I have felt the urge to start writing again for some time now and due to my conviction that I am truly a horrible person at the moment, I find the need to clarify my thoughts even more urgent than normal. I have been thinking about life's big wonders a lot lately and trying to discover where I personally stand on several "big issues" of our day. Yesterday at church God laid a few thoughts heavily on my heart which I will try to express in my writing. During this particular church service Jason spoke about hypocrisy which I find I struggle with immensely. Saying one thing and doing another is a terrible trait of mine which I intend to eradicate as much as possible from my daily life. I find it difficult in my current climate to do so because of politics in country and life. Being so badly hurt by the church in the past has hindered me spiritually which Jason mentioned yesterday should not deter me from becoming more like Christ, as inconvenient and difficult as it may have been. I find that my past has and is effecting my future tremendously and my current goal with Christ's help is to change my person and thinking dramatically.
I know that my personality is harsh and rough nothing like Christ. If I intend to help change the worlds view of Christianity then I must first become more like Christ letting myself be taken over by him. I struggle a lot with pride and in my Bible reading today God showed me a few verses which shed light on my current situation.
Philippians 2:3 states "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also the the interests of others."
Wow. To put it bluntly that really "hit me where it hurts." In our world it is so easy for an individual to put them self first but the Bible is constantly reminding us to think of others better than our self. Everything we do is out of vain ambition. How can we care for others as Christ calls us to when we are constantly self focused and looking within instead of above for guidance. No wonder the world views Christians as hypocritical and self centered. No wonder they find us pushy and unloving. How can we care for others when we are constantly struggling within ourselves and our congregations? By becoming like Christ as the word calls us to do. I feel world expects this from us and reacts negatively when we do not display the traits the Bible clearly says we must have. Faith, hope, and love. We are called to love one another but are too busy pointing the finger to see our own blindness and self created current image which the world so clearly hates. How are we to be the "salt and light" of the world when we allow the world and ourselves to steal our sparkle? All of the above is common knowledge even to the youngest Christian so why don't we do it? Do we forget that our "attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. That is what the world is looking for in us and so I don't blame them when they say unkind words about us because in a way we deserve it for being so hypocritical.
Philippians 2:6-8 says the following about our Lord Jesus Christ " Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - Even death on a cross!"
These verses are so loaded I have almost no idea where to begin. I will start by addressing the fact Jesus does not need us. He is God as the verse states, but because of his great love for us he became our servant (and how undeserving we are of that!) even humbling himself so much that we would die on a cross to save us from our sins. We all deserve death but Christ gives us life! I feel that all too often I forget this fact out of pure stupidity. Christ gave himself so we can truly and freely live. Because we have this chance at life should we not honor our time and the Lord by serving others? Follow Christs example that is what we should do. I have felt incredibly frustrated by my own selfishness and know I must change this within me in order to help change the world.
Now when I make this statement please do not assume that I am presumptuous and self centered enough that I think I can change the world on my own. That is not the case. What I mean is that I wish to become more Christ like so that the few people with whom I have contact each day will see his "light" within me and therefore want to focus more on him or discover him. Because this is what God's word obviously calls us to do. Christ gave his life for us. So all I can do is give my life back to him and with his help form myself into something more usable because at this point in my life I feel pretty useless.
So with all that said I wish to address the driving point which has constantly been plaguing me lately. Firstly please do not think that I claim to know anything about politics because I don't. Even though we seem to be immersed in it currently I have come to the conclusion that there are more important things in this world and although during the last couple of months I have discovered my personal stand on many of life's pressing issues I have found that really it does not matter in the end. Yes our country is in a terrible mess and I feel that everyone is to blame. Even after this election is over with the candidates and their "promises" will the world really be a better place? No. The only way our world can really change for our benefit and the benefit of our children is if we as Christians humble our selves by putting others first and ourselves last. We must give and serve until we are blue in the face and Christ is there to give us daily strength to do this. We can count on that promise.
We as Christians get so caught up in the issues that define us that we forget about our true reason for existence. To love, and serve the true living God. "That every knee should bow in heaven and one earth, and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Why do I forget that? Christ deserves this from us on a daily basis and nothing less then our constant worship. So in the long and short of it I intend to serve others more freely because by selfishly loving myself I am only repeating what Christ already does daily which is love me. Because Christ loves me (which I do not deserve) I must love others.
The last verse of scripture I wish to address is Philippians 2:14 - 16 which states " Do everything with out complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life."
I could go on forever about this but I shan't because I feel I have gone on long enough and therefore becoming extremely repetitive. For me this verse means to stop bickering and fighting to love and serve and to let my light shine. Back to politics, the church, hypocrisy, and me. We all want to change the world and fight for our issues but all we seem to do is argue and inevitably get no where except for angry and hurt that no one can agree. As Christians we do hold a common thread that being Christ and his love for us. So instead of focusing on the issues which divide us we should worship the one who loves us. I feel that we as brothers and sisters in Christ should stop "complaining and arguing" because lets face it there are so many questions we try to understand and theorise upon that only God has the knowledge to answer. Because Christ has given us life we should let our "little light shine" and stop going round and round about issues that we are never going to settle.
In our brightly lit city's it is so hard to see the stars in the sky at night and I think as Christians we allow the hustle and bustle (the issues which divide us) and the generated light which surrounds us (life's problems) drown out our true light and mission. I know I have and do. So in order to change this I shall remove my self from the issues (because I know where I stand and that is what really matters anyway) and focus on the most wonderful thing of all God's love for myself and others. And I feel that if we as Christians made more effort to do this we would give God something to be truly proud of: each little star shining brightly in a "depraved generation" filling the nights sky with God's wonder and beauty. Let us not forget that we are the promised offspring of Abraham who fill the sky. Then maybe the world will wonder what makes them shine? What makes them love? That is my future goal and I am ashamed that it has taken me so long to realise this but, thank God I finally have.