Saturday, September 22, 2012

The simplicity of faith.

I've been doing some thinking about my past (again). I look back to my past and I notice something--I didn't want to change at all. I insisted that my ideas about being a wolf were entirely true, that I needed to make it happen, and that it would be stupid and hopeless for me to simply accept myself as a human being.

I rejected the idea that I truly needed Jesus in my life, because to me, if I truly gave my life over to God, I would have to change... and by no means was I ready to.

That's the excuse, isn't it? The thing we always say when it comes to a relationship with God--"I'm not ready to give up my ways."

The beautiful thing I also see, and that many Christians see... is that God didn't wait on me. God didn't wait for me to be willing to change before showing his love to me.

As I got older, I chose to accept that God really did love me (around age 15 or so). I started to pay more attention in Church and get involved in youth group discussions. The mystery of God slowly became clearer to me, and it became progressively more visible in spite of the life I was living, and in spite of the fact that I still didn't want to change. I would simply pray every other night that if there was something wrong with the things I was doing, that God would show me. I didn't think about it critically, I didn't read the Bible outside of Church to discover that, because I put such deep stock in the identity I'd created for myself that I was afraid to let it go.

But God never let up. I experienced him more and more, even as my choices worsened... until I was brought to the point where I understood the love of God enough that letting go of the life I lived was not only okay, but desirable.

I didn't logic through it, I didn't dissect my behaviors, I simply was shown that God had better, and that my choices were cutting me off from him... and I didn't want that anymore. I wanted a real relationship with God, and not because I decided to get religious, but because God revealed his love to me within the simple acceptance that he loved me, and that deep down I wanted to know his will, despite how contrary my life was to that.

I make my present problems so lofty and confusing, making it my job to fix myself... but in my past, not only did I not make "fixing myself" a job, I didn't even truly believe there was anything wrong most of the time.

It was all God... and it needs to be all God again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The suicide of unrepentance.

Saul started out humble, but as he gained fame he became arrogant. He started to tweak the commands God gave him to suit his own desires, and eventually, because of his pride, God left him altogether, and drew near to David instead. However, God did not make himself invisible to Saul. Saul knew very well that God was with David and had left him, but he didn't care. He simply wanted to be renowned as a king. He didn't repent of his arrogance, he didn't care to change his ways, and he made empty confessions to seemingly just appease God's anger (and he even stopped doing that after a certain point, and simply paid lip service to God!)

This unrepentant behavior of Saul's progressively ruined him. Even once demonic influences came into play, he looked for other outlets to soothe himself (most notably David and his harp) as opposed to seeing the attacks on him as an opportunity to repent and step back into God's will. He became more and more self-centered, even to the point of attempting repeatedly to kill David in order to restore his fame.

By around chapter 30 or so, Saul kills himself.

Our own unrepentant behavior can seem very subtle. In my case, my behavior involves a long line of lifestyle choices--spending a huge chunk of time online doing nothing but browsing the internet and playing video games. While neither of those things on their own are bad, my heart behind them (especially as of late) has not been good.

I don't even know where to begin with all the implications of Saul's life. You could practically write a book on him (not sure if I just made Bible pun there). The primary point that I want to make however, is that unrepentant behavior is far more hazardous than we may think, no matter how subtle it may seem in small doses... and the cure for it is far simpler than we make it.

When I'm living in unrepentant sin, it seems so complex, as if there were some major math problem I had to solve in order to change my behavior... but friends, it's not complex. Jesus did all the work--all that's left is to repent of our sin and to turn away from the desire to put ourselves above God and our friends. 

That's all that's left.