Thursday, October 10, 2013

Desires of The Flesh // in Nautical Inspired Cardigan

Hey y'all! I keep thinking life will get less busy and I'll be able to post twice-weekly again but things just don't seem to be slowing down! This time of year the clean-out bug hits me and I can't stop throwing stuff away until I totally exhaust myself... :P

I missed the beginning of the sermon this week because of driving my sister home since she wasn't feeling well (perks of living close to church-- I was only gone 6 minutes), but it was as powerful as ever. The flesh was our area of study this week, working out of Romans 6:12-14.

"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."

What is the nature of the flesh, it's personality? There's no doubt about it-- we are humans. We are not gnostic in our faith, separating the physical from the spiritual. Instead, we need to realize the real effect and purpose of these things. The flesh has desires and they can be hard to deal with. 

I know as I've read through the Bible, this passage has always been very encouraging. It gave me resolve to do better, to be an instrument of righteousness. The sermon though gave greater insight into just how I should go about conquering sin in this oh-so-annoying and needy body of mine.

What are some objective facts about the flesh? The flesh can think, feel, and will. Ephesians 2:3 speaks about not fulfilling the lust (desires) of the flesh. We usually think of lust as having a negative connotation, but in these passages, it simply means desires. The flesh has desires about everything. You know what you feel like doing, but that's not always what's best. We can look forward to the glorification that is to come, the time in our future lives when we will see Christ face-to-face and be removed from our fleshly desires. The flesh we have is a residue, our old tent as 2nd Corinthians 5 speaks about. But in Christ, it does not have to have dominion over you!

Paul says in these verses, "do not present your members as instruments (tools) of unrighteousness"-- don't allow the flesh to use your body to fulfill it's own purposes. You know when you really feel like just giving someone a piece of your mind? And if you do give in to your fleshly desire and give them a good tongue lashing, your conscience pricks you, doesn't it? That's because you're a Christian and you know deep down you lost that battle. We are not to yield to sin, but to God.

The objective fact of knowing we are in union with Christ becomes our motivation for obedience to God's ways. But, this union should not cause us to become passive in our living in Christ. We cannot just "wait on God to move me" towards obedience. We have to work for it too. Yes, objectively, we are saved and Christ filfilled our duty, but we need to invest this grace in our lives. Apply it.


A little Greek lesson now that was an eye-opener for me. There are two prohibitions in this passage that show us what we should discontinue: 1) Not let sin reign and 2) not present members as tools for unrighteousness. In the Greek, there are two ways to tell a dog to stop barking. The first is that you tell a dog before he starts, "You should not bark." The second is that as the dog is barking you say, "Stop barking". Paul here uses the second type of imperative in verse 12, "Stop letting sin reign in your bodies". But, as he goes on to say, "But present your members as instruments of righteousness", the imperative changes to the first type and he is saying in present tense verbs, make a decisive action in a different direction. This is a picture of repentance! Present your bodies -- that's a full surrender, folks. Yield, whatever the cost.

The Lord is either Lord of your life or not at all. The mind says walk and the legs follow. Think of a toddler learning to walk. At first, every step is a struggle and they fall over and over again. They may not be thinking consciously, "put one foot in front of the other", but they know they want what's across the room. As they begin walking, they get stronger and stronger with practice. Likewise, as we begin walking in the Spirit, we will grow stronger. Soon we won't have to think about it. I bet you haven't thought about how to make your legs take you where you want them to go today. You've matured, grown, practiced. Our brains say "go over there" and our legs follow. Such it is when we practice surrendering our lives to Christ, willing to fall along the way. By the power of the Spirit, God will say "walk this way" and we won't even have to think about it-- our legs will follow.

When we fall in our sin, we need to be hard on ourselves. Call our sin what God calls it. We shouldn't say, "That's just who I am" because, well, yeah, that is who you are! But it isn't who you are called to be. No whitewashing. This is really, really hard for me. We need to confess and turn to the gospel.

Verse 12 says not to let sin reign, but verse 14 leaves us with hope-- sin shall not reign. Why? Because of our great assurance that sin no longer has dominion over us. As we trust in the objective fact of who we are in Christ, we can stop yeilding ourselves as members, tools, of unrighteousness. As a toddler learns, so will we. We will get stronger. We will never be perfect in this life, but as we grow in Christ, we will develop instincts that help us to resist the desires of the flesh. Walk by faith and obey, and God will use our lives as tools, weapons, for His righteousness. Thank God for the grace He has given that we might have decisive, repentant actions.

I must have had half a dozen stinker outfits before I arrived at this ensemble Sunday morning. It was comfortable and, with leggings under my skirt, the perfect outfit temperature-wise for the cool fall day. It's actually getting chilly here! Although, I guess that's relative. My siblings are still outside playing in the hose. Ha.

Cardigan: Forever21: $15
Skirt: Gift
Tank: Arizona Brand: $6
Boots: Shoe Carnival: $35
Pearl set: Gift
Headcovering: Simple lace wrapped around my head 3 times. I ran out of time to curl my hair 'cause I couldn't find an outfit to wear. :P

I received a big box of clothes from ModeEsty.com yesterday that I can't wait to share with y'all! I hope you've had a good week-- I'm so sorry for not getting this post up sooner. I'm dealing with seasonal allergies that zap my energy in addition to a busy schedule. :-/

I would love to hear what your sermon was about! Or how your week is going! Blessings!



30 comments :

  1. It's actually Friday here in NZ! But I can forgive you for posting late, since I know what being busy and catching the cleaning-up fever, is like. :)
    I really like the skirt and boots! Although I'm a little hesitant in the way of the nautical cardigan and pearls with a mustard (?) tank... I can't wait to see what is in that box!
    We actually had snow on Tuesday! And it's supposed to be spring.

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  2. So cute Olivia! I really like the piece of lace that you used! Our sermon was about the Holy Spirit and how being filled with Him can make our walk with the Lord a straight one- somewhat to the same context as you have explained here.
    Our week has also been busy- getting ready for fundraisers has it's perks and well, quits! :)
    Thanks for your encouragement! It means SO much to me!
    ~Cassie
    p.s. Thanks for sharing the etsy shop! Love the name!

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  3. Your hair is so cute like that! :)

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  4. Wow, 6 minutes from church--what a blessing! We drive an hour to church and an hour home--but it's definitely worth it!

    Very pretty outfit, as usual! Enjoy your cool weather!

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  5. You said about not having time to curl your hair because you were picking out your clothes, so I thought I'd share.. I've been picking out my clothes for church Saturday night, that way, I don't have to fuss about it in the morning. I do it mostly so that if I don't wake up in time, it makes it easier, because my clothes are already picked out! :) Just an idea!
    Oh, and we had 20 inches of snow this weekend!

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    1. Thanks Rebekah! Good to hear from you. :) Picking clothes out on Saturday night for sure makes it easier! I usually pick mine out Saturday morning or earlier, actually, but since I had taken Emma to sell her mixes at the market Saturday and I was too tired/headachy/ and we went to a concert when I got home that night, I didn't get to pick them out ahead of time. :) And even if I don't pick them out, I at least have an idea of what I want to wear, but this week I had no idea! Ah well, it turned out fine in the end. That's a lot of snow! Thanks again for the comment! Stay warm!

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    2. 20 INCHES???? Woah girl. That's awesome. (We sooo need to talk soon... now to go find that little, evasive dude named Fre E. Tymme. :p)

      <3 <3 <3 Emma

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    3. I am going to have to say that that is just too much snow! Although the idea of snow that's more than a slight flurry makes me miss living up in Illinois instead of down here in SC where snow is so rare we cancel EVERYTHING until it melts... since there are no snowplows.

      Enjoy all that snow! Perfect time to make snowmen and angels and all that fun stuff.

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  6. I really like the navy and yellow together....looks amazing.

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  7. Such a cute outfit! Love the cardigan. :)

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  8. I like the blue and mustard together - really cute! And skirts + boots is something I'm trying to get into for fall, I like yours quite a bit.

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  9. Howdy! Just wondering, What brand is the skirt? It's beautiful! And so are you! :)

    ~Katherine~

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  10. Cute outfit! :D I really like that cardigan.
    What a thought-provoking sermon! My sermon this week was on Matthew 28:19-20, in regards to witnessing to people and then discipling them.

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  11. ADORBS!! I esp love that skirt. =)

    -chels
    www.chelsyrenee.com
    {fashion/photography/inspiration/life}

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  12. That is just too cute! I LOVE how you did your hair! I am big into those kinds of hairstyles!

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  13. Hi! I am a apostolic girl from Norway, and I just come over your blog after someone recommended it on Debora & co. So great! Thank you for sharing! May I ask: Do you only use headcovering in Church? I see you sometimes use a hat, and other times use just a small headband. Can I ask what your convicions is about how much hair/head that should be coverd? I hope it was not to personal, sorry if it was! Thank you again, keep up the good work, and God bless you! Johanne :)

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    1. Welcome! Yes, I cover my head for public worship. As far as how much of my head to cover, I look to 1 Corinthians 11 for guidance-- it's a head*covering*, so, I feel like it should cover my head in a way that is distinguishable and that reminds me that I am under authority-- which is one of the purposes of the headcovering in the first place. So, a hat or a very wide headband, preferably one that covers the back of my hair too are my usuals. The headband in this post is the skinniest I'm willing to go and it was actually boarderline for me-- I probably won't wear it again as a headcovering. :) I hope that kind of clarifies... sorry for the really slow delay in replying!

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  14. Linda combinação de amarelo e azul.Amo azul marinho,amo roupa simples e modesta.
    Parabens pelo post.

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  15. Adorable outfit, Olivia!
    I've been hit hard with allergies as well! Really stinks! I've been sniffing and blowing my nose and wiping my left runny eye all day! UGH! It really takes it out of you!
    Your sister in Christ,
    Natasha
    A Modest Fashion Blog:
    www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com

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  16. Hi Olivia! I nominated you for the sunshine blog award on my blog!

    http://trueelegance92.blogspot.com/2013/10/sunshine-blogger-award.html

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  17. Hello Olivia Howard. so good to know you through your profile on the blogger. I am also glad that I could stop by your blog "Fresh Modesty"(Practical Wardrobe Encouragements) and the post on it " Desires of the Flesh// In Nutical Inspired Cartigan". Wonderful sharing from the Word of God and very encouraging guidance for all as to how modest we can be in dressing ourselves that does not gratify the desires of the flesh. Thank you once again. Well I am just tempted to share about the ministry we have in the great city of Mumbai, India where you can come as a volunteer on a short term missions trip to work with us amongst poorest of poor in the slums of Mumbai. I have been in the Pastoral ministry in this city for last 34yrs. This city is known for a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted. We also encourage young people like you as well as adults from the West to come on a short term missions trip to work witih us during thie summer vacation. We would love to have you come with your friends during your summer vacation. Looking forward to hear from you. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar wankhede

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  18. C.U.T.E.! Never would have thought to put that bright yellow tank with those colors, but it looks great.:) I really like that cardigan too!

    Maria

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  19. I love your outfit! Especially those boots! :) cute

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  20. Hey Olivia! I've just started reading your blog and it's been a great encouragement to me. It's a struggle sometimes for me to reconcile my love of fashion and my committment to modesty, and your blog has been super helpful with ideas to put together cute ensembles that honor Christ without showing too much. I've especially been loving your awkward and awesome posts (I laughed until my sides hurt:)
    Bubbles and blessings,
    Erica

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  21. Hi olivia! I'm in my early teens and I love your blog. I just had a question about Halloween. What are your regards about Halloween costumes? I'm debating what I should be or if I should be anything at all. Does your fam celebrate H-ween? Thanks.

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    1. Hey Baylee! No, my family does not celebrate Halloween. We used to go to Harvest parties at church and dress up, but not anymore. Sorry! As a Christian, I try to stay far away from the holiday.

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  22. Hmm...yielding to God is a good idea. A great idea, even. But rules you yield to are written by men. So who are you yielding to, really? Even St.Paul can not speak for the Almighty. Its great to be obedient. Just be sure you know who it is you are obeying, or you will get used by people. Too many people twist Biblical passages to make it say what they want it to say. In the long run, don't make the mistake of thinking that simply because you are denying yourself you are living a Godly life. Obeying is always easier then having your own thoughts.
    You have a really cute look. That dark blue military style sweater is amazing. And the yellow shirt underneath is pretty. I love the idea of that combines with a white skirt. But the boots don't work. You need shorter boots for that. It would be interesting to see you do the below the knee skirts with ankle booties. I LOVE that look. You can find it in any fashion magazine today. Longer skirts are really, really in right now. Its especially great to see a below the knee skirt with a pencil or a trumpet shape. The material is usually not thin cotton any more, though. people like a more stiff, thick material to give it more volume. Honestly tiered skirts are just a bit too hippie for today. But anything looks cute with a great attitude and a smile, and you have both!!

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  23. All these posts are worldly chatter about fashion. Sad. You can wear headcovering but if your heart is all about looking cute and all the lastest fashions don't bother.

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Fresh Modesty is fashion blog which encourages girls to "Dress outside your box, but inside His Book!" I allow anonymous comments so those without accounts can comment, but I would really appreciate it if you would identify yourself by some form of a name. :) Thank you for taking the time to comment!