But let's think about the word fashionable for a minute. I was pondering this word once while I was walking through a clothing store (if you count Wal-Mart as a clothing store ha!).
As a verb, according to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fashion, the word 'fashion' means:
tr.v. fash·ioned, fash·ion·ing, fash·ions
Am I taking the word a little out of context? Maybe. But bear with me.
Thinking of the word in this way, I thought, do I really want to be fashionable? Do I want to be able to be fashioned by the fashion industry or anyone else? The answer is no and yes, actually. I do NOT want to be able to be fashioned by culture, retail stores, magazines, or TV stars...but there is Someone I want to be able to be fashioned by.
As I have been at college, I have done a lot of self-evaluating and had to consider who I really am when you strip away all the external things that I DO. What manifests itself that's in my heart? How do people see me who do not already have preconceived notions about me based on the things I've done?
I realized that at home, I was starting to become defined by the things I was doing like Bible studies, teaching at church, youth group or Sunday school, acting in drama groups, working on radio dramas, writing, Bible Quizzing, etc. I derived value from the way my friends, family, and people at my church saw me. But put me in a situation where I don't really know anybody, and more importantly, where nobody knows me, and what comes out?
What I've come to realize through this self-evaluation is that I have so much room for growth. I know the Bible says those that compare themselves among themselves are not wise, but sometimes, it's helpful to evaluate yourself based on where other people are at. I have imagined myself in different situations in the future, like in a career, marriage, living on my own, settling down with a family, teaching, or working creatively, and in each setting I imagine myself, I keep seeing over and over that I fall way short right now of what I could be in each of these situations. "But Michael," you say, "you aren't in those situations! You don't have to measure up to what you're supposed to be in those environments right now." That's true. But I want to be workable so that God can mold me into the person He wants me to be right now, so I'll be prepared for those situations. I see need for growth, and my constant prayer is that God will 'fashion' me into the person He wants me to be. (Were you wondering when the 'fashioning' part of this blog was going to come back into play?)
Looking at how the word fashion is used in Scripture is an interesting study. I thought of a few headings for these verses to help us gain an understanding of what it means to be fashioned by God.
He already created and fashioned us with an intent in mind...to bring glory to Him.
Job_31:15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
Psa_33:15 He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.
But back to the topic at hand...
My point with all this is that there are many things we can be fashioned by. Scripture warns that the companion of fools will be destroyed and that evil company corrupts good character, and I don't want any part of that. But the greatest fear for me is that I will become so hard-hearted and stuck in my ways that God can't work with me. I never want to become hardened clay like that. I always want to be fashion-able by God.
Some of my favorite verses in psalms talk about God changing our heart, like Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Another is Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (24) And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." I used to think of these verses differently, but now when I pray them I cannot say it with any self-righteousness or pride by saying, "Go ahead, God! Look and see how clean my heart is! You got nuthin' on me, devil!" That's not what the psalmist was trying to get across at all. These verses are quoted right after an entire psalm about how intricately God created and knows us, and thus, it is fitting to end the psalm by asking God to continue to fashion according to His will. I want Him to search my heart and know my thoughts, and see if there is even the slightest impurity that conflicts with His plan, and if there is, I want Him to purge it out, and continually lead me in the way everlasting.