Tag: God

The Divorce We All Need To Get

The Divorce We All Need To Get

It’s over.

Serve the papers. Tell them that you can’t do this anymore. You’re not happy anymore. Truthfully, you’ve never been happy. You thought that some day, they’d bring you fulfillment; but it just hasn’t happened.

They haven’t fulfilled you because they were never meant to. They don’t have the capacity to provide what you truly need. You stay because there are times it seems you’re on the same page and they want the best for you.

Let me just tell you, they don’t want the best for you. Who am I talking about? Better yet, what am I talking about?

Opinions. Not just any opinions. The opinions of others.

There’s such a strange power in the others. They dictate so much about your life and how you view yourself because somehow you’ve been taught that what they say or believe matters. You’ve been taught to filter your decisions through the ‘what will people say’ and the ‘what will they think’ filters.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. There needs to be some consideration of others; but it’s not in the way we normally do it. We ought to care about the needs of others; not the opinions. It doesn’t mean you don’t respect the opinions of others. It means you do not allow yourself to determine your self-worth, destiny, or purpose based on the limited perspective of other people.

An opinion is just that: a limited perspective. Opinions are not truth. Your opinion is not truth. My opinion is not the truth. While you may have considered facts to form your opinion, it is not inherently truth.

One of the most unhealthy relationships we could ever get in is a relationship with the opinions of others. Some of us are married to their opinions. We’d do anything to have them favor us. We don’t make a move without first asking if it’s okay. We’re ‘one’ with them.

I’ll tell you like my pastor, Marcus Howard, tells us all the time: You’ve got to divorce yourself from the opinions of others.

With divorce, there is always tremendous pain; even if you don’t feel it right away. So, it will hurt; but it’s necessary. To divorce yourself from the opinions of others is to no longer give them “legal” right to speak into you.

Now, don’t confuse opinions and advice with each other. We all ought to have someone in our lives that gives advice and provides accountability. However, we have to be sure this person gives unbiased advice that propels us toward our purpose.

We need people in our lives that will give us advice they may not even agree with because if it’s what’s best for us. Furthermore, we need to be people that give the advice that’s best for someone even if it’s not our preference.

So, there is a time and place for someone to give advice. However, we must learn to discern and decipher what is purposeful advice or empty opinions. 

Opinions are empty. They’re empty because there isn’t true life in them; because they aren’t based in truth. Most of the time our opinions are based in pride, fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, indifference, apathy, rebellion, etc. None of those things are life-giving realities.

While there may be things that are ‘true’ about a person’s opinion, no human’s opinion is in and of itself the truth. It just isn’t. It doesn’t matter how right we think we are, our opinion is not truth. The Bible says, “there’s a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Every human believes he or she is right. Oftentimes, it is the thing that comes most naturally to us. I know it is for me.

For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be an intelligent person. Others have concurred thus far. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’m far less concerned with viewing myself as intelligent or others seeing me that way, and more concerned about being humble regardless of what I do or do not know.

Still, most of the time, I think I’m right! I do. It’s really unfortunate. I’ve recognized this trait in myself and how naturally and instinctively it shows up in my more intimate relationships. I’d like to naturally and easily consider other people’s thoughts as valid; but I’m not entirely there yet. I’m better now than I was before; but I’ve got a long way to go.

As the verse said, “there’s a way that seems right.” The reason it seems right is because we’re looking with the wrong “eyes.” If we’d look at every situation and person the way God does, then we’d KNOW what’s right.

Funnily enough though, the way God views things is oftentimes beyond what we can fathom as humans. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

The reason we don’t see certain things the way God sees them is because we’re thinking ‘too low.’ This is the very definition of a human opinion. It’s a low thought. It’s a compromised thought. It’s a thought from dimly lit vision. It’s blind.

I heard Pastor Touré Roberts say it like this, “think the highest thought.” God’s thoughts are truth and the highest thoughts. It would behoove us to learn what God’s thoughts are and align ours with His. If we knew what God thought about us, we’d never need the opinion of another to validate us ever.

Paul writes to the church at Galatia, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

We ought to stop trying to win the approval of others when we come into relationship with Christ. There is no greater freedom that the freedom from others and yourself. You don’t have to be affected by your own opinions any more than you do the opinions of others.

Be free! Let God show you who you truly are.

There is but one opinion that matters–God’s. What does God think of you? Check these out:

John 3:16

Romans 5:8

Romans 6:23

Psalm 36:7

Psalm 86:15

Romans 8:37-39

 

Happy reading!

I hope this encouraged you!

The Danger of Comparison Pt. 2

The Danger of Comparison Pt. 2

In part 1, we dove into the reason humans feel the need to compare themselves to others. Read part 1 here. It’ll help this post make more sense.

One thing we learned in part 1 is that comparison is not bad in and of itself. Humans were originally meant to be compared to, or better yet, likened to God Himself. We were created of the same nature and comparably took after attributes of God Himself.

So, from the beginning, we were reflecting Someone. When sin entered, it distorted everything. We began to use other standards to measure ourselves against instead of God Himself. We exchanged the truth for a lie.

Every time we examine who we are in comparison to someone else, we are exchanging truth for a lie. Pastor Marcus Howard, in his training ‘Detox,’ said, “Be careful of comparing yourself to others because the bar is too low. If you’re going to compare yourself to anyone else, compare yourself to Christ.” 

Think of someone you would consider to be a good person. They may do nice things all the time and they don’t do the things you think are wrong. Even this person, is not worthy to be used as the standard by which we all should live. They may be a good example, but they are not the Truth Itself. 

Christ is the ONLY Truth. Everything outside of Him is a lie. It is a distortion of what is true.

This does not mean you treat those who don’t strongly believe in Christ as less than. Absolutely not! This does not mean you enforce your beliefs on them. Share them with boldness, truth, and most importantly love. Without love, there is no truth. Without truth, there is no love.

This is where the issue lies. Comparison is an assault on love. Comparison is an assault on truth. The conclusions we usually draw from our comparisons are not true and are rooted in ideas that are contrary to God (Love).

For example, if I compare myself to someone and come out thinking, “I’m better than them,” I’m wrong. This would be rooted in pride and indicative of a lack of identity. I don’t need to be better than anyone when I know I’m loved by God.

If I compare myself to others and believe, “I’m less than them,” this is also false! This is rooted in insecurity, self-doubt, and indicates a lack of identity. I can’t believe I’m less than anyone because the love of God embraces and empowers me.

When Love (God) is revealed and realized in someone, there is no need to search for the approval of others. God doesn’t just set you free so you can live a morally good life. God sets you free from you and the opinions of others. To realize I am loved by God allows me to be certain of who I am in the midst of any crowd or environment.

When I lose sight of God’s love for me, I begin to try to work for His approval and the approval of others. I try to prove that I’m ‘worth it,’ that I belong, and that I’m enough. I try to justify my wrongs because I’ve removed myself from the covering of the grace of God. God’s grace covers what we were and will never be able to cover. When I remove (or try to) myself from this covering, I use my own system and measurements to prove I’m good enough. I do this because I no longer trust God to do it for me.

The thing is, we can never gain God’s approval on our own. God took care of that through Christ. We can’t do it on our own. Our system of what is right, wrong, enough, or insufficient pales in comparison to God’s. The ideas or acts that don’t seem that bad to us are a distortion of what God originally intended and God doesn’t approve of them. Essentially, our systems are faulty.

Comparison takes you out of the security of who God knows you to be and causes you to act according to who you have deceived yourself into thinking you are.

Comparison is an enemy to love. God is Love (1 John 4:7-21). In the Bible, we find several stories of how God responded to His enemies and the enemies of His people. God does not leave them standing.

So, today, I’m choosing to allow God to kill comparison, doubt, and insecurity in me. I can be sure of me because He loves me. I don’t have to doubt the love of God because God doesn’t change. God doesn’t lie. God didn’t make a mistake when He made me. Therefore, I don’t have to find assurance in anything or anyone else. 

I didn’t write this because this is an area I’ve mastered. I wrote this because it’s been a problem area for me as of late. So, I hope it encouraged you!

I pray you find the strengthen and courage to stand against comparison and accept the Love of God for yourself!

 

The Danger of Comparison

The Danger of Comparison

You don’t even think about it. You walk into a room; it happens. You scroll on Instagram; it happens. You go to the mall; it happens. You enjoy a family holiday; it happens. You breathe; it happens. As much as you may tell yourself, it’s not just you. We all do it; whether or not we’d like to admit it. What is this thing we all do? Drumroll, please!

Compare.

We compare ourselves to anyone and everyone. Comparison is almost as first-nature as breathing. We don’t even have to think about it.

It’s not anything new. It is natural for humans to desire approval from other humans. Therefore, we examine what is ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ and we model ourselves after this.

It’s interesting though. In a culture in which this idea of ‘living your own truth’ is so prevalent, comparison is still so high. We encourage people to be unique and individualistic no matter the consequences. Still, people find themselves comparing themselves to others.

What makes us do this?

Well, there is an inner moral system within every human which governs their ideas about the world and the decisions they make. Some call it our ‘conscience.’ C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, supposes there is a sort of universal law. This universal law is a preset standard against which all humans examine human behavior.

We have evidence of this in our natural inclination toward saying things like, ‘He shouldn’t have done that,’ or ‘that’s not fair.’ There is this natural belief that there is a specific way to behave even if there is no law or rule to indicate this. These thoughts often come from a natural preference.

While our culture or religious beliefs may largely influence these ideas, there is evidence that this natural inclination toward an invisible universal law exists beyond these contexts. In other words, your religious beliefs or culture upbringing are not the exclusive influences on what you deem right or wrong. Moving on.

The existence of a universal law in and of itself does not explain why we compare ourselves to others. Let’s look deeper. Let’s go back to the beginning.

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, provides an account of the creation story in which God created what we see and what we don’t see (Genesis 1:1). You can follow the beautiful story from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 which goes into greater detail.

Chapter 3 records the story popularly titled as ‘The Fall.’ It’s the story of how man went from having this perfect intimate relationship with God to running away in shame due to their sin. Prior to the fall, we discover this beautiful relationship between God and humans. God gave humans dominion (authority and ownership) over the earth. God blessed them and all was well.

Unfortunately, the fall distorted everything. Where wholeness and perfection once rested, brokenness entered. We began to seek our own which is always less than what God has and had given.

Before, our image and identity was found in God. After, our identity was being shifted and conformed to other broken images. We gave up the image of God and elevated created things rather than the Creator.

We think that when we compare ourselves to others, we’re just trying to dress like them, talk like them, or have friends like they have. There’s so much more to comparison than that.

Comparison is a thief of joy.

Comparison is a thief of identity.

Comparison kills.

Comparison works against the intimate process we find ourselves in.

The Bible says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).

This reveals that God is trying to shape us to look like His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) the Christ. We are to look so much like Him because we are of the same lineage; “firstborn among many brothers and sister.”

You don’t usually know what comparison is robbing you of in the moment; but rest assured, the loss is great.

It will never truly benefit you to measure or compare yourself to others. They’re broken also. God is still conforming and shaping them to look like His Son. Why compare yourself to an unfinished product who’s comparing themselves to another unfinished product?

Make sure your foundation is built on and rooted in Christ. Anything else will fail. Christianity will fail. Religion will fail. Looks will fail. Riches will fail. Relationships fail.

Only the WORD of God will last forever.

 

 

*I do not own (or the rights to) the featured image.*

Friends: How Many Of Us Have Them?

Friends: How Many Of Us Have Them?

In a world where being friends with someone is as easy as a click, the definition of friendship is shifting.

Social media has ‘virtualized’ relationships. We no longer have to be as present or focused in friendships as we had been. Nevertheless, this is not a social media bash post.

Social media isn’t the only thing influencing how we define friendship. Oftentimes, the first place we look for some sort of guidance in our friendships is our parents or guardians. The way your parents engaged in friendships heavily influences how you engage in friendships.

Whether they offered blatant advice or not, you picked up behaviors, cues, and ideas about how you would participate in your friendships.

Personally, I believe we use the word ‘friend’ a little too loosely. Everyone is not your friend. Everyone ought not have the kind of access you give a friend.

A friend knows the good, bad, and ugly and sticks around out of choice, not obligation. A friend makes a commitment of sorts to ‘do life’ with you. A friend corrects you.

The Bible says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Friendship is so important. The friends you choose will affect your life in a tangible way. Friends will either encourage you towards purpose or propel you towards ruin.

You’ve heard the phrase. ‘Blood is thicker than water.’ This speaks of the loyalty within family. However, the Bible challenges this notion. This is why it’s so important to be mindful of how you choose your friends.

A friend is the family you choose.

Now, this isn’t only about knowing who’s best for you but knowing whether you’re good for someone else. Sometimes, we’re not the person that someone needs to support and sharpen them. We must have discernment to know when it’s time to leave a friendship or whether to start one in the first place.

Friendships ought to make you better, hold you accountable, be enjoyable, and push you towards purpose. Not everyone is built to do that in your life. You’re not built to do that for everyone. You can ‘act’ as a friend in a moment to a stranger or acquaintance; but true friendship requires commitment and sacrifice.

 

I Just Can’t See It

I Just Can’t See It

One of the most clever tricks the enemy (Satan) plays on us is encouraging a system of belief built on sight. It’s quite dangerous to do everything based on what you can see. If you make decisions based on what you can see, you’ll almost always choose incorrectly. When we make decisions based on what we can see, we choose selfishly. We make decisions whose benefits don’t have longevity. 

Our belief system cannot be built on sight. This is not a sustainable culture and it is not the culture of the kingdom.

The ‘kingdom of heaven’ I’m referring to is not a physical place. The kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of God. It is God’s authority in any place. “But seek first the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 6:33).

Like any kingdom or government, the kingdom of heaven has a culture. Faith is a part of that culture. Faith is believing in what you cannot see. “Now faith, is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the thing.  This means your faith is evidence that what you do not see is real.

Faith isn’t faith if there is sight. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). If there’s sight, then it’s belief. (I’m not going to get into that. If you’d like to learn more about faith and belief and the difference thereof, read this awesome book, “Believe You Can” by Pastor Marcus Howard.)

Faith does not require sight. Therefore, it allows you to believe and manifest what is not seen. It allows you to believe for things unselfishly. For sight chooses for now. Faith chooses for the future.

Now, here’s the thing. Sure, we could believe for just any old thing and it would come about. However, it’s important to seek God about what to believe. Sometimes, we’ll believe God for something we don’t really need or isn’t His best for us. He’ll give it to us so that we would know that it wasn’t what He had for us.

Don’t simply desire the thing you think you want. Seek the kingdom of heaven so that you’d know what you should want.

This will cause your heart to be aligned to desire the things God already desires to see in your life and the lives of those around you. A belief system built on sight can only desire based on what they think is right.

Due to the growth happening in my life right now, there are some things up in the air that cause me to doubt everything. However, oddly, when my thoughts are quieted, I find that I truly believe that a resolution will come. I believe clarity will come. Even though I just can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

So, have faith. Eventually, it will all make sense.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

To Be Honest…

To Be Honest…

To be honest, I don’t have some extremely enlightening thing to say tonight. This week has been incredibly difficult as I’ve strived to reach goals I’ve set for myself or standards I’m expecting myself to maintain.

This week, I encountered a lot of stumbling blocks in my thinking that are keeping me from moving forward into what I know is for me.

In this season in my life, I’m being stretched in every area of my life. Even in the areas in which there isn’t a great demand, there is demand nonetheless.

I want to be better than I was yesterday and today, because who I want to be tomorrow is going to require something different from me.

This has been a season of immense growth for me. The growth hasn’t always shown up through intense trials. Sometimes, it’s been learning how to receive good things or opportunities.

It’s been a process. In this process, I’ve not always been able to see the end from the beginning. I’m currently living in a state of existence in which there is no resolve.

In other words, I don’t always receive answers for my questions. I don’t always know if something worthwhile will come of my efforts. I don’t always feel heard. I don’t always feel valued. I don’t always feel secure. I’m not always sure.

However, I believe this process in which I find myself is a step in the right direction. It’s a part of a maturation process. I’m not allowing myself to suppress tough questions about which I was once sure or unspeakable flaws I discover in myself.

There is still something in me that’s holding on to Philippians 1:6; “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.”

So, to be honest, I’d rather be honest. Everything I write about on this blog, I am challenged first to believe or grapple with. Before it is ever posted, I have to confront wrong thinking or hindrances in my life. I’m realizing that in order to grow, I must first be honest and transparent about where I find myself.

May you have the courage to do the same.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

 

God, But I Got Questions…

God, But I Got Questions…

“Because I said so.”

This phrase must be in every parent’s handbook that they say doesn’t come with having a child (mhmm). Parents always say having a child doesn’t come with a handbook! Then why are all of y’all using the same phrase?! Hmm? How Sway? How?! I got questions.

Many parents have this comeback on lock (see urban dictionary) if their child asks a question they don’t want to answer for a number of reasons. It’s supposed to be the end-all, be-all. You aren’t supposed to ask any more questions. Otherwise, you risk being seen as disrespectful or rebellious.

Unfortunately, this is how many of us have believed God deals with us.

I can’t speak for everyone. However, many of us have not experienced an environment in which our doubts, fears, or insecurities are welcomed to be expressed; especially our about God.

We’re judged (by others or ourselves) for having questions. We’re afraid that having doubts about God proves something is wrong with us or God is angry with us; when actually, having doubts proves you’re human. This does not mean we intentionally live in our doubt, but we need to be honest about them.

Thankfully, when I was growing up, I had a safe place in which to express my doubts and converse about them without judgement. My various youth pastors all played a major role in encouraging me to engage the Bible and supposed truths about God. If you’re a believer (minister or not), be a safe place for people to express their questions and doubts. Listening to them does not mean you agree with them. There’s nothing quite like knowing you’re being listened to that makes you feel (and know) like you matter. Don’t be so focused on making them believe what they’re doubting that you forget to help them feel heard.

Sometimes, many of us are nervous to listen to a person express their doubts about God because we’re afraid we won’t have answers. Can I help you real quick? It’s okay if you don’t know everything. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” or “I’ve wondered that too. Let me think and pray about that.” or “I don’t know.” It doesn’t make you any less holy or saved for not knowing exactly what to say. In fact, it may be an opportunity for you to receive some understanding about questions you’ve had or currently have.

One reason many of us are afraid to have doubts is because we think God will be angry. However, God’s response to our doubts is never what we think it will be. God’s response to any of our fear or doubt is not anger, but grace. It’s love. It’s understanding. Psalm 103:2, 8, 10, 13-14 says,

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits; The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities. As a Father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear (revere) Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

The reason God responds with love is because He is always aware of the fact that “we are dust.” In other words, God knows you’re human. God can respond with grace and love because He IS love. (1 John 4:7-21)

Love (God) isn’t waiting for you to be perfect or have it all together to love you. He loves you fully knowing your mess ups, your doubts, fears, and questions. This leads me to my next point.

You cannot disappoint God. Sometimes, we feel like we’ve disappointed God because we’ve been walking with God for so long but still have questions from time to time. Listen. You can’t disappoint someone who knows what to expect from you at any and all moments. So, not only do your questions not come as a surprise, but God already has the answer prepared for you specifically.

As someone who has a history of doubting, questioning, and debating the reality of God; I have some executive level experience.

I remember when I came to the realization, “I don’t have to believe in God.” It’s a choice. This was so pivotal because it started me on a journey to owning my faith not because “so-and-so said so,” but because I believed. I don’t mean you shouldn’t believe in God; I’m saying I realized for the first time, it was my choice whether or not I would believe. God prepared an answer that resolved my conflicted heart. It didn’t happen right away; but God was faithful to answer the specific question(s) in my heart which caused me to believe again.

If I’m honest, I still deal with questions and what ifs. Now, I’m not afraid to admit I have my doubts. Even if the doubt isn’t resolved right away, it’s liberating to identify it. Additionally, having dealt with these questions and frustrations has put me in the position to have transforming conversations with believers and unbelievers. For this, I’m grateful. It has also revealed more of the nature and character of God to me.

Furthermore, you can’t truly seek God without questions. “Who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” are all valid questions in pursuing God. “‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

When you begin searching for something, you ask a variety of questions that help you get closer to finding what you’re looking for. It’s the same with God. So don’t be discouraged by your doubting. Ask the questions. God will answer.

Be honest. Be transparent. God will meet you where you’re at.

 

When Pain Is Your Mistress

When Pain Is Your Mistress

I don’t always know how to be happy and I’d hazard a guess that I’m not the only one.

Happiness is one of the most elusive concepts humans pursue. Most of the time, we’re mistaken about what will actually make us happy. We get it and are abysmally disappointed. More money, a relationship, new job, influence, power, etc., are just a few things we often believe will bring us happiness. (Mo’ money, mo’ problems).

Interestingly enough, we don’t have to desire things that are inherently bad in order to be disappointed once we get them. The reality is, nothing on this earth could ever or will ever satisfy the longing for fulfillment. Only God can. Some things seem to get really close, but fall short every single time. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t desire things, relationships, money, or influence. Instead, we must remember that in all things, we must ask, ‘why do I want what I want?’

Many of us have no trouble desiring things. For some of us, however, desiring anything good is an arduous task. Life experiences and disappointments have taught us not to expect anything good or for it to last very long. Our inner system of belief begins to tell us, ‘don’t get too attached,’ or ‘don’t get your hopes up.’ These thoughts come when your belief system is being run by doubt and fear.

Pastor Marcus Howard says, “Fear is not an emotion. It is the absence of emotion; because you don’t know what to expect, you fear. Fear is a toxin eating up the core of your belief.” I’ve heard him expound further saying, “fear comes because of a lack of expectation.”  

Our life experiences teach us what to expect or what not to expect. Painful experiences teach us it’s not worth hoping for something better. Sometimes, we become so familiar with our pain, that we forget how to be happy. We forget to receive the joy that’s been given to us through Christ.

Let’s talk about joy and happiness. If you ask a random person, they’ll tell you that joy and happiness are one in the same. I understand from where we get this idea. However, let’s look at Scripture for a second. Many of the verses that mention joy speak of it in spite of something.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).

We don’t experience joy because things are going well. We experiencing joy whether or not things are going well. Happiness is different. Happiness requires a particular condition. ‘I’m happy because _______.’ This means: if the reason for which I’m happy changes, so does my happiness with it. If I’m happy as long as I’m in a relationship, then the moment I’m single, I cease to be happy.

Joy is different. Joy is an assurance, a steadfastness, being immovable in the knowledge that everything is going to be alright. This kind of joy is only possible through knowledge of the One in whom there is assurance: Christ.

Oddly, joy is more natural than depression, anxiety, worry, doubt, or fear. It’s who God is. When you choose to have relationship with God through Christ, you choose everything that comes with Him. You marry (figuratively and spiritually) yourself to Him and the two of you become one.

Similarly, when you are friends with someone, the two of you begin to share the same vocabulary, ideals, and gestures. When you accept Christ, you begin to share in who He is.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).  What is Christ’s is ours. (What’s mine is yours. What’s your is mine. Marriage.)

Joy is a result of that relationship. Peace is a result of that relationship. Patience is a product of that relationship. Galatians 5:22 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

Christ teaches that we will go through difficult times (John 16:33). Don’t marry yourself to your pain. It’s not a healthy relationship. It doesn’t serve you the way a husband and wife serve each other in marriage. It only weighs you down. Nevertheless, realize you will experience pain, but remember what the outcome ought to be. It’s there to perfect your faith.

For further study: 2 Timothy 1:7, John 16:33, Romans 8

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

*I do not own the rights to or the featured photo. I made small edits for the sake of the post.*

What Would Christians Do? Pt. 2

What Would Christians Do? Pt. 2

If you’re even remotely familiar with Christianity, you may have heard the phrase W.W.J.D. What Would Jesus Do? In part 1, we explored the origins of this phrase and the implications of it. Is it more than a phrase or is it a personal conviction? The answer? It depends on the person.

We may not find this specific phrase in the Bible; but we do find various verses that encourage us to live like Christ and as an example (Ephesians 5:1-17, 1 John 4:7-21, Acts 1:8, John 14:12, 1 Timothy 4:12).

Oftentimes, in the process of living like Christ, we equate Christianity with Christ. Our hearts begin to believe ‘Christianity is the Way’ instead of ‘Yeshua (Jesus) is the Way.’ There is a difference in believing ‘Christianity is the Way’ as opposed to ‘Yeshua is the Way.’

If we pour all of our energy into following after Christianity, we’re no different than the Pharisees. Oftentimes, Christians demonize Pharisees as these historical enemies of Christ. The heart of the Pharisees is not specific to the Jewish culture or the time period in which Yeshua walked the earth. Many times, we are the Pharisees. We don’t want to believe that because we’re upholding what we believe Christ has required us to uphold. Isn’t that the same issue the Pharisees had? They were more concerned with upholding traditions and ideals, that they missed the more important truth and gift presented to them: Yeshua Christ, the Messiah.

There is no one expression or way to live like a Pharisee. (Disclaimer: Pharisees were not innately bad. They were leaders in Jewish culture and the temple. I’m specifically referring to their mindset and lack of precedence on what was most important.) For to live like a Pharisee, we would seek to justify ourselves because of the expectations and rituals we maintain.

For some of us, it’s our service to our church, our ability to pray, or memorizing Scripture. For others, it’s all the ‘bad’ things we don’t do. For many, it’s all of the ‘good’ things we do. There is no ‘amount’ of bad that you can do to keep you from being accepted by God. There is no ‘amount’ of good that you can do to cause you to be accepted by God.

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re a good person. Good is relative in our eyes. Good is holy in God’s. We don’t come close to God’s standard on our own. Your attempt at doing “enough” good stuff is empty religion.All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There will never be enough on your own. That’s the equivalent of believing ‘Christianity is the Way.’ ‘If I’d just attend church service every week,’ ‘if I’d just not do this,’ or ‘if I’d just read my Bible enough’ or ‘if I’m seen as a Christian by other people,’ are all traps.

It’s the trap of self-sufficiency. It’s when we move from ‘Yeshua is the Way’ to ‘I can provide my own way.’ This proves to us, more than anything else, that we don’t really understand what Christ did before, during, and after the Cross. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14).

This means: there is and never will be a way in which we can save ourselves.  Only Christ can. Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way opened for us.. let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (Hebrews 10: 19, 20a, 22).

Your religion will not save you. The rituals you participate in will not save you. The traditions you uphold will not save you. They were never given the power to do that. “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship (Hebrews 10:1).”

We don’t truly know how much power and freedom we strip from our lives when we try to live as our own savior. 

When Christ died, He didn’t just die for the Christian. He died for the world (John 3:15-17). He died for those who wouldn’t even accept Him. While they may never receive the beautiful gift of salvation because they never accepted it, the gift of salvation is for anyone who would believe (Romans 1:16; John 3:16).

So, let your salvation be found in Christ, not in yourself. For you can’t bear the weight of salvation on your shoulders. Christ already did.

I wasn’t planning on going this direction with this post, but I felt led by the Holy Spirit and was given revelation as I wrote. So, I hope this truly blesses and challenges you to rest in the grace and salvation provided through Christ, not your ‘Christianity.’

To further understand some of the ideas I alluded to in this post, check out two previous posts. I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1 and I’m Not a Christian Pt. 2. It may offend you, but may be exactly what you need to hear.

Let me know what you think and how this blog is impacting you personally! Like, comment, share, or email me. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

*The featured photo belongs to http://www.mercworks.net. I do not own the rights to or the photo itself.*

 

 

The Illusion of ‘Prince Charming’

The Illusion of ‘Prince Charming’

A little too often, I read these posts about the perfect man you’ll end up with. I wince as I read them. Granted, I applaud anyone who takes on the challenge of writing their thoughts and opinions in an orderly way so that others may benefit.

However, I think some of these posts are misleading. At least they can be. A lot of them start off describing how bad the previous guy was; how he mistreated you, how he didn’t appreciate you.

The majority of the time, they don’t say anything about how you both were not in the condition to be in a healthy mutually beneficial relationship. It’s usually all his fault. We paint this very extreme picture. While that may be true for someone, it isn’t everyone’s story. Then, in stark contrast, we begin to describe what we call Prince Charming.

Prince Charming is perfect. Prince Charming will never make you feel bad about yourself. Prince Charming will never make you sad. Prince Charming is a tall drink of water. Prince Charming worships the ground you walk on. Prince Charming will never hurt you. Prince Charming will always be there for you and support everything you desire to do. Prince Charming will never leave nor forsake you.

To function in a mutually beneficial relationship you should experience some of those things to some extent. Prince Charming, the guy you end up with, should support you. He should be patient, kind, generous, and compassionate. However, Prince Charming is not meant to worship you or complete you. He’s meant to complement you. The problem is many of us women are looking for a man to make an idol of us. We’ve confused needing to be loved with needing to be worshiped. We don’t understand the kind of detriment we cause when we shift the object of a man’s worship from God to us.

To desire a man who is good to you is not inherently wrong ladies. There’s nothing wrong with Prince Charming; but he usually requires a damsel in distress. The whole premise on which Prince Charming is built is faulty. The only means by which the princess lives happily ever after is for Prince Charming to intervene.

Ladies, if you have a man in your life who seems to be Prince Charming, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What sort of process am I in and in what kind of season do I find myself?
  2. Would I be better off allowing him to “intervene?”
  3. Do I expect him to rescue me from loneliness, embarrassment, or hurt?
  4. Have I taken adequate quality time to deal with my brokenness?
  5. Who has God said that I am?

God is doing a work in your life young lady. God will be certain it is brought to completion (Philippians 1:6). Don’t allow something good to mess up the God-thing God is doing in your life.

 

Happy reading!

Over and out.