A Week of Much Reflection

I’ve had a lot going on recently, all good stuff. It seems Jesus is guiding me into a whole new depth of knowing Father. There have been many, many thoughts and nudgings over the past week especially. It’s like a flood of new and astounding beauty has been revealed, and I’m, again, tumbling end over end trying to get my bearings. It’s always amazing that when I start to gain a decent footing of what Jesus has revealed through the Spirit, he then shows me an entirely new and wonderful dimension that I never could have conceived of until my prior understanding had solidified.

Gone but Not
One of the major concepts Jesus keeps pointing out to me repeatedly is—I may have left the religiosity I was indoctrinated into, but I’m still playing the game. I’m still seeking approval from other professed Christians. As long as I can be controlled in this way, then I’m still subjugated to some extent. Note, I believe religion to be a good thing. It’s one of those words I’m striving to reclaim as good though it’s been abused and manipulated to something else entirely. As a recent statement I read intimated—the only religion I’m interested in is one that loves like Jesus. If my religion still has venom and vitriol, I’m not quite there yet. Likewise, if I’m still upholding an “us verses them” mentality, I’m not really following Jesus whether I use his name or not.

Yet, for some time, I was still hoping that I would have been approved of by others. It’s truly awesome how God continues to chisel me out of that mentality.

The Standard
Whatever label is used, it divides us. This goes for atheist, abortionist, democrats, immigrants, tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, etc… I will say, I don’t like abortion. However, I often wonder if a better approach would be, instead of spitting venom, spending that time and energy helping those women that are considering abortion. Our “Christian” society has forced into being much of the very things we protest against. As with abortion, we’ve forced guilt, shame, and condemnation down peoples’ throats. We’ve told them that they’re already sinful for getting pregnant. If they’re already damned by our standards, then why not just do what they have to? After all, we tell them that they don’t deserve our tax dollars. They don’t deserve food stamps. They don’t deserve to leech off the government. They are liable to pay for their “mistake” on their own, alone. We’ll welcome them into our church and give them some leeway of grace, but sooner rather that later, they must subject themselves to our schism or else they’re still just adulterous sinners—and our disapproving gazes will ensure they know it! We talk about the value of human life while at the same time devaluing anyone who won’t conform to our standards as less than human, condemning them to an endless hell.

How easily we throw away their lives by our standards. Is it any wonder why some consider abortion?

Now, yes, there may be those who would have an abortion anyways, but how many more would benefit from our love (that little four-letter word Jesus was trying to teach) instead of our condemnation?

This is just one example. What if we represented the Jesus that loves everyone instead of a Jesus that hates atheist? Perhaps atheist don’t believe in our religion because we don’t live our religion out in a believable way that would inspire others to follow Jesus. Those “others” make easy scapegoats for a religion that we have to sell under threat.

A Chance
One of the beliefs I’ve held myself to recently is this—if I just had the chance to explain how I came to this relationship with Jesus, others would understand and begin to live in that freedom of the Spirit. If others would just listen, they would see my point of view and begin to draw closer to Father.

I was wrong!

Most seem content to uphold the beliefs they’re taught whether they make any sense or not. I’ve been striving, at the Spirit’s guidance, to make sense of scriptures that always contradicted one another. It seems, no matter how well I can explain this to others—no matter how much proof I present—there is never enough to convince others to let go and just live, unburdened, with Jesus. This isn’t an insistence that I have all the answers. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I’m realizing no amount of proof will suffice to those that have convinced themselves otherwise.

It seems we can only walk this life of love with others. In a way, I knew this—or I should say Jesus kept telling me this—but I stubbornly had to try and fail first before I could fully accept it. In turn, this has affirmed that I can only truly rely on the Spirit for guidance and not my own process.

Like with the religious elite during Jesus’ ministry, many will insist that they’re right despite any evidence to the contrary. At that point, I can only hope that seeds of love planted by the Spirit will one day be cultivated. Until then, I can only walk alongside if that is where God wants me.

Continuing
These are just a few of the basic things Jesus has helped me understand better. Now, he’s guiding me into another vast and uncharted space that is blowing my mind and challenging me spiritually in entirely new ways. I’m excited that every plateau is just the beginning of another amazing leg of the journey.

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6 thoughts on “A Week of Much Reflection

  1. Little Monk and I have spoken about each getting here and finding the other has visited first! 🙂
    A distracting aside. Except … intended to convey the eagerness with which I absorb your words. You write something very special. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Lord just showed me this the other day about seeking approval. Who is it that we are trying to seek approval from? Of course, it would be from those that don’t approve of us or we wouldn’t be doing it.. He showed me it is like a woman who’s husband wants nothing to do with her. She loves him and wants him to love her back.. However, there is nothing she can do or say to change his heart. The world will never love us.

    The Bible says, you will know them by their love. We love because that is the way God made our hearts. Some things only God can do. He loves us enough to give us free will and we too have to allow free will.

    It would seem, we all have a bad habit of wanting to be accepted by the world, but then turn around and rejecting the very people Jesus came to save – the sick, hurting, and broken I am finding, I am ready to finally quit wasting time trying to be approved and move on to being used by the Lord touch a hurting world. It’s very freeing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Denine. Jesus’ love, ironically, freed me to do more. Now that I’m not burdened with what I have to do (because others tell me that is what I should do to be approved by them), I’m free to follow Jesus and make a difference. It’s a joy to work with him in this way whereas most of my life it was just a burden that always seemed counter to how his ministry went in the Bible.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amen. That burden I have found makes you want to run from Him instead of to Him it’s too much for anyone. I guess that is what a religious spirit does to us and what makes it so dangerous.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “How easily we throw away their lives by our standards” and “What if we represented the Jesus that loves everyone” are the two keys I think, John. And you are so right; we can only walk out the love of Jesus within relationships. It is how his light of love shines through us.

    We can talk until we’re blue in the face, but our actions and our attitude is where the rubber meets the road. (Okay, enough cliches.) It’s in the representation, in the being more righteous than the Pharisees that we shine that light. We must show, not tell; be compassionate and welcoming in our hearts rather than accusing and exclusionary.

    God loved us first. And you’re right; we need to do the same.

    Great talking with you, btw. Looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

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