Last week was good because I came to better understand the concept of eternal life and its implications with the here and now of my discipleship. After reading the books for theology class and listening intently and curiously to my professor’s lectures, my focus has become fixed on the idea of selflessness in the spiritual sense.
Repentance is the moment of complete surrender. I have been learning, both in my UFNDN and Christian discipleship class, about spiritual disciplines and their benefits. But a recent revelation that I read about is how one cannot attain salvation by disciplines. If you try to attain salvation by disciplines, you will be trying to discipline an unsurrendered self. The result should be trust. “Trust in the lord”, right? We’re called to glorify God in all that we do. I think spiritual disciplines are a means of glorifying God the Father. So, I have recently made an oath to honor every Sunday as the Sabbath, putting aside my normal work routine to focus my heart on God and all He has to say to me that I haven’t been faithfully listening to. But, last week I felt that something was off. I know now that it’s about wiping my sin-filled slate clean. Sin drives us toward self-interest. The avenues you’re going to be drawn to are limited and ultimately end in death. So, what’s the point of making Sunday the Sabbath when I haven’t repented? We’re constantly letting go of one thing and grabbing hold of another. With that, it’s like I’ve fallen over the edge of some cliff. I’ve managed to grab hold of a tree root on the side of this cliff, but I have no way of getting back to the top. But see, God has grabbed my left hand. I feel it. There’s just one last thing. “I need you to let go of the branch.” It has never failed to cure a single patient if only he took his prescription honestly. Take the prescription of the Word of God daily. No Christian is sound who is not scriptural. No Christian is sound who has not repented? Yeah, I guess so. It makes sense. It’s like smoking. Why should children of God cut their life expectancy in half by deliberately taking poison into their systems in smoking? Why try to prove yourself an exception? Why hasten the process of decay by smoking? Repentance literally means turning around. I need to turn a full one hundred and eighty degrees, meaning I have ninety degrees to spin until I am authentically free in Jesus to grow my spiritual roots in the right direction towards Christ.
I’ve felt convicted lately concerning my manifest attitude in life. How is it that non-Christians appear to have it much more together than I do? How is it that he is without Christ yet can smile all day long? Secular people have this idea that being a Christian means being a boring human being. They believe that you can’t be sharp because you’re this constant dull experience, confined to God. You can’t be totally lascivious. If life still is difficult, then this Christian thing must be somewhat messed up. It’s this cosmic killjoy. They don’t understand, though, that before, we were in bondage, and now, we can strive to be authentically human as Jesus was. But, just because the Jesus life is the best life, doesn’t mean it’s the easiest. In fact, by becoming a Christian, I’d say you’re asking for a harder life, not an easier one.
I have these amazing friends that I’ve met at SPU. I’ve learned that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Anyone who thinks they’re too valuable to keep quiet is wrong. Am I able to listen to someone so intently that, at that moment, it feels like they’re the only person that matters? That’s listening. That’s real love. And, one day, all of reality will be like that. We wait for that day. But, even now, we get peeks of that future, and it’s when we feel completely loved and cared for.
I’m beginning to feel the pain of others and make it my own. It’s suffering, but the good kind. Nobody can continue honestly listening to anyone until they have honestly repented to God. Lord, all sin has consequences, and I thank you for saving me from the majority of mine. I ask for your grace even though I am entirely undeserving of it. You answer my prayers in a way that reminds me that I already know the answer to my questions. It’s real love. Amen.