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by Grant Everly
Recently God has been convicting me greatly in regard to the way that I act. It’s not that I’ve been acting outrageously un-Christlike, it’s just that He’s reminded of my shortcomings in living up to the standard of perfection Jesus displayed with His life.
It’s quite frustrating when we realize we aren’t living up to this standard. I was sharing this frustration with a friend this past Sunday. I knew I was living my life for Christ, but I still felt like I was falling short. On the whole, I was positive I was living for God, but I was concerned by the subtle nuances of the way I act. I constantly had been finding myself questioning the things that I laugh at and the ways that I mess around with my friends. Like I said, I knew that on the whole I had been living all out, but I also realized God wants to permeate every area of our being, and I was positive I wasn’t allowing God to do this; I wasn’t allowing Him to permeate every single area of my life, specifically, every area of the way that I act.
My friend referred me to Romans 13:14, which says: “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of your sinful nature.”
Not so ironically, this exact same passage came up later that night at youth group while talking about our friendships and the idea that we should bring Jesus into the equation.
God was most definitely pounding this verse, specifically the first part, into my head. My frustration was stemming from the reality that I wasn’t allowing myself to be fully clothed by Christ. Although living a Christ-like life, and striving toward the example Christ has set, I was still trying to resist having myself fully clothed in Christ.
When my friends look at me, they should see Christ blanketing me, but when I begin to stray away from living up to the standard that God has set, no matter how minor the straying, I begin to cover myself in me, not God. No matter how miniscule something may appear, if it’s something Christ wouldn’t be doing, I’m covering myself in me, and the insufficiency of myself makes this pattern of living seem absolutely absurd.
As Christians we can’t tolerate clothing ourselves with anything other than Christ. Although achieving a status of being entirely clothed in Christ is impossible, I’ve found that simply being aware of what I’m called to is half the battle. Through simply meditating on the fact God asks I be clothed by Him, I’ve found it becomes a little easier to pursue the standard of perfection He’s set.
Too often we become all too content with only allowing God to partially transform the way we act. We need to recognize how the things we watch and listen to, and the way we act toward others sends a message to the world. They can either see us as hypocrites who claim to love God, or a follower of Christ whose utmost goal is to run hard after God despite imperfection.
Let’s vow to make the message we send the latter. Let’s run hard after God and fully clothe ourselves with Christ.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
Grant Everly is a junior at Warren Township High School and regularly attends church with his family and iMPACT on Sunday nights. He plays soccer, enjoys sports and has passion for learning more about Christ and growing in Him.