Life Begins Here
For many times in my life, I don’t want to go through the process. I just want the results. I want the intimacy, not the spending time. I want the faith, I don’t want the desperation. I want healthy boundaries; I don’t want the mistakes to find it. I want the hope, not the falling and standing up. I want the girl, not the challenge. Well, life is about taking the journey to get to your destination. 😀
For some reason the journey gets heavier because of “culture” and “Christian tradition”. At other times, we put it on ourselves. I am a perfectionist, and though I talk about the Grace and Love of God, in practice I am blind and continue to work for God to accept me. There are some practices that hurt our journey by putting heavy rocks onto our already heavy load. Then we burden others by sharing these rocks – useless impossible weights in our bags. No wonder our donkeys are crying. Expecting perfection from other people hurts them and misrepresents God. I guess this is the point where I say: to those who’ve been under me in UST and in Victory, I am sorry for setting God’s standard for you instead of lovingly trusting God to show you.
Now back to the journey. In our journey, there are troublesome challenges that don’t let us rest. It can be drugs, women, porn, overeating (this guys have it good – it has no moral weight), smoking, video games (this guys have it nice too – no moral weight), suicidal tendencies, depression, critical spirit and a lot more – insert the rest. There are some people who have a miraculous instant victory. It is not for us to question why God gives it easy for them. You could ask God. If He gives it, that’s the easy route. Oftentimes, it is a grueling journey of remorse, denial, guilt, condemnation, hope, disillusion then repeat.
If you are like me, I just want victory – I don’t care about the process. Yet, you know what? God wants to journey with me. He wants to journey with you too.
If you are a conservative bible believing Christian, what I will say might be offensive, but it is what God is revealing to me.
Like most people, I am only aware of sin in my lives. And I feel that my perfectionism tries to spiritualize my obedience or failure. If I obey, I’m like a super Christian but when I fall, I feel like Thanos, the super villain. For light mistakes, this can work, but it deprives me of my ability to trust God. I snob/despise the challenge because it was small. Then I’d have to deal with habits like vipers biting onto your heart with strong mind control like a Zerg Overlord. These are deep seated wounds, with a hierarchy of demons pulling you like a puppet because they have control over you. The self-righteous reaction is to judge others or myself to be perfect, right now. When God gives you puny challenges, you don’t need to trust, you can scuttle them away. But that trust is all the more important with dealing with these bigger ones.
When I fall in sin, there is the natural running away from the Father. How fast you run away is the amount of denial there is in your life. And where there is self-deception, there is no self-acceptance. In fact, it is this self-acceptance why the demons in your life keep you in a very low security prison with no guards! Why? You willingly locked yourself in there! Self-acceptance that I am in this prison allows me to see my real situation. Then in faith pronounce the verdict: I can break out of this. This allows the grace of God to flow freely into my life. What a revelation! Seeing how bad the situation is shows me the real perspective: that God is way bigger than this challenge and hope – by God I will be out of this.
“Repentance doesn’t mean cry at the altar – it means change your thinking.” Ryan Valenzuela.
As good and as sincere as this picture is, we thought this was repentance. I thought so. Not anymore
The old ways of doing church is sin-focused: cry your heart out and make yourself feel so bad then only can you break free. If not, then cry some more and cry harder! How cruel. The new way is so reassuring you’d be free in no time – when you fall, say “Oops, I fell Lord”, dust yourself, stand up and keep on walking. Doesn’t that sound like your 3 year old toddler learning how to walk? That’s what you are. 😀
So why is there so much sin-focus and bashing to straighten up, so much so that homosexuals, murderers and prostitutes don’t stand a chance to live a new life and join a church? Because in doctrine we believe we are saved by Jesus but in practice we got to change before are accepted.
After falling down, there is a temptation to put myself down. Here’s a question: “Will you ever lose salvation when you sin/backslide?” That is a challenging question. I really hate the term backslider – it is not in the bible. You know why? Because the bible mentions backslide, forsake, fall – “a wrong action”, not a “wrong person” the backslider. There’s no such thing as a backslider because all of us can have wrong actions depending on intensity but never be a wrong “creation”. Jesus made us perfect. This term exists in church culture to condemn those that Jesus saved by Grace because they want to control the other person to change NOW. What is missing then? We miss to trust that God is Sovereign to change that person’s heart.
Here’s an easier similar question. “Will you lose your sonship if you make a blunder in your life?”
In real life, there will be things you do that your parents will kick you out of the house like, marrying a prostitute, selling your dad’s house, sleeping with your mom or murdering your brother. Well those are all gross and extreme but I’ll tell you what.
In your life it can’t get that extreme. With our earthly fathers, much stuff we feel are big blunders WILL NEVER be cause to LOSE your sonship! Dad will be greatly disappointed. He may kick you out of the house but you are still a son no matter how bad he hates you. Even if you became a criminal and killed 3 people, by law, you will still get an inheritance AS A SON. This is not to encourage people for impunity, but to illustrate how the law is.
Then think again. Our Heavenly Father is perfect. Perfect in Love. Listen now, you will not lose being a son to Him. What could separate you from the Love of God? Sin? It has been totally paid for. Not again to say that we stay in sin. But it’s showing that unless we allow God to come in to the darkest rooms of our lives, we cannot FEEL forgiven, even though we have already been forgiven. Showing the not so clean rooms of our lives takes courage and self-acceptance. God knows about them anyway.
Now the question is: do you believe you are a son? What does it feel to be a son? Or do you have to perform before God can accept you, and then adopt you again? Is your relationship with your earthly father transactional? If you get an honor, you get a reward? That kind of a relationship sucks. Do you know that our Heavenly Father loves you because of YOU even before Jesus came? Yes my friend, He loves you even before. That is the reason He sent Jesus to die on the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross did not change the strength and intensity of that Love. It only illustrates what it always looked like: unconditional, unfettered, extravagant and painful.
In my past, I was motivated to change because of guilt and compassion for Jesus, His pain and sacrifice. Changing so that I could lessen the pain on Jesus on the cross is hard. It also feels like I’m the one rescuing Jesus from more pain, so He can thank me?!? No. He gave freely and reserved nothing for Himself and He is not asking for pity. In fact, all He asks is that I jump in, receive and get drowned in how deep and how powerful His love is.
Back to deep seated hurts, struggle and bad habits. Jesus wasn’t helpless in being crucified. In fact, He chose to stay there like a courageous champion and face the full consequences of our faults. You could see that He was not angry He was crucified for someone else’s mistake; HE loves you deeply and wanted to you to be free. It’s powerful. Knowing this powerful love is reason enough to accept where you are when you have fallen.
When a 3 year old falls down when trying to walk, he doesn’t get a spanking from the Father. Instead he gets love and encouragement – get up! Soon you will be 5 years old – and I will see you run. Get up tiger!!!
After sinning, dust yourself and thank God, His love is unconditional. Being perfect right now is not the only thing that God cares about. God cares to take your hand, even if YOU NEED to stumble everyday so that you find the faith, the hope and the strength to walk. It makes him happy. It’s actually not overcoming the sin that really makes God happy, its relationship with you. YOU make him happy.