A More Excellent Way

ImageRecently I was watching a religious debate on a weekend morning show and I was struck by the words of the atheist being interviewed for the segment. She said that as an atheist she cannot call upon a “Big-Supernatural-Agrees-With-Me-Kind-Of-Person”, but has to rely on her opinions only. While I cannot deny that there are many people who do see and use God in this manner, I was ultimately saddened by her words because I felt that her assessment of the majority of religious people, particularly Christians, was misunderstood. For me personally, as a Christian, God is anything but a “Big-Supernatural-Agrees-With-Me-Kind-Of-Person.”

In all honesty, if I did not believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour I can guarantee you that I would not hold the values, morals and views that I do. In other words, God has made me more like Himself rather than the other way around. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And in Isaiah 55:9 God says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God is anything but an imaginary friend who concurs with individual opinion and judgement, and He is not a “Yes Man” whom we can call upon to agree with us whenever we need Him. Quite the opposite, God calls His followers to live a “more excellent way” (1 Cor 12:31). He calls believers to love (Mt 22:37-40). He calls us to not only love our friends, but our enemies also (Lk 6:27). He calls us to forgive those who hurt us (2 Cor 2:5). He calls us to show compassion, mercy and grace. To have integrity. To be humble. To have patience. To be meek (which means to be humbly patient under the provocation of others). This is the way of life that God calls Christians to and He has given us the perfect example of this life in His son, Jesus Christ. As humans, sinful and proud, it can be a real struggle to love others, especially those who hurt us and it is a real struggle to be forgiving, compassionate, gracious, humble, patient, and meek. Therefore, this call to love, and love unconditionally shows us that God’s ways are truly higher than human ways, His thoughts higher than human thoughts. For me to believe in God is not to have my thoughts, opinions and judgements reinforced, instead it is a constant challenge (and encouragement) to change, to grow, and to become more like Jesus Christ. It is a call to live in a manner that is good, acceptable and pleasing to God.

I am truly sorry that the woman being interviewed the other day felt that religious people were just calling upon an imaginary superpower to give the “tick of approval” to their opinions. As is my experience, to believe in Jesus Christ does not let me get comfortable in my thoughts and opinions, instead it calls me to a more excellent way. 

If there is eve…

If there is ever anyone who at any time has burned with the faithful love for the Word of God; if there is anyone who, as the Prophet says, has received the sweet wound of him who is the “chosen dart”; if there is anyone who has been pierced by the loveable spear of his knowledge, so that he sighs and longs for him day and night, is able to speak of nothing else, wishes to hear of nothing else, can think of nothing else, and is not disposed to desire, seek or hope for anything other than him, then such as soul truly says,”I have been wounded by love.”

-Origen

From the Inside Out

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The other day as I was reading through Paul’s letter to the Romans I was struck by what he says in chapter 12, verse 18 which is, ‘If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.’ Wow! Such a simple sentence but I feel that it contains so much more meaning than what first meets the eye. It has left me wondering, what does living peaceably with all actually look like? 

At first glance there are the obvious things that you would do to ‘live peaceably’ with all, such as treating people with love, patience, kindness, gentleness; those things which are the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). In addition that you would want to come to all people with a compassionate heart, with humility and meekness, bearing with them and forgiving them, just as Paul encourages in his letter to the Colossians (Col 3:12-14). These behaviors are all right and good for us to exercise when relating to other people, but they are all the external out-workings of living peaceably with others. However, as I pondered on all of this I began to ask whether living peaceably with others actually starts from the inside out. Can we truly treat people with compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility and love if internally we do not feel those things towards them? Can we truly live peaceably with others when on the inside angry, jealous or ill-natured thoughts towards them are taking over. I tend to think that it is not possible to do so.

Over the last year I’ve been struggling with the hurt and pain of being deserted by friends who I considered closest to me and at a time I needed them the most. It has been a heartbreaking experience and it has affected our friendships significantly. The thing is, they have no idea that they have hurt me and so the breakdown of our friendships has come from my end only. In not being able to deal with my pain I have withdrawn from them, and at times I have been consumed with angry, unforgiving and wrathful thoughts towards them. Consequently I have not lived peaceably with them, loving them, being patient with them, being compassionate, kind, bearing with them and serving them as they have needed. This has led to a huge internal conflict for me because I know what God asks from me as a believer in Christ, but I have struggled to follow through with it from the inside out.

Recently, in all of this, God has been showing me that He has allowed this feeling of desertion so that I would not rely on my friends for comfort but that I would cling to Him for all that I need. This was just the perspective that I needed. From this I have been able to realize that living peaceably with others actually starts deep within, by virtue of the thoughts of my heart. It is about seeing others as God sees them, recognising that Jesus died for them just as he died for me and that the love God has for me He also bears for them. It is understanding that people are often dealing with their own struggles and therefore don’t have the capacity to give. It is about being willing to be humble, compassionate and forgiving. It is wanting God’s best for others in all things. By seeking (with God’s help) to change the thoughts of our hearts we can truly begin to live peaceably with all, from the inside out.

A heart that wants to soar with Jesus

I recently was given the image of soaring with Jesus and my heart sung with joy as I imagined myself soaring with Jesus, like on the wings of an eagle. For many years my heart’s desire has been that God would use me. My desire is that I would be an ordinary girl doing extraordinary things for God. I am convinced that the God who raised Christ from the dead is moving powerfully in the world today and I desperately want to be a part of what He is doing in the world around me!  

I have kept a journal of all my thoughts, prayers, God-given revelations and lessons for more than ten years now as I’ve found it a helpful way to remember what God has done and is doing in my everyday life. Recently I’ve been thinking that maybe I should share those thoughts and revelations with you, because maybe what God is teaching me in my life will resonate with you and your situation. My prayer is that through the Holy Spirit, the Lord will use me to touch you, encourage you and strengthen you as you need. God Bless.

Me!

Me!

Rose Males. Child of God. Wife. Dog owner. Theological Student. Personal Trainer. Nutritionist. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Aunty. I love reading, hiking, running, fashion, decorating, singing, coffee, movies, tea, chocolate, red wine, paddle boarding and snow boarding.

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An everyday journey with Jesus Christ