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Friday, July 11, 2014

Seductive Selfies: A Response

I went through a phase in high school where I really enjoyed arguing. I called it debating, of course, because that sounds less abrasive and more intellectual. But I really just liked arguing to prove that I was right. Since then, God has taught me a lot about His sovereignty, how I don't need to be right, how sometimes silence is a better testimony than a well-crafted apologetic. Obviously, there are times to speak up, and I'm certainly not advocating running away when a defense should be made. But there is so much division within the Church that I have lately found myself trying harder to build bridges than stand guard on them. However, I recently ran across a popular article lately that I felt warranted a small correction.
In the spirit of building bridges, let me start with a general agreement. Girls posting seductive pictures of themselves is evidence of heart-vacancies. They want attention. They want people to tell them they are beautiful. They want to be loved. And they think that they'll get those things by posting sexy pictures on facebook. The sad thing is they are usually successful. Post a selfie and expect to get a lot of "likes" and a few "you're so gorgeous" comments within the hour. My real problem with the article is found near the end. 

"God gives us standards for purity and holiness because He knows it’s what’s best for us. True joy and contentment won’t come through the applause of your friends, it will only come through obeying and honoring God. “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart” (Psalm 119:1-2).I know you want to blessed by God. I sure do! Instead of striving after the empty applause of this world, strive for the fulfilling applause of your King.
You will never be happier than when you’re living your life for God’s glory."

Within the context of the gospel, our motivation for holiness is not being blessed by God. These are dangerous words that speak to a bargain mentality with God, and one I've heard at youth camps for years. These "if-then" statements recall the words of Job's friends when they insist that Job is suffering because of sins he has committed. God deals with Job, but notice Job 42:7- 
After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.
God makes it clear to Job and Co. that He does not operate on an earning system. He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. But from the way we talk, we believe that He is responsible to reward us for our self-imposed righteousness.  
"Don't you want a godly husband?  Then stay abstinent." As if sexual purity is the way to earn a man. 
"If you have sex before marriage, you'll never be truly happy." As if God is so unmerciful that you'll never recover from the sins of your past.
The gospel tells a different story.
Instead of seeking purity because you want to be blessed by God, realize that you already are incredibly blessed by God in the salvation He offers through Jesus. Then, out of joy and thankfulness, stay away from the stuff that put Him on the cross. Run to Him for acceptance and love.  
When you realize that you are already loved and accepted in Christ, you don't need to go searching for approval from others. You will lose the thirst for others' attention. You'll be free to focus on others without worrying about what they think of you. That is true freedom. And that will keep you from posting seductive selfies. 

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