Above Reproach

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This week will be the final bible study of the semester for me with our college women. This semester marks a huge marker in my life spiritually, as well as my life as a wife, mother, friend, and homemaker. This is the first semester I have committed to teaching a long-term bible study since having children and staying home.

Why I Have Been Changed::

*closer relationships with our college women  *using our home to show hospitality  *accountability to read & study  *a few extra minutes with one of my best friends before we start  ***TEACHING IS MY JOY  *discipline in keeping our home clean (we’re home all day, it gets a little ridiculous)  *yearning fervently for myself & our college women to be changed  *edified & challenge by what God speaks  *realizing how POWERFUL it is for our children to watch ministry take place IN OUR HOME–Drake asks “is it Thursday?” “Do you have bible study?” “are those ladies coming over tonight?” (he DOES love him some college girl attention, but he very much understands what is taking place)

How I Have Been Challenged::

*closer (and sometimes difficult conversations) with our college women *accountability to read & study  *the third night in our week we are “reserved”  *discipline in keeping our home clean (along with the conviction that WE LIVE HERE & these girls know I’m human)  *allowing myself some grace when I “FEEL” like a failure in whatever I’ve taught  *allowing myself some grace when I “FEEL” like I haven’t kept up with every single one our college women  *it’s okay to need other people in order to see BIG things happen

Last week at Bible Study (Busy Minds, Deceptive Hearts), we discussed what we’re called to be (I hate ending a sentence with a preposition, but there it is).

Our great discussion looked like this…..

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Overview of 2 Timothy 2:15-21

-approved

Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30 sealed by the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 1:22

-workman not ashamed

above reproach

1 Corinthians 6:19 Body is a Holy Temple

-correctly handles Truth

How? Read & Study

2 Timothy 3:16    1 Timothy 4:15-16    1 Thess 5:19-22 2

-no godless chatter

What is the healthy opposite? Phil. 4:8

2 Cor 12:20 (gossip comes with other things)

Prov. 11:25 be a refreshing water

-teaching will spread
Titus 1:9
Means::Exhort sometimes
Deitrich Bonhoeffer “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”
2 Tim 4:2  Prov. 15:31  Prov. 27:6

*go back to the “correctly handles Truth” to exhort

Bonheoffer: “No man has any right to offer advice who has not first heard God speak. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God’s voice. The only safe light for our path is the light for our path is the light which is reflected from Christ, the Light of the World.”

-God’s foundation will stand no matter

-must cleanse/repent (Rev. 3:19)

when He makes a revelation it’s for reform not just to inform

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For the remainder of the week, my conversations revolved around what it means to be “above reproach”. I can’t define that for you in literal terms. I can speak to how the Lord has led and invested Truth into my heart to walk a life that is defined by grace & submission.

1 Corinthians 10 states:

23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his [i]neighbor.

You need to read the context of this to understand and comprehend the terms by which Paul is referencing. However, this has always been a leading light for me where convictions cause me to question my motivations. I think it’s poignant and specific that he ends the statement with the admonition to seek the good of his neighbor. It doesn’t matter if what I’m participating isn’t SINFUL or causing me TEMPTATION. What does it do TO and FOR my neighbor? That peer in your class, that sibling watching you, that parent who doesn’t know the Lord, that co-worker who has asked you questions about Christianity, that professor who challenges you on your faith? When we settle once and for all who we are setting ourselves to be and seek to be steadfast, it becomes less about our flesh and wants and more about glorification and gospel sharing. It becomes less about our rights and our pride and more about love. Above reproach means seeking the best for others. Our will and way diminishes in the light of His glory and grace.

This passage in chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians also states:

13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

I have heard this over and over “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. The Lord loudly and specifically spoke “LIE” to me when someone shared that with me 2 years ago. I sought Him hard and He quickly answered me why my Spirit was convicted that it’s not Truth.

IF HE DIDN’T GIVE US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE THEN WE WOULDN’T NEED HIM. I won’t go into my life’s circumstances as to why this has been a CONSTANT in my thought process lately, but will relate this lesson in being above reproach.

When we want to do something and be a part of something, but have just started a journey towards being above approach, sometimes the “no” feels painful and sacrificial. We want to go out dancing with friends. There is no harm there. However, we have to go to a bar to do that. A bar where the opposite sex is waiting in hopes of “taking someone home” …. a bar where there is alcohol (that in and of itself may not be wrong the over consumption of it is and will cause your body that is a Holy Temple to be compromised). Where others will see us. Their definition of our faith is not the same as ours so we shouldn’t be held to their expectation, RIGHT? In my conviction referencing the previous verse…..it has nothing to do with our definitions/terms or their expectations. It has everything to do with Truth. If I go to that bar what does that speak about my gospel? I can’t answer that for you-only for myself. I may see that peer in my class, that sibling watching me, that parent who doesn’t know the Lord, that co-worker who has asked me questions about Christianity, that professor who challenges me on my faith.

Our temptation and desire to do things is not beyond the ability of Him to meet our needs-in all ways and at all times. Being above reproach is more glorification and gospel sharing. It becomes less about our rights and our pride and more about love. Above reproach means seeking the best for others. Our will and way diminishes in the light of His glory and grace.

I know, because I’ve had this conversation over the last 10 years A LOT and over the last week A LOT. It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to choose my activities and hobbies and times of fun based on the fact it MIGHT cause others to stumble. I shouldn’t have to choose my words carefully as others should be mature enough to filter them for me.

None of that reflects anything in Scripture. It’s hard to hold our tongue. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to share the gospel. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to love our neighbor as yourself. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to love a wife like Christ loves the church and it’s hard for wives to submit….Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to give up everything to follow and be like Christ (even the fun things don’t hurt us but might hurt others in their understanding of the gospel), but Scripture commands us to.

He will fill us up with far more precious and valuable experiences than the ones we give up to be above reproach. He will give us more valuable and eternal conversations to replace the gossip. He will provide life-giving relationships to replace the negativity and judgement we pass over of others.

Micah 6:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

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