Updated: Feb 23, 2019
When we lived in Japan my Mom would send care boxes every month or so. In those boxes were VCR tapes of TV shows from home like Full House, Seinfeld and what became a new favorite, Home Improvement. She sent Snickers and Reece Cups which we could get in Japan, but were crazy expensive. There were boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Betty Crocker Potatoes, brownie mix and other convenience foods that were not readily available there. Even after I acclimated to life in Japan I kept one foot in my homeland.
Don’t get me wrong, after a rocky start, I did enjoy my time in Japan. I just never immersed myself in the culture. I dabbled in some of the festivals and holidays and I loved making Kimekomi dolls. I also continued to celebrate American holidays and to do cross stitch, both thanks to my Mom’s care packages.
They say that hindsight is 20/20. I often ask myself if my life would be different if I had gone all-in and completely immersed myself in the Japanese life. Maybe my Japanese language skills would have been stronger and I have could have made a difference for someone in the United States who needed an interpreter. Or what if I understood the Japanese school system better? And how would a total immersion into that culture have changed my life?
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the eyes and pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
Sometimes I think I do the same thing with my relationship with God – dabbling in my bible reading, celebrating the Christian holidays all the while continuing to walk with the world.
My phone is filled with Christian music, but I also have ZZ Top’s Tush on my playlist. I try to get to every Christian movie as they come out, but I have also seen some pretty raunchy movies. I read a lot of Christian fiction and I read James Patterson. I will praise God anywhere and loudly but I will also sometimes get testy with the Tim Horton’s drive thru teller when they mess up my order. I tend to walk a tightrope of holy and worldly.
All of this leads me to ask: what if I only filled my head with wholesome Christian music, literature and movies? What happens if my first priority every day is spending time with God in His word and prayer? Would people see a better picture of Jesus if I always loudly praise Jesus and choose compassion too? While I can never be completely holy this side of heaven, I can choose to reach for holy over the world.
That would mean not just dabbling in my bible reading but immersing myself in it. It would mean choosing wholesome over worldly, compassion for others over self and finding intentional time with Jesus. Every. Single. Day.
The only question now is do I have the courage to strive to do that today? And can I sustain it every day after? The human factor will continue to intrude on my journey to holiness, but the more I work toward that, the closer I will get.
“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:17