Friday, October 17, 2014
It is undeniable. We live in dangerous times. They are dangerous in many ways. It seems to be common anymore to turn on the news and hear of various local issues including: drive by shootings, suicides, hit and runs, assaults, and frauds by the dozen. On an international scale, there are many hotbeds where war is brewing, political and religious groups imposing their will on those weaker than themselves using violence and intimidation, and genocides being carried out by people who are behaving in ways that betray almost a complete lack of conscience.
I hear frequently anymore, the voices of friends and acquaintances espousing their views on human relationships and how the interactions we have should be conducted. It is frightening to me to hear how very far away we sometimes stray from the truth.
Please understand that I am primarily writing this piece to speak to my friends and acquaintances who like me, say they follow Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Christ calls us to something far bigger than the narrow minded and selfish ways of this world. Unlike much of the world today, we are called to be self-sacrificing, looking to others needs, putting those needs ahead of our own. We are to be aware that the things we do, though they may not be sin (i.e. drinking alcohol), may cause others to stumble and fall.
I have been greatly disappointed in the last few years to see that many of us whether young or old, new to faith in Christ, or maturing in the faith, have begun taking or leaving various pieces of scripture to justify ignoring our responsibilities to those around us whose faith is less mature and yes, weaker. We must reverse this trend. If we say we follow Christ, then we must be far more than just hearers of the word, but also doers. It is not our right to take on the parts of scripture that feel comfortable to us and throw out that which is not so easy to put into practice or live out day to day.
I am not advocating a world where we do not pursue our own personal good mental and spiritual health as one goal. However, I am asking each of you who read this to perform a soul-search where you ensure that you have more than just a self-centered interest in nobody’s well-being but your own. That sort of thinking is not from God. It is that simple. In Christ we are called to live in community. In Christ we are called to love each other. In Christ we are called to sacrifice ourselves and carry the cross daily.
And, I confess that I often fail at this self-sacrifice too. However, I am not asking anyone to do that which I am not striving to do as well. But, I don’t want to just be a “Sunday Christian” either. When we are self-aware and focused on the image of Christ that we not only bear, but need to be reflecting, then our need to always feed our ravenous self will diminish and Christ will be glorified. I know this is easier said than done, but if we try and live with an eternal view towards our actions, then with Christ’s help we can keep moving towards the person that God has created us to be.
Yes, these are dangerous times, but if we know the truth in Jesus, then we can go through dark times and continue to shine His light to those around us who are desperate to fill that empty spot in their hearts. We can say no to selfish things that lead people around us to stumble and fall into doubt and sin. We can actively reach out and share the hope, the truth, the forgiveness, and love that God first gave to us with the broken people around us and walk with them into better days.
Keep the faith. Remember that the real battle happens on our knees. And, keep your hope in the only one who really has the future in His hands. He won’t let you fall.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Another week is racing by, another blip on the timeline of my life and yours as well.
Thoughts seem to come and go so fast anymore that I have to do as now and force myself to sit for a short while and compose them in my journal or here on my computer. Otherwise, like so much dust or smoke, these thoughts are quickly swept away and forgotten.
I probably ask you (and myself) too often what the meanings behind the actions of others might be. What goes through the minds of individual people, or collectively through the minds of governments, or organizations? It’s just that I have never lost my childhood curiosity regarding wondering how things work or what makes them tick.
It is in this vein of thought that today’s blog post comes from.
My thoughts today are fluttering around the flame of our personal rights and how we come to expect them. Additionally, I am finding myself obsessed with how it is the corporate world uses their rites to determine what the rights granted to and expectations placed on individuals are.
Ultimately, the corporate world only takes its sustenance from us individuals anyway.
And this is where the core of my issue with corporations lies. Commonly, the individual nowadays (especially here in the modern western world) sees their needs and wants as being paramount, as being above all else to be fulfilled.
And this is counter to Jesus’ teaching.
“Oh!” you say. “Wait just a minute you hypocrite!” you exclaim. “Don’t judge me!” you growl.
I don’t judge you. Only God can and does have that right. And, I am under that same judgment. But let our actions speak for themselves. If we are not selfish, then let our actions speak. If we are not always self-serving, then let our actions speak. If we put others needs before our own, then let the evidence be out there in the open for all to see.
I have seen evidence this past week that some of us are clearly in tune with God’s mandate for us to serve others. And, by placing another’s needs before our own, we reflect the nature and teachings of our Savior while he walked among us here. Our living sacrificially and giving up our rights shows that we understand what Christ did for us when he gave up his life in exchange for ours.
It is not our servant actions that earn us a place in heaven. But, it is our servant actions that give testimony to the change in our heart, and that because of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We can crucify our worldly self to ensure others needs are met. And, this is a strong piece of evidence that convicts us as being children of God.
Philippians 2:3 & 4 – Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to their own interests, but also to the interests of others.
More to come…
Have a blessed week!