Reflective Faith, and Love

What is required of us, as Christians? It’s a thought that has been in my thought process for a little over two months. I know I should think about it more often, honestly we all should ask ourselves daily, What does Christ require of us? The simple answer is Love, and Faith. Thats the basic most simplistic answer I can think of at this time.
As we come into the holiday season(s) go deeper than that though. This is a time where we are compelled to give, either to family members, cousins etc. I’d like us for a moment to look outside of our family, even our church family. Look at the people that you neccessarily don’t associate with. The random person on the street asking for money, the ackward kid in class, the teammate maybe that just rubs you the wrong way. How do we treat those people as Christians.
Then ask yourself, does the faith I profess to have in church reflect the Love I show others? If it doesn’t then Houston we have a problem. Why is this a big deal? It deals with consistancy, being transparent to the “world”. The Love you show others can win their hearts, its a silent testimony for Christ. Secondly, it reinforces the fact to the World, and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that we are “Real”. John Lennon once said “I’ll believe in Christ, when His believers start acting like Him.” Its a tough quote to swallow, but lets ask ourselves this, if our Faith professed, was our Love reflected, would John Lennon have a point?

In Christ.

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The Essence of Love, and the Pursuit of Surrender

Before you begin reading I want you to stop and think for a while, what is the essence of Love? Go ahead give it some time? Love is something we say daily to friends and family. I love you is one of the most commonly used terms in the modern world, yet it is so very old. Yet what is the Essence of Love? For the last twenty seven years of my life I have thought I knew what this was, it was action purely action. In some circles you might be right, Love follows action. In this I believe we are only half right. Love does involve action, but that action must in itself show Love. This is where I was confused, and dumbfounded. I would do things, buy a soda, pay for a movie, and even say the words (more or less a text message in contemporary times) I love you (Enter Name, or Title).

Sadly, as with me, this is the extent of our love in the world today, a text message, or verbalizing those words all too often with some sort of action later. Yet Love requires action, and in those action(s) if it is true love from the heart the words shouldn’t be questioned when said, and shouldn’t be said very often. Love is so much more than this, it is in turn Sacrifice, as Jesus Christ demonstrated. Sacrifice does not sit well in the world of Consumerism today, its not about what I can give up, but what can I gain and in turn Love because a chess piece on the board. Sadly this was my understanding my entire life, I used Love as a chess piece to maneuver, dodge and most of the time to trap, that is until Today.

To truly Love yourself, and others, and to have a wholesome and complete relationship you must pursuit surrender to yourself, God, and those around you and discard what you believe you are owed. In my case it is using this word in a Game Theory construct to justify ends and means. Surrender is the only way, the only way to purify your heart, you body, and mind in order to discover what Love is all about, but also to experience the Love that God has set before us in His Son Jesus Christ.

In my life I have never pursued surrender, because that means ultimately someone else other than me “Won”. In my Naivety, I believed that saying things like, I’m sorry, or apologizing made the others “right”. In doing so I burned many bridges with those around me, but most importantly the Bridge I built with God was slowly crumbling. I didn’t care because I was winning, I was getting what I wanted. In the aftermath of my actions over the past 27 years I began to blend in with the World, the World became part of who I was, and ultimately I forgot how to even love myself, I forgot how to Sacrifice.

In doing so, my friendships, and even the dating relationship with a great woman I had for a year and a half was slowly crumbling. That is when I realized that I had forgotten how to Love. I suddenly was overwhelmed by what this would require of me, it would require a sacrifice that I would have never thought about a year ago, it require me to put off all things, and pursue Surrender so my relationships would be reconstructed in the Image of a truly Christian Man.  Today is day one in my Pursuit of Surrender. God Bless

D.L.

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A Moment of Clarity After Months of Trying To Find Clarification

    Clarification, it is something that we all deem as a need, something to be clarified it drives us to get the most information as possible so that we may understand what we deem feasible. Like a lottery ticket, or a zip code. As a man this has driven me crazy. I say this because it has driven me to be over analytical in my relationships with people, but more importantly Christ. This in turn has set me up for disappointment. I’d spend time wondering what every little thing in my life meant, if it was God speaking to my heart, or guiding me, or asking myself What is the purpose behind X,Y, and Z. A complete tornado of expectation, anxiety….Frustration. For three or four months up until this morning getting clarification controlled me. It lead to a complete depreciation of the man I wanted to be, and had become. This incessant need to KNOW everything led to dire consequences. The consequences of that clarification along with the three mentioned above controlled me. Most of all, I re-remembered to not trust, to be unloving and cynical.

         Other than strangling a relationship that at the core of my being I hold in deep regard, the one I have with my girlfriend, the relationship with Christ became number two. My focus, my passion for finding him, seeing his face was at best lukewarm. Yet I believed I was ok because I wasn’t “Sinning”, like the old Dustin. I wasn’t chasing after girls, cheating on my girlfriend, drinking heavily ect…All for the sake that I had to get clarification for things that have been proven to me ten fold, again and again. I became a worse listener to peoples problems, I was cynical of people at church, and I judged them. 

          Then this morning happened, I argued over such a small small thing, I was arguing because I was blocked on FB for my own good. Yet I was repulsed because I was given no warning, not clarification of why? I shut down. In that moment though it all became clear. My life was backwards, and had been for weeks on end. I had stopped looking for Christ and supplanted that passion and love in a human, a lovely woman mind you, that was all that was important. I had fallen, in to a mad rush of emotion for this young lady, but I lost sight of the one thing that brought us together, Christ. 

     Christ binds us all, its what gives us the passion to go on, the Hope of a new day, and the love that makes our world and the people we know go round. After a long walk, I had piece my problems together, that the clarification I had been seeking in everything was no clarification at all, just a prodding and checking of my own self belief. If I could trust people, and control the environment around me. The distance between me, my gf, and my best friends from Church wasnt the result of my work schedule, but a result of myself being Lukewarm in the face of Christ, a hypocrite. I wasn’t seeking God, I wasn’t living like Christ, and in doing so I was distancing myself from those who had been true to me. These were the reasons for my struggles in open forum, behind closed doors, with my best friends, and with the Love of my life, which I got wrong as well. Jesus is the focus point above all else and in not seeking Him, I was no longer seeking the heart of a fine woman who had been by my side through it all. 

     Yes, I found my clarification….. its in Jesus Christ, and in that I have everything I need.

Forgive me if I have not loved you all with the warmth that comes from knowing Jesus. If I have wronged you all, forgive me, for I cannot forgive myself.

              D.L.

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Continuance

Continuance- The state of remaining in existence or operation. This is something that I have struggled with all of my life as a Christian. It took me the last three days to really know what this word meant and how to apply it to my daily christian life, and in my relationship with not only God, but the people in my life. 

    In Christ

D.L.M.

     The last couple of days, reality has set in that my awesome Girlfriend will be moving, and starting grad school. Thus, I haven’t focus on the good things about this move. First and foremost it is what she wants to do, and I support her. This is what I was saying on the outside and 90% of this was true. Yet the 10% of me, the selfish me was not satisfied. I wanted her to move closer to me, which this move does, but at the same time I didn’t want it to affect our time together. Suddenly I found myself feeling like I was in competition against the one thing we all lose to.. Time.

     So, it began the paranoid selfish whispers. Will she have Time for you? You only have a month left of quality time together, She never makes Time for you! All of these things I was throwing on her. Finally it came to ahead, we talked it out, and I realized where I had fail us in the relationship. I was no longer establishing a Continuance with my Savior. I had prayed that he take these things away from me, Pride, Fear, Selfishness, ect yet I had never followed up on those things. I figured that God would just in one fail swoop take them away, and he does but that doesn’t mean these things are gone forever, it just means you have to continue to work on them.

     Demons, struggles aren’t something God displaces instantly if you don’t continue a courtship with Him, or use God as a 911 service. God takes them away when you depend on Him, and only Him to do so, over Time, in which you will be tested, trails will occur and the Relationships you form with people, and the relationship you have with God will be put on display. This is where I failed, this is where I fell short. I/We as Christians must be ones of Continuance.

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