Note to reader: The following is the result of further study, research and reflection after reading a portion of The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer, a book written upon the influence of the movie Courageous, which hit theaters nation-wide in September/October of 2011.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless. Psalm 119:1
It isn’t every day that I find myself reading material that makes me want to rip the book apart or shove it back on the shelf to collect dust until I either a) opt to donate it or toss it out or b) choose to read it again. I was both convicted and yet not when I got the section on integrity.
What comes to mind when you think of this
I will not tolerate evil influences even in the most justifiable form, in myself or my home…
This point of the resolution requires an intimate, personal, introspective look at what’s going on in our hearts and homes. We then realize that these things we’ve been sanctioning with our time and attention are a glaring contradiction of who we are and what we say we believe.
This points to the types of books we read, the TV shows we choose to watch, the movies stored in our collect…the music we listen to…the way we live.
Instead of being repulsed by certain behaviors or grieved by the lies that our culture spins on our generation, we are more accepting of them; willing to watch TV shows like Glee or movies filled with intimate scenes, to laugh at Jeff Dunham on Comedy Central or read a trashy novel (because of the illusion of escape) and considering it all suitable with a side of popcorn or a comfy blanket.
Okaying these things within the confines of our own homes makes nothing more than the hypocrites we never wanted to be. We discourage one thing in public while finding it addictively exciting in private.
Those who are careful about structural integrity build with the long-term goal of being blameless before God and others, not just on lightly traveled Sundays but at peak hours, all week long.
Living this way leads to weakness inside that won’t hold up when the time comes to hold your beliefs against you life.
This. Is. Serious.
Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures you sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things – in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind -0 that things is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself. – Mother of John Wesley
You must decide…
Which do you want more?
God’s best, or our personal favorites?
We can look to King David as a man driven to resolve so seriously about living a life of integrity:
I will be careful to live a blames life – when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar…I will have nothing to with them. Psalm 101:2-3
1: Have no tolerance for evil. Evil is like rat poison.
Did you know that three percent of the product is actually poison? The rest is food. Our culture is like that. Constantly distracting us with media that looks good and we dig in; unaware of the three percent that’s eating way at our insides. Before we know it, we’re dying a slow death.
But trust that we’re not alone in this. We can stop it before it’s too late. We may not be able to undo the damage done, but we can and should pray that God in His mercy and favor would thwart the Enemy from turuing those moments of weakness into strongholds on our lives. That’s where the next step comes in to play.
2: Closely monitor the type of people I allow to influence me.
One word: accountability. We need a group of close people in our lives (in my case, girls) who I can run to when life doesn’t make sense. Who I can run something by when a decision needs to be made. Who I can confide in when my life isn’t making any sense. Who I can trust to stop me if I’m heading down the wrong path. We all need accountability and having it will make you stronger in your defense against the Enemy of our souls.
3: Recognize my need for divine help.
Never expect that you can recalibrate the frequency setting on your life without God’s help, grace, and shepherding. He will be sure to alert you to changes that need to be made and then will eagerly empower you to carry them out.
Granted, these are extreme resolutions to live out. But let me ask you this. Have you ever met someone who follows this? Have you ever noticed their godly, admirable character? Those who enjoy the extra measure of God’s blessing and favor, who truly navigate their lives well, are those who discipline themselves in ways that many of us would consider borderline ridiculous. But like David, they’ve found it necessary to be as extreme in one direction as the culture has chosen to be in the other.
But keep this in mind. Not everything that bothers one believer is necessarily forbidden for all. Just because some wouldn’t consider it “good” doesn’t mean it’s worthy of being “slandered” (Romans 14:6). Consider your own structural soundness. Would it be able to bear the weight of your Christian profession? Is there anything that you do in private that the Spirit is convicting you of right now? Would your structural soundness hold up if some of your fellow church members arrived at your door unannounced?
Resolve to do this: Commit to being sensitive and responsive to any conviction the Spirit may be impressing on your heart right now in regard to a particular pursuit, decision, or activity. And remember, God’s goal is not to steal your fun but to position you as clean, pure, available recipient of His best, most fulfilling blessings.
Only by His power can you resolve to live and walk blamelessly.
And by His might can you expect to be the child who pursues in the dark what they proclaim in the light.