God, as always, has been so good to me! He is a lot gentler than I give Him credit; many times, I expect Him to be harsh with me. I am still learning of His firm, but loving, ways towards me.
For a while, I noticed Dear and I slipping in our holy conversations (lifestyles). I kept seeking to justify, one way or another, what we were/were not doing. However, this morning God gently, but firmly, pricked my heart. By His grace, I responded in accordance to how He wished.
It is not always easy to do good when you know to do it. Once a truth is learned, you cannot unlearn it. You can seek to block it from memory, but God is always bringing it back to the heart and mind; always at opportune times. That opportune time was this morning, as other times were; this morning was different, though. This morning, I responded responsibly.
I, personally, have struggled with what I set before my eyes. Whether it is what I read, or what I watch, my flesh desires those things of sin. It feels good. It feels comforting. It brings fond memories. However, it also brings Holy Spirit convictions; for, though those things can bring pleasurable feelings, they are not holy unto the Lord.
Finally, my heart submitted, completely. Aah, such relief. Disturbed at how long it took me to respond rightly, burdened that I so willingly and easily slid back into sinful habits, yet relieved it was over! Tossed into the garbage cans were the new DVDs given me for a birthday present; tossed was another DVD present. New practices begun, wherein I read Godly, edifying material(s) while unwinding for the night, rather than the garbage of the world.
Oh, but God was not finished with me. He had me purge other things in my life as well. He gave me the strength and courage that my flesh affords me not. He blessed my heart with the knowledge of knowing I was back on the path of righteousness. Indeed, a sheep am I, and a shepherd is He.
Once Dear came home, I told him of these activities. By God's good grace, Dear was not upset with me for not consulting him, (as some of those things I tossed were presents from him!), but rather acknowledged what I did was right, and was glad. Relief! No battle! Praise God for a saved, God-fearing husband!
I did not need to explain myself to him. He already knew my reasons why, for we had held these convictions early on in our Christian walk together. We were both glad to have gotten back on track.
There is a joy in getting back on the right path. Have you ever noticed times when you veer off, yet seek to blind yourself of that fact, that joy is not as complete as it was? It pervades relationships, goings on in your life, prayer time, study time...
All the usual excuses were used in my mind, "Well, we are just being more 'balanced,' not so 'hard-nosed' as we used to be...We were 'over-zealous' then...We can learn much from not being so 'rigid'...My brothers and sisters in Christ are doing it, and they seem to be fine..." On and on the list of justifications went, but I knew better. I need not follow anyone's example, save those who are following Christ. When they veer to the right or to the left, I need to stay straight. God's light shines clearly on that which is dark, and I need not go wallow in it.
I know that I will do better toward my husband and the rest of folks now. Now that I can concentrate more fully on Christ, I will treat Him and others as I should. I can be a better blessing to my husband, by being a crown unto him, not so tarnished. I will have better ears to hear, and clearer eyes to see, my Lord. Oh, such relief!
I encourage you, dear sisters in Christ, do not as foolishly as I. Satan is so subtle. He does not cease, either. Just because this battle has been victorious for righteousness' sake, does not mean he is through attacking me. On the contrary, it was no sooner that I had tossed the garbage into the trash can that attacks came. Holding onto Christ, His Holy Word, will be the only way to sure victory!
Do not think that holiness is too rigid. It is for the world, the flesh, and definitely Satan. It is not, though, for God. "Be ye holy, for I am holy," He says. We are to be a peculiar people, and God-fearing ladies in the world is definitely peculiar. It is not enough to be peculiar out in the world (you know, making sure we are dressed in proper modest attire and spirit), but also in our homes, cars...Anywhere. Indeed, our husbands (saved or lost...especially lost) will benefit of our holy conversation outside and inside the home. We need not be hypocrites, though we are. We need not give provision for the flesh to be hypocrites. We need not give provision to the devil to seduce us into sinning.
Once the heart and mind are properly established, all the practical things seem to go a bit easier. It seems that when my heart and mind are in tune with Christ, that doing those chores (cooking, cleaning, running errands) and properly investing in my husband/people are simply easier. Christ loves folks, and was a willing servant unto those who did not deserve His service; I can most definitely serve Him by serving others, too! My heart desires to be like Him, and to bless/be blessed by walking righteously. There seems to be such a euphoria and joy indescribable when I am obedient to Him! That joy simply is not there when I am walking contrary to His will. No, only a contrived, short-lived "happiness." Not lasting joy.
So, again, I encourage you to follow after Christ; without the thought that holy living is "too rigid." Though there may be some Christians that tell you so, simply compare yourself to Christ. Would He watch that show/movie? Would He read that site/book/article? Would He participate in that activity/conversation? There is a difference between spending time with those known to do those activities, and doing those activities/condoning/accepting as good those activities. I can sit and talk with a known drunkard, yet not while they are in a bar or drinking myself.
Though it may not bring immediate physical pleasure to line up with God's ways, due to peer pressure, it does bring lasting spiritual peace. It does get easier to follow His standards the more I choose to do them, and I know they will for you, too. Blessings to you, dear sisters, as you seek His ways!