Tag: Faith

You Are Not Enough

This blog comes due to a question I was going to ask a friend: How do you see what’s wrong with you and still love yourself or believe you’re worthy of good things?

This is my response to my own question.

There are two (at least) dangerous lies circulating society.

You are worthy.
You are enough.

Yes. You read that correctly.
Yes. I said it (insert Nene Leakes meme hither).

I have believed or attempted to believe these lies in an effort to live at peace with myself. It’s the message of beauty campaigns, magazines, hashtag movements, daily affirmations, pep talks, etc.

However, I have found the very opposite is true.

You are not worthy.
You are not enough.

Believing you are either of these two things facilitates the act of self worship–idolatry.

First. The very fact that we present that we are worthy of something is a belief that we’ve done enough to deserve this thing. (Granted, faith is a principle which governs the systems of the world–you can demonstrate by your works what you believe and attract what you’re expecting.)

However, we’ve misapplied this term or idea of worthiness. There is only One that is worthy. That’s YAH. There is none other.

Second–in tandem, you cannot do enough to be “deserving” or “worthy.” Your value is not what you do or in what you’ve done. Life is not the rewards system we often think it is. Do this and you get that. Do this and you’ll be worthy of that. Life is random and unfair. So, how will we have peace when things happen we feel we don’t deserve?

For humans, I get why we desire to feel worthy. Therein lies a belief that if I see something as bigger than myself and worthy of worship/praise, I am no longer valuable. This is not true. You can never truly know who you are until you know whose you are. Now, if you choose to only belong to yourself, you shall never experience the fullness of who you were made to be.

Knowing whose you are gives meaning and direction to your life. If you are His, it helps you see the tiny important part you play without blowing it out of proportion or minimizing it to a level that insults the One who made you (belonging to yourself).

It was never intended to be a trade off in which either YAH is good and worthy or I am good and worthy. We were meant to exist within a reality that says YAH who is worthy of every praise we could ever give demonstrates His character in that He takes care of us. The very fact that the most powerful being would seek to see about you ascribes far more worth than you could ever give yourself.

So, these lies…

1. I’m not enough because I am not complete. He takes care of me–indicating my need for Him. I am not complete without Him.

Tangent: When I say He takes care of me, it does not mean He gives me everything I want and does not allow me to experience pain. Instead, it means He has care for me. He cares about me. If He controlled every single aspect of my life, that would prove He cares more about Himself than anything else. That’s not love. He would have the need to control everything because His very nature was contingent on it. But, because YAH’s existence and nature is not contingent on anything else around Him, He has no need to control every single thing in order to prove He is who He says He is. He’s still Him when things look contrary. He is complete within Himself. He is ONE with Himself.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

2. I am not worthy because even my righteousness is filthy rags before Him. I cannot produce anything pure aside from Him. I need Him to even be right.

This shouldn’t paint a picture of self-hate. Instead, it should encourage adoration of Him. He’s beautiful and has made me to be beautiful–complete, lacking nothing. That cannot happen apart from Him or His people.

Self-hatred is an incorrect reaction to the beauty of YAH. Rest is the correct response to the beauty of YAH.

Resting in Him is a life of true Sabbath. I shall not go outside of Him to have my needs met. (This does not mean He doesn’t meet needs through people–that’s His model). I enter true rest knowing that nothing but Him causes me to be complete–whole, lacking nothing. I rest knowing that true connection to Him (not religion) can save me. I rest knowing I don’t and can’t be enough on my own.

When I am perfect (always connected to Him), I rest.

The systems of the world don’t provide rest.
Religion doesn’t provide rest.
Status doesn’t provide rest.
Education doesn’t provide rest.
Wealth doesn’t provide rest.
Power doesn’t provide rest.

All of these things can only imitate what YAH intends to do and be for His people. We often go outside of Him so that we can prove we don’t need Him. This reveals an insecurity in the human race. We are weak and hate it. We hate the idea of needing a Being we employ faith to believe in. So, we find ways outside of Him that are only imitations of Him:

The systems of the world: He is the King of an unseen kingdom.
Religion: He is what is sacred.
Status: He has no need to prove his importance. Humans have merely discovered it.
Education: He is knowledge.
Wealth: He is wealth.
Power: He is power.

Humans seek to replicate who YAH is to prove they don’t need Him–thus proving they do. This is the tireless grind of the human life. Can I ascend without Him?

Relationship with Him is an invitation to rest from your efforts to prove you don’t need Him.

Messiah said even His burden is LIGHT. Even work is rest in the Almighty.

“For My yoke is gentle and My burden is light.”

Mattithyahu (Matthew) 11:30 TS2009

True belief in Him is rest. It’s rest from all the work you used to do to make yourself SEEM right (complete). Now you are right. Now you are His.

So, enter that rest.

Religion: System Failure

Religion: System Failure

The world’s confidence is a false confidence.

Any confidence that positions itself to never be vulnerable is not true confidence. It is insecurity masked as pride or confidence.

The systems of the world perpetuate an illegitimate means by which to be confident.

One’s ability to make oneself vulnerable determines the magnitude of confidence (and wholeness) they’ll develop. To be naked is to be vulnerable (to be whole).

We see this condition with Adam and Eve. Before the curse (what many call “the fall”), Adam walked with YAH in the  garden, naked (whole). He had nothing to hide and could be perfectly confident/free.

This changed. Once they had the knowledge of good and evil and heard YAH drawing near to them, they hid. Then, they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Many wear fig leaves in an attempt to secure covering or to present themselves as whole, together, not lacking in anything.

While YAH does desire that we be whole, any covering we make outside of Him is illegitimate and not capable of proper covering.

Covering is not for hiding flaws, but a safe place in which you receive the nutrients to be whole.

As long as humans will make themselves vulnerable to YAH and each other, they will find the nutrients or supply to be whole or complete.

You don’t have to look far to find representations of fig leaves.

Fig leaves are what I use to appear whole instead of doing the work to be whole. Fig leaves are those things we present instead of presenting the truth of our broken condition.

Religion is a system of the world and one expression of fig leaves. (This does not mean there isn’t an absolute Truth or Deity we are to be in relationship with).

Religion at its core is the packaging of what was sacred and intimate and creating a system of it.

Religion, as people have organized and packaged it, is a means by which we attempt to appear confident and together. Religion reverses the natural order of relationship with YAH. Relationship with Him transforms you from the inside to the outside. Religion places weight in outward works that do not truly bring about an inward change or healing.

Religion will never have the power to heal, just as fig leaves will never have the power to truly cover.

Simply put:

Religion: fig leaves

Relationship: vulnerability

Many different things can serve as fig leaves (this is not an exhaustive list):

Image
Personalities
Positions
Reputation
Religion
Philosophy
Intelligence
Power
Resources

Many of us are not as confident as we think we are. We’ve placed our confidence in things that are not of substance.

If you are not one who makes yourself vulnerable, your confidence is false and will not stand. It may fool many, but it will fail when you seek the greater truth of vulnerability.

Be vulnerable.

#God’sPlan

#God’sPlan

You may have seen many captioning their photos and videos on social media with “God’s Plan” from Drake’s hit song by the same name. Many use it to announce certain milestones, fulfilled dreams, and accomplished goals. For example, “First one to graduate college! #GodsPlan” or “Got married to my soulmate! #GodsPlan”

It’s not bad to believe YAH (a shortened name for the original Hebrew name for God) is a part of good things that happen to or for us. For YAH desires good for us. However, even higher than that, YAH desires wholeness for us–completeness.

Wholeness is God’s highest call for us. The work He has begun is to that end. We see evidence of this desire for wholeness in quite a few places:

being persuaded of this, that He who has begun a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of יהושע Messiah” (Philippians 1:6).

“And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught” (James 1:4).

Oftentimes, due to the fallacies taught in religion, we believe this wholeness has only to do with us. Sermons taught on Joseph become about our dreams and promotions. David and Goliath becomes another story about knocking down your haters. Jesus and Judas becomes about snakes in the grass (or whatever a lot of these rap songs talk about).

When we remove these accounts of true events from the overall scope of the Bible and Yah’s plan for humanity, we lose the power therein–the reality of the Gospel (Good News). We cannot compromise the integrity of the Gospel. It needs to be pure for, “it is the power of Elohim for deliverance to everyone who believes, to the Yehudi (Jew) first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16b).

We must read and interpret them within the context of the entire Bible. When we do this, we see each one as part of this exhilarating account of the exchange between Yah and mankind.

It’s about more than just me. It’s about more than just you.

then יהוה your Elohim shall turn back your captivity, and shall have compassion on you, and He shall turn back and gather you from all the peoples where יהוה your Elohim has scattered you. “If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under the heavens, from there יהוה your Elohim does gather you, and from there He does take you (Deuteronomy 30:3-4).
“But now in Messiah יהושע you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who has made both one, and having broken down the partition of the barrier (Ephesians 2:13-14).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a renewed creature – the old matters have passed away, see, all matters have become renewed! And all matters are from Elohim, who has restored us to favour with Himself through יהושע Messiah, and has given us the service of restoration to favour, that is, that Elohim was in Messiah restoring the world to favour unto Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of restoration to favour” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).
From these verses alone, we begin to see a pattern. God really DOES have a plan. The difference, for some of us, is that it’s not all about us in the way that we thought.

There is a “me-centered” gospel and perspective that has circulated for far too long. “God sent His Son to die for me.” He did–but not just for you. Why is it important for us to understand the distinction? What’s wrong with making what God has done for all about me? Quite a bit. It removes what He’s done from the proper context and renders the reality of it ineffective.

You must understand where you fall within the unveiling account of Yah’s relationship with mankind. Otherwise, you have not believed the true Gospel–Messiah. He is the Good News!

“And daily in the Set-apart Place, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and bringing the Good News: יהושע the Messiah!” (Acts 5:42)

YAH isn’t just out to make you whole. As an individual, you are a tiny (significant, yes; in that He cares for you) piece of His plan for wholeness in His kingdom.

We’ve heard this term, the “kingdom of heaven” and understood it to mean “the rule and reign of Yah.” This is correct. However, the way it’s been taught in Christianity limits the scope.

It’s not about God having authority and reign over you as an individual (though that’s included). It’s about the rule of Yah’s Son (a King) over the nation of Israel–original and grafted (Romans 11).

We’ve long understood that this term “kingdom of heaven” was not talking about a physical place but a people–those who are in Covenant relationship with Him. A king is not king but over his own people.

“For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares יהוה: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people”  (Jeremiah 31:33).

This has been #God’sPlan from the beginning–that we know Him as our Elohim (power) and be His people. Through the life and sacrifice of His Son, we no longer are slaves to sin (Romans 6). Through the coming of His Spirit (Acts 1-2), we have been empowered to live according to the Spirit and not the flesh. The Set-Apart (Holy) Spirit teaches us and empowers us to be Yah’s people (John 14:26).

We now have the “want to.” We now have the “how to.” We now have the “why to.” Messiah (Jesus) came to bring wholeness and a proper perspective of the how, what, and why of being Yah’s people.

Every move that Yah makes is to bring His people into true healing–wholeness. Knowing this, we can look at what we often call bad and be assured that #God’sPlan will prevail.

 

The Way Pt. 1

The Way Pt. 1

I often write notes in my phone using an app called Inkpad Notepad. I’ve been using it since 2015 and have access to all of the notes I’ve ever written.

I like being able to go back, see what I was thinking, and compare it to the way I think today.

One habit I’ve had in my time of writing notes is writing what YAH (God) says in parenthesis. Oftentimes, I’ll find myself ranting, complaining, and crying out in such dramatic emotion. Then, I’ll hear YAH insert Himself absolutely on cue. My thoughts are suddenly interrupted, YAH speaks, and I must stop and adjust my perspective. I don’t adjust my perspective out of fear, frustration,  or indifference, but the reality of Truth.

This is a picture of life.

When we walk with YAH, we ought always be ready to have our ideas interrupted and to forfeit them. “Make me walk in the path of Your commands, for I have delighted in it (Tehillim (Psalms) 119:35 TS2009).”

As we are going, we’re taking on new ideas embedded in our experiences and interpretations thereof. We often become hardened or set in a particular way. Life with YAH was never meant to be that way. It was never meant to be, “let’s build a house that we never leave.” Instead, I would liken it to setting up camp and moving as He goes.

Truth doesn’t change, but Personified Truth is always moving. We must be prepared to follow Him even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if it goes against all our former ideologies, we must lay them down and adjust our direction. He can be trusted to guide us. “and your ears hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the Way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right, or whenever you turn to the left (Yeshayah (Isaiah) 30:21 TS2009).”

In many of the Prophets and other portions of the Bible, we find them using the word “righteous” or “righteousness.” “Be glad in יהוה and exult, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart! Tehillim (Psalms) 32:11 TS2009.

In modern society, this is often translated as “right acts” or “right-standing with YAH.” These two interpretations have relation to the word/idea, but fall short in representing it solely and properly.

The word “righteous” refers to “walking in the path.” True righteousness is a picture of you  constantly walking with Him. If we remain still, we’ll get stuck in religion (comfort). Then we’ll bring in idols to replace YAH. Our works can quickly become our idols. Our positions, our ideas, our jobs, relationships, etc.

In contrast to righteousness, “wickedness” in the ancient Hebrew refers to “walking off the path.”

“Those who leave the paths of straightness to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil; they delight in the perversities of evil; whose paths are crooked, And they are perverted in their ways” (Mishlĕ (Proverbs) 2:13‭-‬15 TS2009).

Wickedness in His eyes is to not be connected to Him. It is a choosing to walk in your own path (idolatry, sin). This is death. “A man who strays from the way of understanding, rests in the assembly of the dead” Mishlĕ (Proverbs) 21:16 TS2009).

Wickedness is saying you don’t need to be guided by Him because you are/know enough to guide yourself.

It is you finding your own way of righteousness instead of accessing the Father through The Way (Messiah).

“יהושע said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Yoḥanan (John) 14:6 TS2009)

 

 

 

 

What We’re All Missing

What We’re All Missing

This may be the shortest blog I’ve ever written. You’re welcome.

Where there is sin, there is a need for healing. A lot of the time, when we see sin, we slap a morality bandage on it to “cure” it.

Ideologies like, “if I do enough good stuff, then I won’t feel so bad about the bad stuff I used to do,” and “I can do enough to be holy,” and “God doesn’t love me because I’ve done something bad,” or “God loves me more because I’m on track,” indicate we are addressing symptoms, but not root issues.

Sin is an illegitimate means to fulfill a legitimate need. The Most High desires to provide for every need. Love, intimacy, relationship, etc.

Sin is when we go outside of God to fulfill the needs we have. Lying, fear, doubt, worry, murder, stealing, lust etc. are all outward expressions (evidences) of an inner problem.

The Most High desires to heal us so that we see Him as our Source — so that we don’t go to what kills thinking it’ll heal. Without an intimate relationship with the Most High and others, we will not have the proper perspective. We’ll continue to believe we can fill GOD-shaped holes with temporary satisfaction; but it’ll never address the true issue.

This is why we seek and serve the Most High. So, make a decision today to pursue intimate relationship with the Most High. Be vulnerable before Him. Take everything to Him.

He won’t let you down.

Letting Go of Something Good

Letting Go of Something Good

This one’s for me.

“Letting go” isn’t usually easy — especially for me. It doesn’t matter what it is. I’m incredibly sentimental. My closet in my living room has been opened a total of 5 times since I’ve lived there (3 years)! I have yet to clear out its contents because I have some sort of sentimental attachment to those things (awards, memorabilia, etc.). Also, I’m pretty sure there are spiders in there and I’m not really built for that kind of battle.

It’s much easier for me to let go of things I know I don’t need and don’t care about — but what about when it’s something I really care about? What if I have to let go of something God has said is for me? What if I have to let of something that’s good for me? What if I have to let go of something I never expected to part with?

Well, that’s me right now. I won’t go into great detail; but I wanted to express some ideas that have been swarming through my mind.

  1. My trust cannot be in the good “thing’s” ability or likelihood of coming back. I must trust that if God needs me to have it, it will be God’s ability and responsibility to restore it.
  2. I have to consider that what’s good isn’t necessarily what’s best.
  3. When I give up something good, I have to realize that I’ll always win. If I give it up and cling to God, I’ve automatically won. Although, if I’m honest, I don’t always know what that looks like nor am I amped to cling to God in moments like these. Sometimes, I just want to stomp my feet, pout, and demand that God does things my way. This sort of reaction indicates a certain idolatry in my heart toward the thing(s) I let go of.
  4. Although it may be good for me, it may not be good for me right now.
  5. How secure am I in who God has said I am? Do I need this thing in order to feel secure, confident, worthy, etc? Nah.
  6. God will often draw you to Himself in moments of loss (of any proportion). This is almost always the highest purpose or result when loss occurs.
  7. There are no shortcuts for dealing with the pain. There are many seemingly worthy substitutes that make it easier to cope with the pain. They help soften the blow of the loss. However, if maturity is what you seek, you’ll know that eventually you will have to part with the temporary for the ultimate. You’ll have to embrace and face the pain head on.
  8. God is not cruel nor is He interested in making you suffer without purpose. In most cases, our suffering is not due to God bringing some judgment. It’s often due to our poor decisions, decisions of others around us, or attacks from the enemy (Satan).

While God does not cause much of our pain, He will use it for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

All things — suffering, work together for my good.

All things — loss, work together for my good.

All things — obscurity, work together for my good.

All things — rejection, work together for my good.

All things — (fill in the blank), work together for my good.

It is important when you are walking (sometimes crawling) through a season of loss to watch where you put your focus. Social media is a trap I’ve found myself falling into many of times.

Scrolling through highlight reels of the lives of those around me serves as a constant reminder of what I’ve lost or doubt I’ll ever have. Eyes up. Meditating on what was and being worried about what will be — eyes up. Getting stuck in grief, bitterness, self-hatred, frustration with God — eyes up.

God will always be the remedy for what we’ve lost.

He can be trusted. Let this verse permeate your heart in this time:

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

 

In the World, But Not of It: Reverence Over Relevance

In the World, But Not of It: Reverence Over Relevance

Disclaimer: This is for the Christians. It is not to be used as ammunition toward any specific Christian, church, or denomination; nor has it been written motivated by the actions of any specific person, church, or denomination.

Instead, I’m writing because of something I’ve periodically observed in myself. I believe it’s something many Christians might observe in themselves if they’d search; this desire to be relevant. This is not specific to Christians, but that’s what we’ll deal with today.

Relevance in and of itself is not evil; but the desire for it must be qualified. Why do we want to be relevant? What does relevance look like in the life of the believer? Does it mean I can’t be fun anymore? How do I serve God without being out of touch with “reality?” To whom do we want to be relevant?

These are all important questions and our answers to them reveal something about the posture of our heart toward God and the things of God. So, let’s dive in.

First, I want to deal with two different perspectives we may observe in the Church (the Body of Christ, followers of Christ) concerning relevance. People often swing to one extreme of the spectrum or the other.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “in the world, but not of it?” Yes? Well, this is an understanding of several verses in the Bible; though it is not a verse itself. Basically, it means even though we exist in this world, we are not of the same nature of the world. There is a culture and citizenship we possess that supersedes that which we experience here. We (children of God) are of a different world which is unseen. Below are some of the verses which compile this theological idea of ‘in the world, but not of it.’

John 15: 19
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

1 John 2:15
“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.”

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Mark 4:19
“…and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

The First Extreme

Some interpret these verses to mean we can’t do anything that appears even remotely secular‘– which means ‘worldly.’ For example, some believe we can’t have any sort of relationship with those who aren’t believers–not even any association. Granted, a believer must be wise and discerning when pursuing intimate relationships with unbelievers.

However, there is a difference between being separate and being separate. What? The kind of separation required of believers is one that distinguishes. It is not to isolate or quarantine our faith but to live separate to GOD. Being separate to GOD means we seek to become what GOD desires for us to become.

This was a common issue the Messiah encountered while He walked this Earth. He was constantly brought under scrutiny for spending time with sinners and the ‘unclean’ of society. This didn’t line up with the idea the religious leaders of that time had about being separated or holy.

In one account, the Messiah is eating dinner with tax collectors (oftentimes manipulative con men) and other sinners. One of the ruling religious groups in Israel at the time, the Pharisees, reasoned among themselves and concluded that He was unclean because of this.

You can find some accounts of this encounter here: Matthew 9:10-17, Mark 2:13-17, and Luke 5:27-31.

Believers, we do ourselves and the world a disservice by segregating (isolating) ourselves and the truth we know. Be careful not to build and sustain cozy environments that only welcome those who agree with you (even specifically those of the same faith as you). In response to His being questioned about His interaction with sinners, the Messiah responded, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance (Luke 5:31-31).”

This inclination to isolate in comfortability without challenge hardens the heart of the believer and allows religion to calcify our minds. This causes us to lose sight of the call of EVERY believer–that is reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:11-21). We are called to reconcile people to GOD. This cannot be done if we’re walled up physically or spiritually within four walls of a quaint church that make us feel comfortable, secure, and unchallenged.

There are people who are falling away daily and many more who have not heard the truth and love expressed in the Gospel of the kingdom of GOD. If we’re honest, in our hearts, there is often fostered this culture of ‘staying’ — of finding a safe, comfortable place and resting there; comfortable in our religion. Our call was never to stay, but to ‘go.’ (Matthew 28:18-20) That doesn’t mean everyone is going to live the life of a traveling missionary or what have you. It does mean that we have to come outside of ourselves to reach the lost and those who have fallen away wherever we find ourselves.

The Second Extreme

The other extreme of the spectrum typically involves this need to prove likeness. “I’m just like you.” “We’re the same!” “I like that kind of music too.” Have you ever met a believer who is always trying to convince people to follow Christ or accept them by proving believers aren’t that different from everyone else? Better yet, have you ever been that believer? I know I have.

It didn’t happen overnight though. I’ve always been very vocal about my faith and the importance thereof. However, over the years, I saw a gradual change. I started wanting to compel people to come to Christ by convincing them that things wouldn’t change much or that I was still like the ‘Darveiye’ I was before.

This is problematic because I was compelling people based on a lie. I’m not just like you. We’re not the same. We may seem incredibly similar on the surface, but there is an inner change that differentiates us. It doesn’t mean I’m better, it means I’m renewed. It means I’m saved. It means I’m redeemed. It means my mind has been changed. It means some things will not and cannot stay the same. It means I have a new nature. I may be “in the world, but I’m not of it.”

I found the reason I was trying to be “relevant” was not because I wanted people to accept God, but I wanted people to accept me. I’d spent so much of my life being rejected and bullied for my interests, my looks, my faith that I found I started to work hard to prove I was normal. However, the reality of the life of a child of God is that you will not be accepted by the world and you are not normal. It’s not something that “gets better” or changes with time.

If there comes a point at which I am completely embraced by the world or indistinguishable from it, I’ve ceased being separated. I may find I’ve begun to seek relevance from the world compromising my reverence for God — which is the result of seeking relevance.

For you cannot completely love and embrace God and still look like, think like, and live like the world. You will hate one or love the other. “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24a).”

This dynamic isn’t often easily detected. Sometimes, we’re still doing all of the things we usually do (go to church, read the Bible, talk about God) but will find our hearts are far from God in the process. This is why checking your heart is so important. Always ask, “why am I doing what I’m doing?” “Why am I saying what I’m saying?” “Am I trying to get people to accept me or accept God?” “Am I cutting myself off from the people who need to hear about the God I know?” “Am I discerning or am I just judging people?”

We often treat this walk with Christ as a one size fits all. Granted, there are elements that are one-size-fits-all (salvation, loved by God, call to reconciliation, and many others). However, we have these misguided ideas of exactly what it should look like and get lost in trying to look like that (clothes we wear, how we talk, going to church, reading the Bible, being kind to people, etc) and forget to check if our hearts are truly one with God’s heart.

To sum all of this up, choose reverence over relevance.

Be sensible. Be fools.

Over and out.

 

My Boyfriend and the Beatitudes

My Boyfriend and the Beatitudes

This is for the ladies. What do you want in a man? What is something you refuse to compromise on? What are your must-haves and must-not-haves? Many women have been encouraged to write a list that spells out all that they’d want in a husband. I have heard stories of women who have done this and the man they married was “everything they wanted and more.” I believe this really does happen.

It’s important to note that “the list” is as individual as the person writing it. It’s specific to you, your purpose, and the man the Most High will present to you. I’ve written lists before and have found that my list changes as I get older. Some things have remained the same (8 years ago), but for the most part, it’s changed a lot. This is due in part to my coming into an understanding of who I am and what I need.

Many times, we make these lists identifying our wants, but not our needs. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to ‘want’ something — but every desire must be qualified. Why do I want what I want? What will I do with it once I get it? Who will it help or serve?

There’s nothing wrong with identifying what you want, but don’t compromise what you need for what you want. Typically, the things we want are temporary things anyway. The things we need are things that our purpose and the very core of who we are cannot live without. ‘Needs’ won’t change — for the most part. ‘Wants’ will. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be of my greatest benefit to evaluate and desire a man based on something that does not change. The WORD of God.

Now, when I say WORD of God, I’m talking about Yeshua, the Messiah (many have referred to Him as Jesus–that’s a blog for another day). Although many refer to the Bible as the Word of God, it is not the WORD of God.

John 1:1, 14 says, “In the beginning was the WORD, the WORD was with God and the WORD was God. He was with God in the beginning. The WORD became flesh and dwelt among us…” See, the Bible contains words from God, but it is not the WORD of God. Moving on.

The WORD of God doesn’t change and I can be secure in who He is and who I am IN Him. Acts 17:28 says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” If we are the offspring of God, we are produced after Him — meaning, we look (and are) like Him.

So, if I have a relationship with the One who does not change (James 1:17), whom I’m created to be like (Genesis 1:26-28), it would be important to note what He celebrates and deems good — hence the purpose for this blog.

In Matthew 5, we read of one of the most powerful teachings ever taught to mankind. I’ve been hearing this since I was about 5 years old and am only now coming into deeper understanding of it. Verses 3-12 have been infamously referred to as the Beatitudes. It’s that passage in the Bible that each verse starts with, “Blessed are…”

Many of sermons have been taught on the Beatitudes. My church recently went through a study and it was mind-blowing. Before we had even studied it, I had decided to write this blog. I’m going to take a look at the first three verses and how they influence what I should look for in a relationship. (These are in no particular order — although they are numbered).

  1. Submission to God

v. 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Yeshua was speaking of one who is crouched low before God (humility). One who is poor in spirit does not place confidence or value in their own human authority; they recognize God’s authority as highest and truest.

So, this verse encourages me to bless (praise) what Christ has blessed (praised) — which is a man that recognizes God’s authority and governs his life according to it. A man who isn’t submitted to God is a man unprepared to lead you or himself in God’s will.

A direct result of being one who recognizes and acknowledges God’s authority is the quality of being teachable. Being teachable allows you to be ready to learn because you aren’t under the impression you know everything. If you’re under the impression you know everything, you can’t learn.

2. After God’s Own Heart

v. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.”

Like verse 3, this verse does not mean what it would appear to mean. Yeshua would always talk in parables and His lessons would always have a deeper meaning. The revelation I received when studying this was that the one who mourns what God mourns, will be comforted (brought near).

The one whose heart breaks for what the Father’s break shall be brought near to the Father. This means, an intimate relationship with the Father results in caring about what God cares about — which in turn results in greater intimacy with the Father. A man who cultivates an intimate relationship with the Father is a student of Love (for God is Love) and will constantly be growing in the fullness of who God created him to be.

3. Humility

“Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.”

Yeshua is speaking of humility again. This ought to be no surprise to us given how much God hates pride. (1 John 2:16; Isaiah 2:10; Proverbs 11:2). But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).” 

The Bible is very clear that God favors the humble and hates pride. God hates pride because it is often at the root of any sin. Pride exalts itself higher than it ought. Pride says, “I know better than God.” Pride doesn’t allow us to accept God because we will believe there’s no need to.

A man that walks humbly before God and man will walk in the favor of God. To have the favor of God means to have God’s face turned toward you in approval. “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1).”

If God approves of you, He gives you what is His. He gives you influence and authority. It may not look the way we think it would, but it’s the kind of influence and authority that can only come from God. This kind of approval (justification) comes with intimate relationship (sonship) with God. “For they will inherit the earth…” You inherit because you’re an heir, a child of God. I want to be with a man that recognizes he’s a child of the Most High and is in pursuit of what that looks like.

So, as we can see, the Bible can inform us of what God values and help us make sound decision in our relationships. Since marriage is God’s, it makes sense to seek Him about His desire for it. Some questions I’ve asked God are, “what kind of person should I marry?” “What kind of person do you want me to be in marriage?” These questions are informing me of God’s desire for me in relationships.

I hope this blog encourages you to seek God about your relationships and to trust that He knows best!

 

Be sensible.

Be fools.

I Thought It Was Love

I Thought It Was Love

Have you ever been in love? Many of us would claim we have been. Sometimes, we’re unsure. We use feelings to justify or confirm that we were in fact in love. “I just feel so happy around him!” “She makes me so giddy!” “He just makes me feel good.”

We think because “we’re so excited to be around them,” “we like the same things,” or “they’re different from anyone we’ve ever dated,” that it means we’re in love. Granted, sometimes, this is the case. However, this is not always true. Sometimes, it’s something else.

Lust.

You’ve likely already heard this. Lust does a fantastic job at masquerading as love. We often perceive our lust for someone as love for them. Lust can be defined as a very strong desire–often unquenchable. It is not wrong in and of itself to strongly desire something.

However, it’s important to qualify (verify) what we desire. We can do this by asking a couple of simple questions.

Why do I want what I want?

This is one of the easiest ways to distinguish love from lust. If you want what you want for an unhealthy reason (pride, insecurity, superiority), then you know it’s lust. Lust does nothing but consume you. Love doesn’t consume you, it blooms you and those that are in relationship with you.

What will I do once I get it?

Is your desire for selfish reasons, then you know it’s not love; for love is selfless. Are you unable to give selflessly? Do you only desire to receive without any reciprocation? This leads me to my next point.

Reciprocity.

This is likely the most common dynamic at work in relationships that seem to have love, but don’t. The only reason I have any perception of this, is because I’ve discovered this within myself.

You may have learned about reciprocity in Math class in high school. It is simply a mutual exchange of privileges. “I am this to you because you’ve been that to me.” “I’ll do this for you because you’ve that for me.” “I expect you to give this because I’ve given that.”

Disclaimer: I’m not saying you should not have standards or stay in toxic relationships. No. Instead, I am saying a relationship built on reciprocity cannot live up to its fullest potential and it is not love. 

In a reciprocal relationship, I love that you did this for me, but not necessarily you. I find myself attached to what you can do, give, or be to me and not you. That’s not love. Love isn’t looking for what it can get, love has already given. It’s free. Love gives freely. For the moment love requires compensation, it’s not really love. 

I thought I knew how to love. I did; and maybe I did know how to love. However, after many heart breaking experiences, I’ve been slow to love those around me in fear of getting hurt. “What if I let myself love them and they hurt me beyond repair?” To a hurting person, that is the most valid question you could ask. While our ‘what if’ scenarios hardly ever come true, you can’t help but believe that if you chose to love, you’d end up broken.

I want to encourage you to love again. I don’t mean seek a romantic relationship–but love again.

Love yourself. Love others. This will only be possible through intimate relationship with the Most High. For many of us, the reason we’re unable to love without fear is because we have a skewed perspective about God. We’ve lost our trust in Him. We’ve lost our faith in Him. We feel like He left us when we needed Him most. So, we no longer go to Him when we feel lost or broken.

Fortunately and unfortunately, He is the only One that can find us when we’re lost and mend us when we’re broken.

The thing is, God is love–the very essence of it. God doesn’t have love, He is it. God doesn’t give love, He is it. If we’d allow Him to infiltrate every area of our dark hearts, they’d beat again. God wants you to be able to love again. You haven’t lost it, it’s just hidden. Remember, love doesn’t wait to be acknowledged or recognized. It’s free.

So, even if you’re not acknowledging God in your life right now, just know that He loves you still. That is the greatest truth we can ever grasp as humans–God loves you. Don’t forget it.

Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poorand give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

Be sensible. Be fools.

1 Cor. 3:18