I have come to not only love God, but am developing a better understanding of what it means for me to have faith. At some level, it appears the Christian church has made its main issue whether or not you believe first that there even is a God; and second, that belief in the Crucifixion and Resurrection are the fullness of what we must hold by faith. As true as that last statement is, I find a deeper experience of faith in moving beyond that beginning point. I hope you are able to say the same. His Presence and His overt acts of support for me in my daily life are truly vital. I am daily amazed by His love and care.
In 2010, my wife and I heard of/observed two Christian marriages of 25+ years each disintegrate. It is sad for these people and sad for the message that God is love to a hurting world. The reality is that in each marriage something broke down involving faith.
The intent to walk with God is not enough. We each are broken individuals that find strength and wisdom from God to live apart from our brokenness, but we make a mistake to believe anything about ourselves other than of our human, broken state before Him. The intention to be a Christian is not where life is found. Living in Him is where true life is found.
I have thought a lot about the question of what is it we might do that would keep us each on a life-filled path--if He is for us, how can we fail? What is our responsibility in NOT making choices which in the moment do not appear to us damaging to ourselves or our loved ones in the long run? Is it just a statistics game like throwing dice, whether or not we really mess-up our life?
I bring no condemnation, just observation to either of the two marriages I mentioned earlier. What keeps us from outcomes such as this? And I mean more than just the pain of divorce. A lifetime is but a breath in terms of eternity; but nonetheless, hours into a day, weeks into a month, years into a decade is much time and many, many decisive moments with life-changing ramifications.
Here’s something that helps, I think:
Simply put, we are our own enemy. We will act selfishly, if we act naturally from within and for the goal of the ever-present sense of “I am…, I need…, I want.”
Antidote? Engage people in your daily life with the heart-set (not just a mind-set) of putting their needs above your own. This takes on different expression if the other person is your spouse, sibling, sibling in Christ, colleague or a sales clerk; yet it is in this attitude, that we learn what it means to rely on the Presence of God. He is opened to us in our thinking and our feeling by this level of reliance.
He desires to teach us deep meanings and provide us significant insights into spiritual truth, which is absolute truth. In actively dying to self is a constant recalibrating, if you will allow the term, of our perception of the world around us. In scripture we find the renewal of the mind of Romans, chapter 12. It is this renewal, we are constantly made aware of our need to function as something greater than our own brokenness.
It is in this God-ordained renewal, that we gain spiritual sight. It is in the spiritual sight, that we can see what needs to be done and avoided in our relationships. Life will not be reduced to a list of do-good choices that guarantee spiritual success. Spiritual success does not exist.
Spiritual life in Christ is lived or mimicked or abandoned by those who speak of it.