Paul says he and his ministry partners have been truthful and genuine with their brothers and sisters in Corinth. Their ministry and message can be trusted. But look at what Paul has shared honestly - it's not just the messy stuff of stress and struggle, pain and brokenness. There's much more.
Continuing further in 2 Corinthians 6, Paul shares his bouts with hunger and sleepless nights as well as his moments of sincere patience and love. And look at who Paul credits with those spiritual gifts of love and patience - the Holy Spirit and the power of God. (verses 5-6) When we talk openly about how God is at work in us, He receives the glory!
What if we didn't expect one another to be perfect ... but we didn't demand each of us be completely messed up either? What if you could freely talk about areas where you're growing in Christlikeness, and at the same time, ask for help in the areas where you struggle? What if that was what we considered real transparency? I'd like to imagine that's what God had in mind all along!
What if we lived out the gospel in ways that prove it really works? That living for Jesus and living like Jesus can authentically change us, not perfectly, but for the better? Just imagine, what if?
Dear Jesus, thank You the gospel doesn't just save me. It changes me. Help me live a life that celebrates what You're doing in others' lives. I want to be the kind of woman who cheers others on and invites You to work in me the way You've worked in them. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 4:1-2, "Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God." (NIV)
In Sick of Me: From Transparency to Transformation, Whitney Capps shows us that spiritual growth means being both honest and holy - that we can come to Jesus just as we are, but we cannot stay that way. While virtues like vulnerability, honesty and humility are desperately needed, we should fight for more. If you want to be honest about all your junk, but you're also sick of staying there - Sick of Me is for you.
For more encouragement on healthy community, follow Whitney on Instagram, @whitneycapps.
Or, if you've been hurt by the Church or community, you can get her free "Healing from Church Hurt" download at www.whitneycapps.com.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are some ways you can cheer on other women - even those whose lives have made you feel suspicious or insecure? Find two women this week whom you can encourage!
How might your friendships, church or community be changed by women who believe the best about each other? Join the conversation, and share your thoughts with us!
© 2019 by Whitney Capps. All rights reserved.