Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lily Among Thorns - Part 1

"As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." Song of Solomon 2:2

Who wouldn't want to be something as beautiful as a lily, especially when the alternative is an ugly thorn whose sole purpose is to wound and destroy?

Although the Song of Solomon speaks mostly about the love in a marriage relationship, we know that the only way that we can truly become as a lily among thorns is through a life devoted to Christ. It is only through Christ that we can live at all; without him we are completely dead spiritually.

Now I know that we need to look at Scripture as a whole and not just take one verse and run wild with it, but this post is based on the principles that I have seen all throughout Scripture and I have chosen this particular verse because it illustrates the goal so beautifully. So please just bear with me as I use the idea in this Scripture to create a picture in your mind.

To be truly set apart, to be so obviously more beautiful and different than others, to be as pure and unsullied as a lily. We all, as Christian young ladies, want this. In fact I would venture to guess that every single woman out there - Christian or not - would love the idea of being so beautiful that she is like a lily compared to thorns.

So why, when we look around at the Christian young ladies that we see, does it seem that the Church is so full of thorns without a single lily? Or at best we see a bunch of thorns with only the promise of an unopened bud breaking the monotony of identical brown 'stickers' once in a very great while?
Well, I know the answer, and I will tell you what it is. Being a Lily is not an easy thing. It is easier to be a comfortable worldly Christian (hey, at least thorns are alive to some extent, right?), than to pray and strive towards being completely devoted to Christ.

This idea was amazingly summed up by Ian Thomas when he said, "Carnal Christians profess Christ as their Redeemer, but their actions and decisions are for the sake of their own interests and for who they are in themselves rather than for God's interest and for Who He is. Their minds are still the workshops of the devil, for he can persuade countless numbers of professing Christians to try and be Christians without Christ."

Do you want me to tell you what being a Lily really looks like in everyday life? It looks like spending time praying and deepening your relationship with God every single day. Treating others (including your family) as better than yourself. Loving your enemies and doing good to those who hate you. Saying no to immodest clothing and indecent behavior. Giving up anything in your life that sows discontentment or resentment or any kind of sin - whether it's movies, tv shows, books, the internet or friends. It means standing up when Jesus Christ is spit upon, not sitting by and hoping that no one notices you. It means helping the helpless, befriending the friendless, giving hope to the hopeless. It means being Jesus' hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth and heart in this world. It means making Jesus Christ your First Love, letting Him decide what your earthly love story will look like. It means being willing to do anything and everything for Him and through Him. It means experiencing the fruits of the spirit in your life. It means NOT fitting in. It means that you stand out. It means recognizing that you have NO beauty in and of yourself (yeah, try telling that to the pop-Christian culture), but ONLY when the One who is the "perfection of beauty" (Psalm 50) is allowed to shine through you.
And that's only the beginning of the list! Sounds exhausting- not to mention impossible- doesn't it?

Well, without God it is impossible. You can't do it (yeah, forget about the "you can do anything you want" message- it's a lie). Only Jesus can when you allow Him and ask Him to work through you! And guess what?! When He does the work, you will find more rest and beauty in your life than you ever thought possible. Through Jesus you can become a true Lily, with the beauty and life of our Savior radiating from you. (And by the way, being a true Lily is the only way to attract the right kind of man; who wants to marry someone who is attracted to a thorn?!) A Christ-centered life is the ONLY life worth living.

So you know what being a God-centered woman looks like (if not, just read the Bible...), but right now you're a Christian young woman who is tired of trying to look like a thorn (i.e. normal) while wishing to experience the true fulfillment that comes from pouring your life out for Christ.

First of all, Jesus is the only one that can put this desire in your heart, so if it is there you can be sure that He will grow you into a true Lily when you ask Him to take your life and do His work through you.

Since this blog is about the practical application of Biblical principles, the 2nd part of this will be about a practical way to take the next step towards being a 'Lily among thorns' (or a woman 'after God's own heart')

Before I finish, I will give you the first thing to do: Pray and dedicate your life to Christ. Ask Him to take over in every area of your life and to do His work through you.
"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." Psalm 127:1

"A pure heart is one to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring." - John Talver