Wow, it's been a while since I've written a blog. I almost forgot the password to the login site to edit this. Then I just thought of N'sync and remembered my password!! Anyway, I'm really not sure how to start this blog. I'm sure there are a lot of blogs that start with "I'm not sure how to start this..." which makes you wonder, "why do those people have blogs if they don't know how to write them?" Well I know I'm falling into that category, but at the same time if I were trying to be original I wouldn't have a blog.
So as you can tell, I'm in a ranting mood today. So I guess stop reading now or you might wanna get that Snuggie out from under your pile of gifts that you never thought you'd use.
Part of the rant that I don't know how to start is about how selfish that I realize I have been with my life. But don't worry, you're not off the hook, because we've been incredibly selfish with our lives as Christians. When I started connecting the dots, it's been sickening almost. Now I know a lot of sermons and blogs talk about how were are selfish at the core, inherently sinners and naturally selfish. And I actually agree with that, which is another discussion. But I think the level of our selfishness has been coming to light a few days ago. As I always do, I'll explain through my own life examples and you just apply them to your own life.
I've been recently getting super busy with my work in the past few months. Which has been great because I do freelance filmmaking and any freelancer would know that to be busy is a blessing because it's hard to find work freelancing, especially in film. But in that business my mind has made my time more important, so I've seen myself getting more impatient with waiting in line or in traffic. It's starting to make sense to me why workaholic business men are stereotypically the ones that are impatient. The more important you view your time the more you get mad went it's getting wasted. Easy enough right? So I've been realizing that in my life and trying to take time out of my day to meditate and pray, take walks or ride my bike, stuff that isn't time efficient by any means. It's been great. So I've been praying God, give me patience. Because I hated when I noticed myself getting mad at traffic, something that I've never ever cared about before. So that's a good prayer right?
Wisdom and understanding are things that I've noticed myself lacking a bit of, because I have been recently out of a really dark night of the soul (another blog for another time), I feel like I have been lacking in wisdom and understanding. When I would talk to people I wouldn't have an answer or I'd lose arguments or just walk away from something that I once felt like I was able to offer some insight on. So I'd pray, God give me wisdom and understanding.
Self-control is a huge one. I'd love to be able to wake-up on time, keep my room super clean, keep a schedule, be better with my money, etc etc. God give me self-control. Peace, let's not forget about peace, I've gone through some heartbreaks here and there, I've had my world flipped upside-down, I've love if God would just give me some peace in these situations. Even love, in my deep time of doubt, the biggest thing I was struggling with was whether or not God loved me. I needed to feel and know that God loved me.
Fruits of the spirit, those are great things to prayer for, right? Sure. But why am I wanting them? For me. For my life. To enhance my life. I've been thinking what's the point of wisdom, understanding, love, peace, patience, kindness and all the other great tools that you need to properly love people and change the world, if you are just doing it so you can sit through traffic better, win arguments or even have an interesting blog? It's all meaningless if it's just for ourselves (though I do thing that when we use them for others it blesses us too).
I tweeted today "How has your belief in God affected your day? How has it affected someone else's?". The people that did answer just talked about how God helped them or made them feel. Totally ignoring the second question. If our belief in God isn't affecting those around us, I really wonder what God we are believing in. We are selfish, but I didn't know we were this selfish, we've made God into a little box, which I knew we struggle with, but I didn't know this box was so small to even fit all the gifts of God, like patience and kindness to just improve our lives.
We are given tools to build a kingdom, but we are just using them for our nice little tool collection behind glass. When do you need the fruits of the spirit more than when you are loving the unloved? When you approach an outcast you are going to need patience to listen to them, kindness to befriend them, love to sit with them, self-control to serve them, understanding to understand them, peace to not feel uncomfortable with them, wisdom to help them, goodness and joy to give them hope that they aren't stuck where they are and they have a God that loves them.
I can't think of a better reason to pray for those fruits, those tools to love. I don't want things I'm not going to use or that I'm going to have up for display, I want practical tools that will build a kingdom, build something bigger than myself.
It's so easy with social media to start seeing more followers and friends and even when you go through your facebook to delete the friends you don't talk to, either way you are maintaining a kingdom that is worthless in comparison. I'm not totally against facebook or anything. But what I'm saying is it's easy to forget that it's supposed to be God's kingdom, not yours.
I don't want to go to church or talk to my Christian friends to only be challenged to have a better life by having more self-control and more patience. Who am I doing this for? Who should I be doing this for?
It's like polishing and waxing a car only to have it sit on display in your garage. Why even work on the engine if you aren't going to use it?
I love that a ton of guys go to the gym all the time just to have a bunch of muscles, but in the end never need them. They don't rock climb, fight wars or lift cars off of babies. I feel like we just keep building up our muscles to just look good or feel better. But in boot camp, they are working out for a purpose, a goal in mind, to train and have muscles for when the time comes.
You lose your secondary language if you don't talk to others. I think it's the same thing. Sure the fruits of the spirit can and will enhance your life, but if you never use them to love others they will rot. What's the point of knowing French if you never talk to French people?*
I really don't think these arms were made for only collecting things for myself but to hug the unloved, these lips aren't just for stupid jokes, but to speak truth and love into someone's life and encourage them, and these ears aren't to just to listen my ipod, but to listen to someone that needs a friend.
Your patience shouldn't be perfected for the sake of perfecting, but so you can love someone perfectly. Every sin in our life is a failure to love God and love people. Therefore 'not sinning' would be really defined as 'loving more' and when we try to stop sinning for the sake of looking better or feeling better about ourselves we've missed the point. We are to stop lying, cheating, slandering, gossiping, etc so we might love God more perfectly and our brothers and sisters as well.
Today, think about how your love from God has outpoured into someone else. Not specifically prosthelytizing, but I mean like showing God's love to someone else beyond holding a door open. I know I've probably wasted the past two years with just a few days where I really dedicated a few hours to someone else.
I want God's love for me to pour out onto people around me. I want my belief that God's love is for the world to show through my daily life.
They will know you are followers of Jesus by your love, not how you tweet, what you wear, the emails you forward or your bumper sticker(s). But by your love.
And thankfully, there is tremendous grace so we can practice this out and I do mean practice, it's a daily practice of failing and trying again.
*My friend knows Korean Sign Language. I find this hilarious, because I've meet a bunch of Koreans in my life, but all of them could hear and speak english.