“Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:10.
I do not want to live a dual life, a life where I am busy doing things on the outside, and then periodically throughout the day feel like I have to ‘turn back’ to God in order to feel His presence. I think that most Christians desire to know the presence of God continually, they understand that relationship with Him is the driving force behind everything they do. There seems to be such a disconnect though with this desire for the presence of God and the reality of what our days really look like. Watchman Nee, in his masterpiece ‘The breaking of the outer man and the release of the Spirit’ argues that the work of a Christian is ultimately futile if the ‘outer man’ has not been broken as he can not properly exercise the ‘inner man’, his spirit.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us, the Bible repeatedly tells us this (1 Cor. 6:9). We, ourselves, are the greatest frustration to the work we want to do for God. The prayer I want to always be praying is that God, in his mercy, breaks, disciplines and changes all those earthly things that are in my mind and fill my emotions. He can then really have his way in my life.
I need to humble myself before God, to pray that His will, not mine be done.
Tags: belief, break, Christian, dual, faith, holy spirit, humble, outer man, presence, relationship, spiritual, Watchman
I discovered recently that the word ‘Christian’ only appears in the Bible on three occasions. It was a term mostly used by people outside of the ‘Christian’ community to define all of these new, radical, Jesus followers that were springing up everywhere.
If I were to ask 20 people what word comes to mind when they hear the word ‘Christian’, then I would probably get 20 quite different responses. It is a term that is not biblically defined and so to some extent we can determine ourselves what it means.
The word that is much more frequently used by Jesus’ followers and the apostles to define their relationship with Jesus is ‘disciple’. But this word is a lot more frightening to start using as it is quite clearly defined – Jesus specifically teaches about what it means to follow and emulate Him.
In future posts I would like to try and elaborate on what it actually means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Categories: Biblical Scriptures
Tags: agnostic, Bible, Christian, disciple, discipleship, faith, follower, God, Jesus, questions, Religion, thinker
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint Jeremiah 31v25.
I have been feeling emotionally and physically drained recently. A few weeks ago I completed a Masters in Education which took me over five years to do, with the last six months proving to be especially grueling.
Reason dictates that in order to restore strength I should now rest. My default position in any case is to watch movies whenever I can and put my feet up. The problem is, it only works up to a point and doesn’t bring back much ‘strength’.
Society is full of books and people who give us step by step plans designed to help us feel rested and strong, whereas the Christian way of life almost seems too easy, as the first thing that God often wants from us is to just spend time with Him, primarily through prayer. The simple act of doing this may be ‘refreshing’ for our souls.
“We do not go into the desert to escape people but to learn how to find them; we do not leave them in order to have nothing more to do with them, but to find out the way to do them the most good. But this is only a secondary end. The one end that includes all others is the love of God.”
Thomas Merton. New Seeds of Contemplation.
I am not very good at any kind of purposeful meditation or contemplation. To spend long periods of time in solitude attempting to be still or ‘look within myself’ feels too hard, too anxiety ridden. I have tried many times but invariably end up surrendering after about three minutes, congratulate myself on a job half done and resolve to try again another time.
For this reason, reading Thomas Merton’s book about contemplation has been very insightful and quite exciting. He accepts that physical solitude and interior silence are important for a contemplative life, but forcefully rejects the idea that we need to ‘go into the desert’ simply because we like or need to be alone. As highlighted in the above quote, for Merton, contemplation is important so that we can learn how we can best be of service to our neighbour, friend, brother, or stranger. I very much like this idea, because I believe in a relational God. I believe that a life is at its most fulfilled when we are fully invested in the lives of others, those who are our natural friends, and those who are suffering.
Tags: belief, Christian, contemplation, faith, invest, look within, meditation, Merton, peace, philosophical, relationship, silence, solitude, suffering
One thing is sure: You are somebody’s disciple. You learned how to live from someone else.
Dallas Willard “The Divine Conspiracy”
Unconsciously or not, one cannot escape recycling the ideas, expressions and old sayings that he heard in the surroundings in which he grew up. As a child, one is inevitably reliant on his parents’ view the world, which will mold and colour his own perception of it, until he starts to hear conflicting views which force him into making shape of the world for himself.
Tragically, however, I would argue that the opinions and ideas that we grow up with are rarely confronted as we get older. Does one stop to think about where he got that certain point of view from? It simply becomes part of who we are, and as one reaches his late twenties and thirties, the clamour of societal and familial needs mean that views that one may have held since his teenage years are simply allowed to go unchallenged.
Following on from this line of thinking, the question in regards to faith is whether it can stand up to being challenged in such a rational way. Can one believe relationally, experientially and intellectually?