"God brings all things to us..."
After the death of my sister in March of 2019, I slowly came to the realization that the belief in God is far different than having faith in God, and that makes all the difference. Our belief in God is a prerequisite that can be dangerous and carry unfulfilled potential when lacking faith. Our belief doesn't allow for much understanding of His limitless possibilities, while our faith depends on it.
You see, our belief is strongly tied to His teaching and what the bible literally says, and our faith in Him allows for the understanding that He works all things out for our good and the good of others (we don't have to be rigid vigilantes for Christ, but His light). Belief leaves us open to judge and be intolerant of others, while our faith in God allows us to submit to grace, mercy, compassion, and humanity. Our faith overrides our beliefs when our beliefs become too rigid and boxed in for God's liking.
I recently had an in depth conversation with a friend that made me realize a few things:
1. Jesus not only tolerated, but loved, helped and adored us in all our flaws.
2. Jesus never shunned us for our sins or felt the need to separate himself for fear of being tainted or to show his distaste.
3. Above all, we all called to love and not harm.
4. God does not force us into compliance or belief.
Above all, we are called to love and not judge others for their sins. We cannot control what others do, just as they cannot control what we do with our lives. If God held us to the same standard that we hold others to we would all be doomed. But on a deeper level, people that hold others to rigid standards are most often suffering from the same judgement of themselves. Not only does it create false superiority complexes, but It lends to closeted anxiety, depression, unhappiness and sleepless nights. When our religious beliefs begin to chip away at our faith we distance ourselves from our calling and fulfilling relationships with God and His people.
It takes a special kind of faith and belief to trust that God is going to work things out for the good of those who love the Lord (or those He knows will come to love Him). When I read this scripture I see a simple line explaining that He will work things out in His way. His way is not always a way that is familiar and comforting to us nor is it always a way that takes from one to appease another. His way is just that, His way: full of mercy, freedom, grace, and PROTECTION. Being a believer never gives us the right to assume that God will devalue, oppress, or force others into a christian way of life for the comfort of worldly tradition. However, He will guide others with love and care, just as He guides us with our many flaws and emotional expressions.
Just imagine if God came down and persecuted us for every mistake we've made according to the bible? What kind of life would that be? Maybe not even every mistake, but anytime we placed our cares into the world and not Him, put on make-up to cover His creation, looked at ourselves with hate, allowed fear in this world to dictate our actions, placed more emphasis on money and tradition than love and humanity. What if He condemned us for putting more faith in the protection that house alarms give than He does? For paying car and home insurance more consistently than tithing. Let us not even bring up the infestation of sexual immorality, lust, and gluttony that we have all experienced, even in thought. What about that grape you ate while shopping in the mall or extra tax break? God gives us the freedom to choose. How dare we place our simplistic mindsets and selective ignorance onto others by trying to control them for our own comfort and presumed safety? Whether we are marching high with fists in the air in this 'fight' to control and force worldly christianity and traditions on others or we are hiding behind others, we must ask ourselves, is this how Jesus fought? If it is not, then we must put down whatever we use that is not representative of Him and love one another to light. We can plant seeds of light that may later blossom or we can force seeds of hate, that almost instantly blossom.
When God creates in us with a servant's heart, there is always the conviction of doing unto God, even when there are circumstances surrounding the 'doing' that warrant otherwise. You see, when we decide to serve unto God, we relinquish the need to evaluate whether someone, thing, or cause deserves our assistance.
"Thank you God that you have given me a servant's heart because if I did not give unto You, I would only give conditionally."
The word 'give' can be exercised in many capacities. For example, I chose to smile and wave as the driver behind me flipped the middle finger with both hands for letting two cars merge in front of me. These were the same vehicles that she would not allow to merge in front of her. Smiling at the person who never smiles or even speaks to you as you pass is an opportunity to give. Offering to help someone with a responsibility even when they are at fault for not having it completed. Doing right by others (His right not our justification of right). Most often, when doing unto God, others will receive the best of us even when their actions don't warrant it by worldly standards. It's not about a judgement of worthiness, it's about listening to God and acting according to His word and expectation of us. We relinquish the need to put a monetary value on a person, make a determination of worthiness, or judge them, and thus evade performing actions that might make others feel less than. When we are servants we live in God's house, and when others knock they enter with the same nobility that Jesus held.
"To a home, there is no difference of importance or value between the person who laid the foundation and the person who sweeps the floor. One creates a structure and the other creates preservation for the structure." -Frankie Reed-Shaw-
While it may seem cold and detached, and even ingenuine, my good deeds are not done because I am connected to any one individual. They are done because I am connected and pursuing loyalty to Him. For example, while I would love to say that my commitment to my husband is a representation of my loyalty to my husband, it is not. Simply because if I do it unto him, then my loyalty will more than unlikely become conditional. I entered into a union with my husband under God's terms. When there are moments I want to respond with my flesh (arguing, giving up, etc.), I remember the oath I made to God, who is steadfast and never-changing. The same goes to the relationships we form and casual acquaintances. Treat others how God would want us to treat them and how he has treated us: correction, patience, mercy, kindness, and undeserving favor.
"When we do unto God, the doing becomes unconditional." -Frankie Reed-Shaw-
"God is the potter and I am the clay being painfully molded into a beautiful representation of HIm." -Frankie Reed-Shaw-
In this life, if we experience the process of being painfully broken and molded we also gain the opportunity to truly begin to see and accept all that life has to offer us, in all its beauty. As God sloughs away at our fleshly outer layer, we definitely feel the discomfort of being transformed. In attempts to remain in our worldly form we harden, making us less pliable in His process. Although we resist, He is always watering us with His moistened hand awaiting our response.
How do we know when we have become resistant to God's transformative process? Simple, life becomes difficult internally, and often externally, and we begin to seek joy, happiness, acceptance, and fulfillment in the world and our own actions (this may also include religious traditions that lack relationship and focus on the outward appearance of being a 'good' christian).
How do we break the cycle and begin hearing God's voice and becoming softened to his touch? Well that's simple too. Spend more time connecting with Him through prayer, meditation, time alone, and reading His word. Once we connect, we open ourselves up for a greater purpose and to be guided.
It's perfectly fine to feel afraid from time to time, but it's definitely not okay to make decisions based off those fears. Decisions made as a result of fear display little faith in the One we are called to believe works everything out for our good. Fortunately for us, that includes fear-based decision-making.
If you're anything like me, or half the people in this world for that matter, walking on unchartered territory can bring about an uneasy feeling, but choosing to remain complacent and oppressed by that anxiety is not an option. Some people call it taking a risk, while we choose to believe it's the equivalent to the Civil War.... the fight for freedom and liberation from fear that cripples over half of Americans. Ever stop to think why there's a 1%? Probably not solely because they earned it through hard work, but by taking steps leaps of faith outside the realm of acceptability.
"Nothing at the pinnacle of greatness is ever achieved by following the mold of what is already being done." -Frankie Reed-
When making decisions, think about where you are headed and not where you could possibly fall if it doesn't work out. Ask yourself, is this move toward my goals in life?
It's ok to be afraid, but it's not okay to use that fear to support your decision to do or not do something that could make a big impact on your life. As greatness doesn't develop from a mold, it also is not likely to be developed alone. If God has not sent others in to help you just yet, you can always partner with Him to create an awesome duo. Don't be afraid to set aside time with God for clear direction. Ask Him for what you want and wholeheartedly believe that He will answer you.
As I sit here in total disbelief, worry, sadness and gratefulness, I can’t help but wonder if you know how much you are being thought of and missed? I’m in disbelief because we just made plans for us to see one another almost every day, with you staying at my house during the week. I’m in disbelief because, although we pray for safe travels, we never really expect to get the call that ‘there has been an accident’. We are all saddened at the thought of you possibly being in pain and alone; its heart-wrenching for us. If you were awake at any time, during this horrible accident, I hope that you called out to God and was able to find comfort in Him. Initially, I selfishly hoped that you would have tried to reach for your phone to call one of us, but later realized that the only person you needed to reach requires no man-made technology that we seem to feel we can’t live without. We are saddened because there is so much life you had to live, and we are left with the task of piecing everything together, so we can move on and remember you in a way that brings us peace and solace. I am particularly grateful that I had the opportunity to sit and talk with you just hours before and appreciate the relationship we had and hope to still have, even though you are not physically here. I remember leaving dinner with you feeling happy that we had shared a now unforgettable moment of laughter and reminiscing.
The loss of you brings me to the vulnerable state of not knowing and fear that this could actually happen to any one of us. It also brings me to the undeniable realization of knowing that we need to have faith and lean on God now more than ever. As we mourn and remember you, know that you have always been loved, understood, and accepted for who you are and were in our lives.
For this is what the LORD says: …..11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
MyEarlyMorningThoughts: We Must Relentlessly Walk By Faith In A World That Is More Influenced By Sight.Read Now
I am a 35 year old wife and mother of three children. I love all-things creative and writing thought-provoking posts. I began documenting #MyEarlyMorningThoughts about two years ago and have since received many requests to begin blogging and to continue posting about everyday life, growth, maturity, and christian concepts. Don't be shy, feel free to comment your life experiences and wisdom on any post.