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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Post #10: Stages of Faith Part I in Plum & Charcoal

Hey y’all! This week, I will be speaking to you about something pretty important in the Christian faith: the stages of faith.
This post is only going to be the first 2 stages of faith, since there is just so much to discuss, and the other part will be in a blog post in a few days ;)

Everybody is in a different place in their walk with Christ, whether they’re just starting out and they’re unsure, or they really have embraced the Lord and trust in Him fully. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that nobody has perfect faith. Everybody has flaws or things that make them fall into sin, and whatever stage you’re in, you certainly have room for improvement.

Stage 1: Beginning Faith
This is the very beginning of our faith, when the bud of Christianity is planted. At this point, the people around us will begin to see changes within us, (which is a good thing!) as we stride to be more diligent in our faith, and align our lifestyle to reflect it.
The big keyword here is Idols. Idols are anything we out before God, whether that be a nasty drinking problem, our careers, gambling habits, or anything that takes priority over Him. In biblical times, many times, idols were actually physical statues or carvings of other deities that the people worshipped and devoted their lives to (the gods of fire, wind, etc.) However, as a modern society, we no longer worship rocks or statues, but there are things in the modern culture that force God to take a backseat in people’s lives.
In order to progress from this part of our faith, we must remove he idols from our lives and allow God to become the enter of our lives.  Now why should God be the center of our lives?
Well, besides the fact that he commanded us to put Him first, 

“Thou shalt have no other Gods before me” (Exodus 20:3, KJV)

But also because ultimately, He is the one that has a plan for us and has created us.

How can we put God first? We must stop engaging in sinful behavior! The bible gives us the perfect medium of instruction on how we should live our lives, and what things God does/does not consider sinful. Yes, that means we may have to change some our our thoughts, behaviors, and actions. 

Heres a bible verse to consider for this stage: 

For they themselves she of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” (1 Thess. 1:8, KJV) 

Stage 2: Borrowed Faith

In this stage of faith, you’re beginning to follow Christ and are in the process of learning the best way to follow Christ, as well as beginning to change sinful behaviors. Many times in the second stage of faith, we look to other people that we consider to be of mature faith in order to guide us.
This is why it’s called “borrowed faith”: because you’re following Christ, but since you’re new to the concept of faith and many times feel unsure of what to do next, you “borrow” other people’s behaviors!
This is perfectly ok, and is actually a great thing in my opinion, since it means that you’re really making an effort to seek Christ even though it may be unfamiliar territory to some.
Although the bible does teach us who God is and His expectations by giving us guidelines, biblical stories, and rules, many times we use human examples of faith in order to grow in Christ.

In the book of Thessalonians, the Paul was able to get the people of Thessalonica to follow Christ, and thus they used not only the Bible but Paul himself as an example of faith.

 “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thess. 1:5-7, KJV)

In short, this story shows us that we have two resources available to us during this stage of faith: the Bible and mature believers around us. New believers should be learning about what the bible says by immersing themselves in daily devotionals, bible studies, sermon audios, etc., but in addition to using these awesome resources, mature believers are another fantastic way of learning how to live like Christ and as the bible commands.

In my own life, I'd say that I have a couple people that I looked up to (and continue to do so) in order to learn about how you live as a good Christian. They include other bloggers (The Modest Mom Blog, Fresh Modesty, and Modern Modesty) as well as friends, my awesome pastor, and my pastor's lovely wife.

Many times, this is the purpose behind fellowship groups: in order to surround others with practicing believers. Not only is it a great way to learn about each other and form bonds, but when used as intended, it can lead to a growth and maturation in Christ of all attendees.
We must be reminded, however, that even the believers that seem the most mature are imperfect, meaning that they will not always provide the perfect example of Christian living.
The only true perfect example is the Bible, so if a believer has a question about their faith, the most accurate resource would be to consult the Bible.

Now, time for the fashion part!
Today’s ensemble was one of those outfits that I had never put together, but once I tried it, I was so glad I had.

I wore a plum colored tie-back-dressy shirt that I got at a greeeaat price at the Salvation Army. What I really loved about this top was that it seemed like a fantastic summer-to-fall transition piece, since it’s a cool, light fabric, but the color lent itself to a fall wardrobe palette.


Beneath it, I have a shimmery silver sequins tank that was a gift from Old Navy. I figured that it added a little pop of color and interest to the outfit, and was much more visually pleasing than a plain tank top underneath :P

The skirt is just a basic, cotton, charcoal colored pencil skirt from Forever 21. It’s very versatile and could work dressed up or dressed down for any occasion!

My shoes are sneaker-flats (anybody ever heard of those?) by Puma. I love these flats because they offer the slim profile of a flat, while maintaining the support and comfort of a sneaker. It’s a win-win! 

Shirt: Salvation Army, $3
Skirt: Forever 21, $9
Tank: Old Navy, Gift
Shoes: Puma, $30

In the next post, I'll be addressing stages 3 and 4 of faith, which I know many will relate to :)
Do y'all have a favorite fall transition wardrobe piece? Let me know in the comments below!

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