I had the most awesome and challenging conversation a few nights ago that has been replaying repeatedly in my mind, so I’ve been making notes, journaling, writing, and bouncing thoughts via text to a few people that I view as personal trainers in spiritual things. So, sorry if I’m annoying you guys with my texts. But consider it an honor at the same time that I view your view as valuable. Bahahaha. You’re welcome 😉
So seriously, someone asked me if my Pastor was going to offend them. And here is what I answered (in a gentle and honest voice tone)… if he is a good Pastor then yes at some point you will probably be offended. Not because he is an offensive or judgmental person but because he is the messenger of what many people believe to be an offensive message.
You see, the word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword. (Heb 4:12 “For the word of God [is] living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.) And Jesus himself said in Matt 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword… He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me”. If you’ll open a New Living Translation Bible to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and begin to scan the words in red, you will see many challenging, thought-provoking, and possibly equal opportunity offending comments.
But guess what? That’s our spiritual training manual. I mean, when you finally devote yourself to healthy eating, it may tick you off that to really get where you want to be, you have to give up brownies, cookies, and hot fudge sundaes. And you know what, honestly you may not give them up at all. You may cut back in their intake, add exercise to your workout plan, and begin reading health and fitness articles to prepare your mind for the new healthier lifestyle that you are committing to live. But next thing ya know, you see the brownies at the school event and eat 5 of them. What do you do next? Some people just give up the diet all together, some go on a week-long binge, and some dust themselves off quickly, go get on the treadmill, and read a few extra health articles the next day to try to prevent the binge next time. They begin to learn their weaknesses and some have to stay away from brownies from now on knowing they can’t have just one (for me that’s nacho cheese Doritos so now my husband only buys the single serving sizes so I don’t beat myself up haha).
Well, that’s how I view this Christian walk. God is ever so gentle, patient and long-suffering. I increased my reading of spiritual fitness magazines (the new testament in a version I could actually understand) and went to church on Sundays. By no means did I give up everything overnight. I even had a severe nicotine addiction that took years to fully break (yes I hid behind my house and smoked then ran inside and washed my hands and sprayed perfume. Ha. Thank you Joyce Meyer for sharing your closet smoking experiences to empower me to share mine.) But at the same time, I did give up many of the things that I thought I’d never give up (like smoking) because God freed me from the bondage I felt trapped in. And to this day, I still make mistakes or get in my flesh or have a meltdown or act like a selfish 2-year-old (kind of like having a brownie binge during the perfect storm of hormones and sleep deprivation LOL).
It’s just that over time and with God’s grace and help, I sometimes still have the fit but dust myself off quicker. When I have the brownie I no longer have them daily for weeks. I have the one brownie and then go for a jog. I think that’s the self-control aspect. One of the fruits of the spirit that God gives us. (Gal 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those [who are] Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.).
It’s a relationship process. The more you get to know the lover of your soul, the more you take on His characteristics. You know, kind of like your friend that always says “ding dang” and next thing you know you find yourself saying that all the time. It’s like that.
Oh, and because I LOVE giving reading recommendations, let me suggest to you that ALL Christians need a Chronological Bible in a reader friendly format that you begin at the beginning of the New Testament. It’s life changing bible reading that I didn’t stumble upon until a few years ago. It’s a must have.