sometimes i wonder what it is about religion that makes people feel like they need to “arrive”? buddhists strive for enlightenment. hindus strive for self-actualization. christians strive for holiness.
the thing is… christians NEVER arrive. ever. not until they are glorified by the very presence of God in heaven. and the others finally “end” their soul’s life when they ARRIVE at nirvana or enlightenment or self-actualization. and all of these things are based on what the PERSON does. christianity is all about what GOD does IN us.
as humans, we are innately and naturally concerned with ourselves. our self-interest. our self-preservation. our self-esteem. our self-whatever. it’s about me. i’m not saying that all these things are bad or even that a little of each of them is bad. i think it’s important to take care of yourself to survive.
but what about beyond that?
what if it’s something that doesn’t DIRECTLY harm someone else? or so you think.
what if it’s an action that NOBODY sees you do? and nobody KNOWS about it?
i think that buddhists and hindus are kind of on the right track with their views and faith. they perceive themselves as continually walking a journey of betterment and concern for others. there’s a lot of good stuff in there. but what does it do? it makes YOU a better person. no one else. and what is the REASON for doing it? because it’s the right thing to do? for recognition? why?
what if i want to make a difference? what if i want to make OTHERS better people too?
therein lies the problem. i can’t do that. i can’t make anyone better. NOT EVEN MYSELF. i can’t do it. i’m too selfish of a person to WANT to be better.
this is probably my favorite speech ever… so quick (8 minutes) watch it BEFORE moving on. if you can…
the best line in that?
“i always knew what the right path was. without exception, i knew. but i never took it. you know why? it was too…damn…hard.”
the right path. it’s hard. it’s always hard. it takes sacrifice. it takes saying no to ME. to what I want.
i came to a cross roads today. i knew what the right path was. i knew what i should have done. but i drove away anyway (no, i didn’t hit anyone’s car or anything. MUCH less involved than that.). i didn’t WANT to take the right path because it benefited ME not to.
then i “heard” it (not audibly, more like felt it in my soul). “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?*
“but no one saw. i’m not hurting anyone.”
“it’s not yours.”
“it might not be theirs either.“
“it’s not yours.”
and He was right. it wasn’t mine. it wasn’t mine to take. to keep. to play off like it’s ok because no one saw. He saw. so i went back. i left it for them. because maybe it was theirs. and maybe they need it. even if they don’t, it wasn’t mine to have.
why do i share a few vague details and not the whole story? because the story isn’t the point. because i’m not sharing to get commendation. i’m not sharing to be celebrated.
if i claim to be a christian, but i don’t act accordingly, what kind of christian am i? certainly not the kind i want to be. certainly not the kind that GOD wants me to be. because my Father sees what i’ve done in secret**. He sees my heart. He sees my obedience, though unwilling. it’s not about me. it’s about Him. when people look at me, they should see Him. i WANT them to see Him.
i can’t make myself a better person. only God can. only God can give me the desire to want to be a better person because outside of my faith, i have no reason to be a good person, to do unto others. the only reward i would ever get then is right here on earth. my earthly commendations.
but still i walk, still i strive. i walk the road that leads to holiness and Christ-likeness. sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly. sometimes it’s surrendering my will to His, my selfish tendencies to His demand of holiness from me. that’s how things work when the choice is to not have my life be about me.
others can have their religion. they can have their rituals, their dogmas, their laws, their everything. i choose a relationship. i choose life. i choose growth. i choose inconvenience. i choose integrity.
i choose the slow walk TOWARD Christ and not the walk away from Him. each path is taken one step at a time.
**4Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…18and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you…21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (found in matthew 6)