A Personal Testimony and Exhortation
This is part of my story. No, all the specifics may not apply to you, but I pray it can exhort and remind you, dear brother or sister, of how He has brought us out of our “futile ways” into being called “holy” by the precious blood.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
1 Peter 1:14-19
“Chubby Emily” was a phase I had during Jr. High. She was measured against all her skinny-mini friends and (literally) just didn’t “fit in”. Ha. I can remember a time at youth group where all the boys compared all the girls (in code, of course, to avoid supervision) by their own measuring stick. My close girl friends got coded as “hot” – and me? Well – I got put into the “not so hot” category.
That feeling of being counted as second or inferior drove me to work out more, obsess about what I ate and carry a burden of guilt on my shoulders that only I could fix by analyzing every ounce of food I ate. It was a prison. My value would rise when I felt good about my body and then plummet when I made a mistake. It was endless pressure to be perfect. There was no happiness unless I was being pristinely strict – and of course being strict never makes you happy either.
Don’t you think it’s funny that even when in Jr. High and I didn’t follow Jesus very personally yet – that I still measured my value with complete perfection. At that point my value was completely built on how I felt I looked. If it was not perfect – I was in the lowest of low. Do you see that in the passage above, God also speaks in terms of value with perfection? “Be holy as I am holy”.
His version of perfection was not built on a currency that we use. It’s not on money, not on the measure of a perfect body, not on the scores of your grades or on your respectability or qualifications… He says be holy like He is holy. That means PERFECT. How does this happen? Well – as a daughter or son of God Almighty, we know it’s through a different currency.
The currency of Christ. No longer does our value waffle in terms of our own currency, just trying to be enough. No. These are the “futile ways” Peter talks about. When we are filled with the spirit of God and repent of those ways – we begin to live according to a whole different measure of value! And this is FREEDOM. Do you remember brothers and sisters? Remember what it feels like to be freed from your burdens of having to be perfect? Remember what happened when Jesus took that idol from your hands that you used to ceaselessly spend in order to feel valuable? Remember how when Christ becomes your value, true joy follows? You are fulfilled and satisfied. The command to be holy is possible because it rests in the perfection of the one you now worship. Not you anymore. It is a worship of your God when you spend your life looking through the lens of the value He brings to the table.
I was gently reminded of these things when I found myself, at the end of this third trimester, being overwhelmed with pity due to the all-time high my scale showed me. I sat in tears at the end of my bed as I sniffed out the words to my husband: “how can you love me like this?”. What hit me then is what prompted this post. My husband fell in love with me and I fell in love with him – because we both valued Christ as our currency. Not what we looked like, not what we were able to prove or accomplish to each other. It was Jesus. I fell in love with Alex because he saw Christ as precious and He fell in love with me because Jesus was my life. Christ was our currency.
It is too easy to forget, to get distracted or pick up old idols that draw our hearts to give them perfection in our own merit. Do not be deceived! Remember His precious blood. The perfect, holy blood that gives you value. Think through the lens of building up treasure in His kingdom by gaining more and more of Christ. He is our currency now.