Monday, December 12, 2005

Reclaiming your heart in our Image Obsessed Culture

Justin and I have had many conversations about our society and how much we let it influence us sometimes. I can admit it, I am guilty. The problem is the concerns we have with our appearances cannot be blamed in our culture, but our hearts.
We are obsessed with all things physical. But the truth of it is that the truth of who we are is in our hearts, not what our outer appearance reflects. This is not a huge revelation, we all know this, but we really do not think about it. Even the most unattractive being you can think of, is not even half as ugly as the sin that is in all of our hearts. There is only one who can give us the most beautiful heart, can create beauty in us, our savior, Jesus.

Romans 1:18-23- " 18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles."

Worshiping is not something that we do just for fun, it shows who we are. The issue of worship is who/what do we worship? We so easily fall into worshiping worldly things, I mean it is so easy considering what we are surrounded by in our everyday lives.
I can honestly say that I struggle with falling into this sin. Probably one of my biggest vices is fashion and style. I get caught up in how our home looks, how I look, how my family looks, and have too much concern for what others think. I feel embarrassed because we have old junky couches because we cannot afford new ones because my husband is in graduate school. Rather I should be content with what I do have. I want to make the point that it is okay to like and even want nice things. But be careful! It can become an obsession. Clothes for me, yikes! I am constantly checking out the latest and greatest in style, never wanting to miss a step. And I think it is fine for me to want to look nice and have nice clothes, BUT I do not need every new style that comes out, and I can utlilize what I already have better. I have a creative mind, I should use it more in my closet!
Sounds easier said than done to just place all temptations aside, and say "Forget you world, I do not care." The truth is that it is a reality. We do fight this war of constant judging, people judging us, us judging people. We cannot escape it, but we need to create a healthy balance for ourselves so we do not get too caught up in what our culture deems right.
How can we do this? What is our hope? What is our solution? Jesus! He can fill my cup, he can fill my dark evil heart with his glory. He can make me grand! And by this beautiful heart filled with his glory, I can share his mercy with others, that he might consume thier heart with his glory.

As Paul Tripp put it so well, " Think about living as a camper. The sole point of camping is to make you thankful for home. You go out on that first day with visions and rural grandeur. You love tha portable dwelling called a tent. You have pilgrim delusions. You enjoy the first meal cooked over the campfire. You say "Doesn't food cooked over an open fire taste so much better?" You love that first night in the tent, hearing the animal sounds in the distance. But, three days later, you complain about the gritty food and complain your back hurts from sleeping on the hard ground. The tent has taken on sub-human odors. Th cooler once full of ice, is now filled with liquid. Your Campfire roast is now a drowned, soggy, unappetizing, grayish, piece of animal muscle. You long for a srove that turns on with a click. You think that one of God's sweetest gifts is a flush toliet. And you hope someone in your family will say, "Let's go home early."
That is how we are supposed to think and live as God's pilgrims in this fallen world.
But what have we done with camping in this Western culture? The same thing we have done with the human identity. We now camp in sixty-foot Winnebagos with Satalite dishes, and fifty inch plasma televisions. We want a campsite so luxurious that it is better than home. We have inverted the order."

Isn't that a wonderful analgy? It is so true, and although it is easy to blame culture (others) for our wants for material things, it is really about what is in our heart. What are heart wants is refected in how we live, the things we desire. And Christ is our only hope. We have so much to look forward to on our way home, so keep your eyes on the prize, living in eternity with Jesus. This is the most beautiful thing I can think of.


Danielle said...

This is beautiful, thanks for the reminder! I too get caught up in decorating and fashion, wishing I had more and better things. But deep down, I do really want the contentment that comes from Christ alone, but I have to fight my flesh to keep that contentment.

Shawn L said...

I don't have problems with fashion sins, but some of mine are similar. My wife has to help me out with fashion alot of times.

My biggest heart problem is the following :

Wanting people to like me and prideful thinking, so that kind of fits.

Shawn L said...


By the way, I loved this article. What great words. You truly seems to be someone really getting alot of the study we are doing at church lately. I'm glad that God is helping you to apply it.