“LET YOUR GENTLE SPIRIT BE KNOWN TO ALL MEN. THE LORD IS NEAR.”
Philippians 4:5 (NASB)
Deaconess Rubella. LOL No one knows who this lady is but if you were raised in a
predominately African American all black church, one of many on-going, church jokes is about this church woman. She isn’t real, but then again, she is. She’s the one who gives you “the look” when you check your phone in church, or says “SHH!”way too loud if you snicker at a friend’s joke. She’s the parking space and sanctuary seat regulator with a short, ill-mannered attitude. The modesty mafia. She’s probably nosy, a busybody, or both. You avoid her at all costs at church events, services, and possibly in the street because she annoys your soul! You want to tell her to CHILL OUT! It’s not that deep! lol. I think this woman exists in all types churches and comes in all races, shapes, and ages; I can only speak from personal experience.
The major issue with this type of woman in the church is that her countenance is antithetical of Christ-like character and nature. Serving, but without love (1 Cor. 13). Her heart and actions don’t reflect Jesus. People talk about her and get offended by her actions because they expect to encounter a woman who serves with the heart of Jesus and at the same time is real about her imperfections. Pray to forgive your Ms. Rubella if you’re having a hard time with the woman like this in your family or church.
What does this have to do with guarding your heart?
We are going through Philippians 4 to see what the Bible has to say about guarding your heart. Part of this includes personal responsibility, to be in a position to let God work in our hearts so it may be guarded. Phil. 4:5 can be summarized by saying that Paul is encouraging us to let our fair, gracious, just, and gentle demeanor be known to everyone around us. Paul is communicating to have a spirit of grace that is mild in temper and self-controlled in the midst of others offending, or possibly offending God. Why? The Lord is coming back for a bride that reflects His likeness and at that time, He will set all things into place (Eph. 5). (In support of this, I encourage you to read Ephesians 5, which explains what we should be doing because God is working in us to present us to Himself. While we are focused on our current marriages or waiting for marriage, we have to understand that as a Christian, all of us are awaiting the return of Christ.)
The Bible calls us the bride of Christ and ultimately we cannot lose sight of this since the primary reason marriage exists is to display Christ’s relationship with His bride, the church. Eph. 5 is always used at weddings and in marriage studies, but we forget about verses 1-21!
The bride of Christ can be known as a Deaconess Rubella. We know that the church is known for being hypocritical and judgmental; especially in the area of dating and relationships! We impose our ideas of who people should marry, how they should date, establish boundaries in dating/courtship, what we should call it, etc., on everyone! Let’s clarify for a second.
God’s word and His Spirit are the standard for all these things in life. You could say, “Well, aren’t you telling us how we should see dating and marriage in this blog?” The purpose of this blog is to communicate God’s word and help you search the Bible for yourself for possibly a better, less stressful way to deal with this topic. My experiences are only testimonies to how God has helped me with my courtship and in marriage.
I won’t digress, however, these passages support the primary point I have been making in these posts. Your goal as a Christian woman is not to be the best wife, mom, single woman or “fill in the blank” you can be. Your objective is to be a follower of Jesus. He will empower you by His Spirit to be all that you need to be in all these occupations.
Here’s the relationship stuff:
- As a single woman, chill out. Don’t be so uptight about your standards or how others are conducting their relationships. Seek God about how to set up boundaries and steer clear from actions that are obviously sin to God. Don’t ask questions like “How far can we go?” rather ask “How can I reflect Your standard today God?” or “God, can you show me what parts of my standards or expectations are not like nor from You?”
- As a married woman, chill out. Don’t impose your standard of what worked for you in your courtship period on single sisters. Share, but don’t be a legalist.
Basically, CHILL OUT! Some of us get tangled up in legalism. We really need to relax. Let the peace of God rule your heart. So what if the young lady you mentor didn’t take your dating advice? So what if your friend keeps going back to that bad relationship? So what if she married him against your counsel?
Leave it with God and extend grace. You have the right to offer your opinion and share what God lays on your heart to a sister about her relationship. However, watch how you communicate it, make sure it’s from time well spent with Jesus, and if you are in doubt don’t say anything and PRAY! Phil. 4:5 for the reader is a great reminder that Jesus will return to set all things straight, but in the meantime, be characterized by a spirit of grace and gentleness. Let the peace of God rule your heart.
See you next week.