Not So Casual

As I was brainstorming for this post, I originally wanted to write about casual dating and the millennial generation. I've actually written three rough drafts over the last year covering the topic of dating, but as I continued praying and seeking the Lord I felt like he had a different message for me to share. The truth is, as much as casual dating is wreaking havoc on our generation, a casual relationship with God is even more detrimental.

I've noticed that there is a tendency between two extremes when it comes to our view of God and his grace. The first is a legalistic striving toward holiness, which focuses on self but lacks the power of the Holy Spirit. This is a constant battle to do the "right" things and avoid doing the "wrong" things with the end goal being holiness rather than intimacy with God. The problem with this lifestyle is our legalism causes us to be judgmental and we impose our do's and don'ts on others before they’ve even had a chance to encounter God for themselves. For so many of us who grew up going to church, this is the experience we had, and unfortunately this has caused many millennials to leave the Church. This is because we know deep down that church is much more than showing up on Sunday morning pretending that we aren't struggling to keep up with the cookie cutter expectations. So we decided to walk away from the Church and find God on our own terms.

 This brings me to the other extreme, complete disregard for holiness due to emphasizing God's grace. Millennials are known for being a noncommittal generation. This is apparent in how often we change jobs and the person we're dating. We like to test the waters but when it comes time to make the plunge, we walk away. Unfortunately, this is how we've treated our relationship with God. We believe in God and we want salvation so we confess that Jesus died for our sins but we lose sight of the whole "Jesus is the Lord of my life" part. We like to keep God in a box that we can bring out on occasion when we really need him but we absolutely do not want him to impose any type of expectations on how we live our lives. Even though this isn't a dating post, I'm going to use a marriage analogy to clarify this point. 

Let's say you and your boyfriend have been dating for a year and he asks you to marry him. You wouldn't respond "Yes! But I need to be able to see other guys on the side." That's because we have an understanding of the covenant of marriage. We know that when we say "I do" that means we not only become a wife on our wedding day, but we remain a wife for the rest of our lives. In one moment, we accept this role but then we spend a lifetime living out the role we've taken on.  This is a great picture of what it's like to become a Christian. When we say "I do" to God, we immediately receive eternal salvation through the forgiveness of our sins (we become his bride), and we also receive a committed relationship of intimacy with God that lasts forever (we live as his bride). We would all agree that when you get married, you no longer flirt with or go on dates with other men. Why then do we flirt with and go on dates with the world while we're married to God?

We live in a time when political correctness is of the utmost importance and sadly this has caused many Christians to shrink back. Because we've tried to counter the legalistic view of Christianity, which turned so many people away from the Church, with this unbiblical version of grace that's too afraid to ruffle anyone's feathers, we've lost sight of Jesus. He didn't walk around condemning people for their sins but he also didn't pretend like their sins weren't a big deal either. He lovingly called people out of their sinful lifestyles into something so much better, an intimate relationship with God. He got on their level, he taught them and he gave them a chance to ask questions. He invited them in and once they accepted, he called them to a higher purpose. This is the beauty of our God. Because he knew our prideful tendency was to strive to achieve perfection on our own, He sacrificed Jesus to cover all of our sins. And because he knew our sinful tendency to abuse his grace, he gave us his Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

I don't know which end of the spectrum you relate to the most, but I want to remind you that it is for freedom that Christ set us free and he doesn't want us to live in bondage of slavery to law or to sin (Galatians 5:1). God's gift to us is a personal relationship with him and he offers us an abundant life if we will trust him. 

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 
-1 Samuel 16:7

This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
-Jeremiah 9:23-24

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
-Romans 6:1-4, 15-18

Photography by Justin James
As I've mentioned before, I am not a dress girl but I have to admit, it is pretty nice to have an entire outfit with only one piece. I set out on a mission to find easy dresses to throw on during the weekends when I'm running around, but that I could also wear to work. This Theory dress is exactly what I was looking for! It's so comfortable and the tie around the waist adds a great detail that takes a basic tshirt dress up a notch. I love that I can throw on a pair of Nikes and head out the door or I can just as easily dress it up with a pair of wedges and statement jewelry. 

Oh and also, if you live in Dallas and haven't been to Royal Blue Grocery in Highland Park Village, you have got to go check it out! It is the cutest little store with a great variety of products. The floral section is beautiful and there is also a coffee shop. It's a perfect spot to sit outside with a latte or glass of wine whether you're meeting a friend or going on a date.

Have a great weekend!


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