I've been studying a few books over the past several months that have got me thinking about the O.T. vs. the N.T. books of the Bible. I've always been under the impression that the O.T. held a higher standard for living simply because they had SO many laws they lived by as well as the fact that it seemed the penalty for breaking any of the laws were very high. However, in the N.T. the Bible is clear that whereas the O.T. law said you could not commit murder, or adultery,...in the N.T. the mere thought of committing murder or adultery was sinful. Wouldn't you say the N.T. held a higher standard? There's no question that in the N.T. we were given the gift of grace, but it still seems like the stakes were raised with the emphasis on sinful thoughts...not just sinful acts.
I guess I'm just wondering how many of us are all that concerned with our thought patterns? Up till now, I have not felt all that guilty about thinking bad thoughts about others...as long as I'm not gossiping than it's ok, right? I have also not felt bad about being so mad I could spit nails at someone...as long as I'm not lashing out in my anger, it's ok,...right? Whatever your vice is, you know - everyone has an area or a thought pattern that they struggle with. I have been feeling very convicted lately that I have used "grace" in a very wrong way...possibly even as an excuse to live under lower standards.
I have learned something over the past few months about the power of the Holy Spirit....something many of you may have already learned. I have always known that the Holy Spirit was there to guide us. As I have been studying, I have been praying that God would help me to live up to the "higher standard" of having purer thoughts. I have been amazed at how the Holy Spirit truly helps in this area! Let me give you some examples. Although I have always known that it is not ok to gossip, I have always thought that surely God wants us to be able to confide ALL of our deepest thoughts to our husband or our best friend or our mom - even if those "thoughts" were actually "gossip". WRONG!!! I cannot tell you how many times the Holy Spirit has convicted me before I share something to Chad that I know I really shouldn't be talking about - the Holy Spirit convicts me by making me squirm in my skin...ya' know,...I just feel guilty! I get goose bumps, chills up my spine,...and I know that is my guilty conscience or really, the Holy Spirit saying "Lindsey,...you know better...listen to me,...do not talk about these things." Let me encourage all of you - this higher standard of living is REAL! It is NOT ok to gossip to ANYONE! And I am saying this because I know surely I am not the only girl who struggles in this area. This has been a long learning process for me, but I can honestly say it gets easier! Do I ever mess up?...of course! We all sin and fall short of the glory of God,...but does that mean that we shouldn't even try?! Of course not! I believe we should fight the fight all day long...and by "the fight", I mean the mental, inward battle that we all struggle with.
WOW - I really did not mean for this to be so long - and I really hope that nobody thinks I am up on my high horse. I am really just sharing my own story and part of the journey I have been on and am certainely not thinking of anyone other than myself when I write this. I have honestly struggled with this probably more than the average person. I want so badly to be more and more like Christ every day, but I fail all day long! Thank God that we have grace and that our Father in Heaven loves me despite my many daily failings!! I hope this has encouraged someone - it was meant to encourage and not to discourage!!