Platitudes, Wisdom, & God: Part 2… Transformation & Inspiration

After I finished Part 1, I realized there was more material I would need to cover before reaching the latter thoughts and questions which ended Part 1. What I’d like to do in this article is challenge and explicate the difference between what it means to be inspired, and what it means to be transformed, by explaining how they are different and why the difference is important to understand moving forward to Part 3.

To begin, think about this: When we are inspired, we consider and appreciate alternatives to what we already think and know; when we are transformed, our way of thinking changes the way we live

THE FACETS OF TRANSFORMATION

Coming to understand what transformation is, also considers understanding what transformation is not. Basically, transformation (with regards to Christianity) is the recognition of our faults (selfishness, pride, etc.), and the recognizable changes made by surrendering these to God. Transformation is not losing our identity, but finding it through a more fulfilling source. How do we surrender? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we can’t surrender to air; we need a relationship. We can’t have a meaningful conversation with someone who doesn’t exist. Likewise, we need to invite Jesus into our heart so we can speak to Him directly and hear from Him intimately. Letting go of selfishness also requires us to seek the opposite of selfishness—so, selflessness—and in so doing, we make room in our hearts where there was previously the clutter of selfish choices that put ourselves ahead of the rest of the world, and God. When Jesus comes into our hearts, and we share a discussion with Him, the feeling is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. And why is that? Jesus doesn’t judge, criticize, blame, or belittle—He loves. That’s it.

Now, loving doesn’t exclude being honest and authentic, and Jesus certainly inhabits these traits as well. Honesty many times means bringing the truth to the surface, and the truth sometimes hurts because we don’t want to look at it. In this way, Jesus is more real than a human being because He brings what is most important about us to the surface of our heart, and asks us to take a good look at it so that we recognize the problem without any confusion. He doesn’t do this to shove it in our face, but to be unmistaken; He wants to be absolutely sure we don’t stay the same after our encounter with Him. How can we be our best self if we stay the same? How can we be our best self if we hold back what shames us the most and never deal with it, process it, or move away from it? Jesus knows this far better than we do, and when He brings it to the surface and asks us to look at it head-on, He’s holding our hand, patiently waiting for us to ask, “What do I need to do?” He’s already got the answer, but He loves us enough to allow us to want to change on our own accord. In other words, He loves us enough to let us choose what He already knows we need. Our God truly is a loving God.

HOW INSPIRATION COMPARES

We are inspired by people who do things we cannot do, or things we will not do, but which impress us nonetheless. Now, what inspires us may or may not influence us to do anything different, and this is the key difference between inspiration and transformation. Inspiration says “Isn’t this great? Don’t you want to try it?” Transformation on the other hand will say, “If you want this, you’re going to have to do this.” In other words, inspiration allows room for us to sit still with our mouthes hanging open in awe. It motivates us to want to do more than sit still, to move beyond ourselves and into something more; but transformation on the other hand, occurs behind that motivation. That is, transformation occurs below the surface of inspiration, as the substance that invigorates us with the passion to be motivated. For example, I feel inspired to cook when I see my friend cooking in his kitchen like it’s no big deal, despite how I hate cooking and have never enjoyed doing so. Now, that inspiration occurs each time I watch someone cook who enjoys cooking; I’m inspired by their passion to cook, but I am not transformed by watching them cook. In other words, I do not feel called to cook, no matter how inspired I am. I do try to be a little more healthy for my own sake afterwards—especially after watching my friend bake a succulent chicken breast with lemon juice. But I rarely cook, even after watching him at work with his madly impressive culinary skills. 

On the other hand, I have been transformed from the inside out, and how I can tell the difference is that, for one instance, for 15 years I had been writing song lyrics and poetry dedicated to my anger, frustration, and bitterness about life. Writing had become an outlet for my negative emotions beginning a couple of years after my parents divorced. I wrote for me in order to express myself. Where, you ask, is the transformation in that if I’ve been writing all along? The transformation is in that ever since I started writing my blog almost 14 months ago, I rarely ever write songs anymore because I feel an absolutely irresistible urge to share the way Jesus has impacted my life, how that impact is worth living for, sharing, and evangelizing about. I’m not on here to preach, I am on here to share my testimony and how if Jesus works in my life so dramatically and transformationally, I want the whole world to experience this—this inner joy that never came from any other source throughout my almost 30 years of existence.

HOW TRANSFORMATION AFFECTS US POSITIVELY

My relationship with Jesus transformed my view of family as well. I used to believe family was only blood; now I fully believe sometimes family isn’t blood at all, that family is where the heart is, and my heart belongs to Jesus, first and foremost. My writing belongs to Him as well, not to me. And I rarely write my songs anymore, not because I feel obligated to write here instead, but because I have so little negative to write about. Every several months, I have something significant that knocks me off my axis point and writing about it helps me process my feelings. But I remember Jesus’s goodness and blessings in my life, and how my life has changed for the better since my faith began, and suddenly writing about my feelings leads me back to wanting to tell all of you how Jesus is real, and that His love is transformational!

I was inspired to hear how Jesus had worked in my friend’s life when I met him in college, and how others had been transformed as I went to church in Florida and then moved to live in California, and soon enough, I began realizing what I was learning about wasn’t about inspiration, but that it ran far deeper than that. I learned that in order to experience what my friends had experienced, a personal experience was needed, and that required a surrender on my part I had never given space or time to before. This was the seed to transformation for me. This is how I learned transformation begins in the heart, and inspiration originates in the brain. With inspiration, our minds recognize the way something we learn is better than our current knowledge base (like the example of my friend’s cooking), but nothing inside of us feels the need to do anything different. When I read about Jesus and listened to my friends describe how He not only inspired them but changed their hearts entirely and re-shifted their deepest desires in the direction of loving others in His name, that went beyond my mind—that went straight to my heart. God doesn’t just inspire through the selfless life of Christ in the Bible, He transforms with Jesus’s resurrection and allows us to ask how we can live differently when we understand the adventure He calls us into through receiving Jesus as the Lord of our lives.

See, inspiration can regard just about anything: Cooking healthier, exercising more, visiting church more often, wearing more stylish clothes, listening to cooler music, reading more sophisticated books, finding more interpersonal friends, studying more effectively, driving more safely, planning more efficiently, writing more eloquently, believing in ourselves more whole-heartedly, and on and on and on. Inspiration says, “Isn’t this amazing?!”, but it doesn’t require anything. Inspiration is like a prerequisite, the antecedent to what happens next. But when we fill ourselves up with antecedents, we never reach the goal, which is the change that the antecedent points towards. If we remain stagnant in receiving hints, we never reach the glory of discovering the treasure, and if we stay stagnant for too long, eventually our stagnancy takes residence by forgetting it was only a temporary visit. Consequently, selfishness continues to be the hot, stinging candle wax perpetually dripping on our skin. 

THOUGHTS?

How does this article speak to you? Does understanding transformation and inspiration from a different angle help you see how one affects you in ways the other doesn’t? If you have any questions, please feel free to leave questions in the comments below. If you have anything you’d like to add or mention, please mention that in the comments as well! This will lead into Part 3, where I will continue to talk about secular proverbs, and how our understanding of transformation and inspiration plays into the way we perceive what we read and intake from outside wisdom.

May God bless you as you come to understand how transformation works, and how important it is for us to comprehend the way transformation does not allow us to sit still and think about what we know forever, instead, it calls us to action. How do you respond to this? What does this mean for you? I’d love to hear from you!

If you would like to read more, please follow this blog, and please share this with anyone. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LPBlog2017, Instagram at LPBlog2017, Pinterest at Lance Price Blog 2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017.

Have a blessed day!

 

 

God Is In Control

All of my hope, all of my faith, all of my trust, and all of my purpose is in Christ, and Christ alone. Where is yours?

When I look at the world today, I have pity—but not fear. I am constantly reminded of the reasons why I know we are called to be the light in the darkness. Here is what I remember—this is what keeps me inspired. May the following words inspire you and nudge you towards the hope of what is to come when you place everything you are in Christ.

There is no status or title in heaven:

“The last will be first and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16).

On Earth, we will have trouble (pain, suffering, affliction, death):

“But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Our lives are like a mist (James 4:14). Constantly, I am noticing how fast time flies for me each day, as if life has become a race to the finish. But I am unafraid, because:

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

“What if I can’t accomplish my personal life goals?” “What if I never get married?”  “What happens if the world ends before I get what I want?” :

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)

What is most important to you right now? I spent too many years of my life living selfishly, lustfully, ignorantly, naively, and purposelessly. Life is too short for this kind of lifestyle. There is so much room for love; what’s better, there is so much room for Jesus—if you look at the news and the country right now, Jesus fits right in. He didn’t come to Earth when all was calm and happy. Jesus understands life when everything seems upside down; that’s how He spent the last 12 hours of his Earthly life. But that didn’t end His story, and our story doesn’t end with fear.

In the end, what doesn’t matter is who is in charge on Earth. Ultimately, God is charge, even if we can’t experience His full glory yet. And it matters not what people say; God will have the final say. It doesn’t matter how we die; what matters is how we live. It doesn’t matter if people reject us; God constantly invites us back to our relationship with Him. He loves us at full capacity, 24/7, and He never tires of loving us more than we can take.

Be lifted high today, there is nothing to be afraid of. No matter how life looks on the outside, everything is under control behind the scenes. Keep praying, keep reaching out and loving people no matter what the world is doing or saying. Keep forgiving those who hurt you and keep loving those who despise you for finding joy in the love of Jesus. Keep shining your hope and faith into the world, and keep moving forward. Keep going, keep going, KEEP GOING! There no God but one, no King but one in charge. Let this truth lift your spirits and calm your heart. Jesus is alive, and He is going to come back. Until that time, be ready. Love Him with every fiber of your being, and show your love for God to others by giving your time to those in need; listening and not sabotaging; loving and not judging; helping and not harming; praying and not complaining. People need godly love, and when we love others with a godly love, they can tell the difference.

Will you be that difference in the world today? Jesus is calling us to make way for His return. Open your hearts, ears, and mouths, praising God with joyfulness. There is nothing to fear! This is a new day, and God is in control. Everything is going to be alright! In Jesus name!

Overworked

Soaring with Him Ministries

The Light That Shines In the Darkness: Part 2

One of the responsibilities of being an effective writer is learning to reach your audience, and a part of that responsibility is recognizing who your audience is in order to reach them efficiently and purposefully. My audience, as you may have come to know, must be open-minded, vulnerable, and willing to think outside the box. You don’t have to be a believer of Jesus, nor do you have to be an unbeliever. You don’t have to be a certain age, although I think it helps to be mature enough to consider these subjects. 

The reason for this thought is that I have had to consider the needs of the readers who would benefit from reading from a blog such as mine, and what I have come to realize is this: Being how my blog is an amalgam of self-help and Christianity, one must desire to be helped, and one must be open-minded enough to enter the discussion of faith, Christ-follower or otherwise, if they are to glean something useful from my writing.

On that note, I would say that I’ve come to understand something else as well. What strikes me is that my writing would be beneficial to someone open-minded, vulnerable, and willing to think spiritually complex, but only those who are looking to be helped in those regards. What that means is there are a plethora of people in this world who do need help thinking more “outside the box,” who would benefit from considering faith, but most importantly–are looking for that help. Those who aren’t looking—and here’s the key point—aren’t reading about it. My words aren’t reaching people who need these articles to give them an encouraging nudge, a push in the right direction, a mental/physical challenge to get them out of the place they’re feeling too comfortable in—because they’re not on the search for something they don’t feel they need help with.

That means, those who read this are hoping to find something. You’re curious, you’re open enough to search for an article related to your quest for answers, and you’re wondering if what I have to say will fit your inquiry. What that means, is… you will now have knowledge that people who aren’t searching for answers directly will not have, and that means you are the bridge between them and that life-changing information. The difference is that, while they aren’t going online looking through blogs to find knowledge or wisdom, they know you, and when they talk to you, you have a light about you that they don’t have yet. That “light” is your desire to find hope (or it is the hope itself), to find answers; to not stay stuck in your hopelessness. 

My hope—why I even have this blog—is to shine the light of Christ into the world of people who do not yet have Him, but who are searching for the answer to life that He is. When people talk to you, specifically those who aren’t searching for what you are searching for—they can see the bridge between what they don’t know and what they don’t think they need. That bridge, that hope, opens their (spiritual) eyes to see that they don’t have something they need, and the revealing nature of that eye-opening experience allows them to yearn for hope. 

Now, that leaves you to either share the information directly (orally or through writing) when the right time comes to share it, or to share this blog (or another’s blog/book/resource which inspires you and encourages you). When the time comes, you will play a role in their quest, whether or not they realize they need to be on one. We all need this answer, but we’re not all going to find it the same way. Many, many people will not read this. But you are reading this right now. Already, you are one step towards a part of your life where you can move forward with something useful, something significantly better than before, and now that means you have acquired what others need to have shared; otherwise, they will remain in the dark.

See, you are curious enough to read this, which makes you open enough to receive it, and possibly bold and brave enough to actually apply it, whereas others haven’t even taken the first step. Their stubbornness precludes them from taking any step in the right direction; they will continue on in stagnancy if you or someone else like you doesn’t help them. This isn’t an obligation, this is a privilege. The same part of you which is curious, the part which yearns to grow, develop, and outlive the part of you that is damaged, broken, and unhealed—this same part of you can show others that there is something to yearn for and hope in. The fact that you yourself haven’t stayed stagnant is reason for others (unbelievers) to believe there are people out there who do the same, and that is inspiration to find passion in life through purpose in Christ.

Certainly, countless people have discovered the slow, torturous banality of monotony. The others around you who are not yet healed don’t even realize their own brokenness, but you can see it because you have eyes to see. You can hear it in their voices and discern the pain in their words because you have ears to hear (Mark 4:9). That makes you a vessel to help them see and hear. Truly, if you are only reading this, but are not sharing what you learn, you are rescinding so many others’ experience to grow out of their tedious state of desultoriness. You already know how that is; you have been there before. That’s empathy. You can relate to their pain because you’ve experienced their pain before in your own circumstances. But now you can step back and realize with a shift from your old perspective just how different things can be if we can change the way we view ourselves and the lives we’re in. This is not about enlightenment. This is about what it means to have a soul, and that our soul purpose on this Earth is letting others know about Jesus, His love, and His eternal purpose for our souls in Heaven—that, without Him, we have no hope in anything. That is why I write this blog, and that could be the answer you’re looking for. If it’s not, then perhaps you’re asking the wrong question.

Have you ever looked to anything else in your entire life and received a purpose outside of your own desires? Outside of your own selfishness? This is but one of the many ways I know Jesus is the answer: He loved us before we even existed on Earth. He created everything about us, from how much hair we have on our heads to what we’ll desire when we’re adults. To live for anyone or anything other than Him, it’s mere narcissism. There’s simply no eternal point to any of it. In a previous post, I mentioned our preference for chocolate or beer aren’t bad to have, and I hold true to that statement. What I’ll add here is that our desire for anything outside of Jesus is less important. That means, we’ll have many, many things we’ll enjoy in this lifetime, but ultimately, the only thing that we could ever enjoy, that will matter during and beyond this lifetime on Earth, is Jesus.

How do I know? Let me be frank. I used to be an atheist—I was an atheist for most of my life, and when I discovered Jesus and truly learned who He is and was, my heart was changed by Him. He enraptured me with His story and the purpose of His ministry; to be the salvation to the souls of the world by being the Mediator between our sin and God’s love and forgiveness. When I learned this, I fell to my knees in adoration for this man, this God Incarnate.

Once I realized faith had nothing to do with “going through the motions”, saying the same words over and over, repeating prayers out of a book instead of genuinely saying them from my heart—once I learned, in fact, that relationship is more important to Jesus than rituals and religious obligations, such as praying the rosary to absolve ourselves of our own sins**—I came to not only understand and respect faith in Christ, but to embrace the faith as my own; to walk in the light of Christ, meaning, to walk in His footsteps along His path, not making my own footsteps on my own disastrous path. My path, as I discovered along the way of pain and mistakes, leads to spiritual death. But when we “die” to Christ, or when we surrender everything about ourselves to His will and desire His love above all else we become even more alive in Him, inspired and drawn to His liking through faith in His truth: He died and rose again so that we could be with Him forever. This inspires hope: Christian hope. This is the reason people have riveting joy in Christ, joy that makes another person think, “What do they have that I don’t?”

**(I believe praying the rosary is helpful if, by praying it, you close to God, but I believe it’s utterly redundant if you pray believing the rosary itself will save you. Nothing saves us but Jesus. And it’s not praying that saves us—but Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. And He did that over two thousand years ago. The only thing that can save us is our choice to have faith in Jesus as Lord, accepting His love for us and letting Him rebuild our spirits through surrender and choosing to obey His command to love others the way He loves us. Only then are we saved; long, long before we ever begin the rosary, we have already been saved, if we believe in Him. The rosary is only a prayer, and it venerates Jesus, no doubt, but veneration does not save us anymore than talking about Jesus without believing in His Lordship does.)

Nothing, not even death itself, provokes any kind of fear:

(Philippians 1:21) “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”

There is no way to lose when living in faith of Jesus. And if there’s nothing to lose, what is there to fear? When we catch ourselves feeling afraid of fear, we are not trusting in Christ, so really, believing in Christ requires us to trust Him, which in turn eradicates all remnants of fear. Truly believing in the hope of the promise of His love destroys all hopelessness, and shines light into all darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5)

You’re reading this, you’re searching for something. My writing can give you clues, thoughts, pieces of knowledge and wisdom for your soul to digest. But you must apply what you learn, and you must share what you gain from the experience. You must inspire others towards that light and tell them the reason for your hope. Hope is not food, nor a holiday, nor a day off, and not even in sex. Our hope is in Christ, and Christ alone. Through Him, we gain, and we truly live. Through Him, we walk through the valley of the shadow of death… fearlessly (Psalms 23:4). Through Him, we are renewed and rebuilt. We must be this light for others to help them find the path of Jesus to walk on as well. We must tell them that this life wasn’t mean to be lived without Him. We must tell them He loves them no matter what, and He always will. In every word we speak and every action we take, we point to Jesus, because He is our answer, and our hope. We must be this for others, so that they will not continue to wander asunder. Jesus commands us to feed his sheep; the “sheep” are the lost. They need Jesus, whether they know this or not. All we can do is shine, love, and direct them to the One who saves. That’s what we’re called to do, that is our purpose, and that is what will matter when we die: Did we believe in Jesus; did we make our faith known to the world, and in so doing, inspire them to the same love that inspired us to surrender and trust in His path, His way, His Truth? 

This is our reason to breath, to move, to live. This is the passion in our souls, and the fire burning to keep us going. Jesus is our everything, or we are only making up reasons as we go. Our reasons or merely excuses for narcissism, because at the end of it all, all the reasons we could ever conjure would only lead to self-satisfaction and pride. Through Jesus, there’s actually something left behind rippling throughout eternity; nothing and no one on this Earth could ever do this so flawlessly but the name that rings through our hearts, whether through admiration or controversy. Only such a powerful name would spawn argument for those afraid to be wrong about their own spiritual choices. Any vocation not inspired by Jesus is an agenda, and it will not glorify Him; it will not matter when they pass. They merely pass as another name in history, soon to be forgotten. But they could pass as someone who drove many to the one name above all names; not to their credit or glory, but for the prospect of making their life something meaningful, purposeful, and worthwhile. 

We only have a vapor’s worth of a life; a mist (James 4:14). For many, that means splurging on sex, drugs, and alcohol, flooding chemical after chemical into their bodies which we aren’t designed to intake, and they sit in that place of malady and discontent, telling themselves repeatedly so as to somehow convince themselves (since the pragmatic and empirical evidence isn’t adequate enough) that their habits are a means to an escape from the reality they are obstinately unwilling to embrace. But that morbid, self-sabotaging choice leads to a disappointing, worthless life of regret, mistakes, and deprecation. There is no success story of someone who tried drugs, sex, alcohol, and “escape,” having lived a life full of bliss and acceptance. These escapes are deviations from the purpose of Jesus in our lives, and without His love, we are already dead and empty. Chemicals won’t feed our hungry souls; perhaps the wise who choose to read this know that the only substance we would ever want to be addicted to is the Word of God. We can’t intake too much Jesus anymore than we can’t be too joyful. 

If you’ve read this, you want something you may not have. Honestly, I don’t have what you need (other than my faith), but I intend to try to point you in the right direction, and that means directing you to Jesus; His love, His sacrifice, and His promise—they are for you. They are for us all. Receive His Truth, apply the message, and be transformed. Be what everyone in this world needs us to be, because no one else has the boldness and bravery of a fearless Christ-follower who walks in the confidence of their faith, and not in the confidence of society, or culture, or religion, status, gender, race, or age; only bold confidence in the miraculous, transformative powers of Jesus, His redeeming love, and His proclaiming Truth. We are vessels, shining back to the God who saves. We are lights shining in the darkness, pointing towards the brightest Light of them all. 

To read more, please follow this blog. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LPBlog2017, Instagram at LPBlog2017, Pinterest at Lance Price Blog 2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Please share this with anyone you think would benefit, and feel free to write in the comments below—a prayer request, a thought—I would love to hear from you! God bless you!!

Discover

Let Me Tell You God Loves You

As I’ve grown older, knowledge has become somewhat less important to me, and wisdom has taken precedence. What hit me is that knowledge doesn’t get me any closer to my soul, but wisdom digs at the walls of my character and dares me to challenge myself. Additionally, as I’ve grown older, being challenged has become more meaningful to me. I yearn to be challenged because I constantly want to grow. When I am not learning, I get bored easily, and boredom leads me to question the purpose behind my passions. Every year, I notice the way my desire to learn is met by a new phase in life; a new job, new/changing relationships, new living situation, etc. I find myself reading more spiritually engaging books that dig at my soul and beg me to seek the hope of eternity. While I digest what I read, I think about the rest of the world, pondering how many others are as enthusiastic and passionate about concepts like purpose, meaning of life, eternity, and the human soul as I am.

One of my greatest inspirations as a blogger is to challenge others to think outside the box of their comfort zone—outside of what they’re familiar with. The reason I feel so passionate about this particular challenge is that I once was an atheist, and I took seven years of my own life to realize that I needed to believe in the challenge of finding my purpose in life in order to desire my own next breath. Living in the cocoon of a depressed, angry heart is a suffocating existence; certainly not worth seven years, and yet that’s how much time I let go to that lonely, self-defeating lifestyle. Not that being in that mentality isn’t a challenge—but I wasn’t yearning to learn anything new; the challenge was finding a reason to stay alive.

Discovering my passion for learning new concepts was tantalizing; finding Jesus in my heart was enthralling. My passion for knowledge is a fun part of me that I enjoy utilizing every day, but what is so much more important to me now is that my heart is open to Christ’s work inside me. I can feel His presence pulling me ever so slowly through time, inviting me into yet one more challenge. He knows what I can handle and He gives me as much as I can take, but no more, and no less.

I write about this because I am passionate about telling you why I do what I do, and what strands of thought bring me back to the keyboard. See, purpose to me is wine to wine-maker, and a story to a film director—it’s food to a chef and thought to a philosopher; I crave to know more about it, understand it, embrace it, teach about it, and ask others about their thoughts on it. I wouldn’t even be writing if I didn’t feel this was a part of my purpose. I write because I absolutely LOVE to write. Another reason I write is because I’m passionate about informing you about things you may not think about on your own. To put it playfully, I love to give others food for thought that I hope they will consider worth their while. Food they will not only eat, but want more of.

Knowledge to me is a great book—and I love reading—but wisdom to me is when I bow my head in humility and ask Jesus to overcome my pride and my ego, hoping His love will overcome my arrogance and find me in a place where I will just surrender all of me. I learned how soothing surrender is upon realizing how much closure there is in letting go of the fears in my life that don’t matter—like social norms, acceptance from people I don’t respect, and losing things that won’t hurt my existence in 50 or 100 years. Little things that bother me that don’t need to put weight on my shoulders—I’ve learned to let them go and be released from the anxiety it caused me. The surrender behind that kind of release is not only believing that certain areas of my past no longer matter, but that there is a replacement for the useless moments I let waste away to bad choices: Jesus Christ. Where social norms and the critical eyes of society that are used to judge and belittle have previously shrunk my soul from fear of condemnation, Jesus’ love picks me up and reminds me why I exist in the first place. When I accept and embrace that my purpose is in Him, what happens in return is that I understand what others think of me doesn’t matter, and that what does matter—regardless of whether or not others like me—is that they know Jesus. Why would I not want to share the love of someone who takes away all of my fears about life with others around me?

As a writer, this is yet another reason I blog: I want others to hear about how much of an impact Jesus has on a man like me; someone who was an atheist for most of his life and converted after living with depression, anxiety, anger, and fear for years and years. Jesus was able to turn all of that around. And though there are traces of reminders of what I went through, they are only that—reminders—and I use them as references to remind myself what an incredible role Jesus plays in my life today, and where He always was, even when I was too stubborn to believe it.

If you’re reading this, I hope you will find something interesting about my story, and I hope you will find that it inspires you; I hope my story will give you hope about your own story and challenge you to consider seeing your past from an even different perspective than you may have been seeing it from before.

My name is Lance, and I have this blog because I want you to know Jesus. I desire for you to know how he impacts people like me, and others who I will write about whose stories reference back to Christ again. I hope that in writing about these experiences, you will feel challenged in what you think you know about your life, and inspired to take on new and refreshing points of view you may not have had before. I only write with the intention of helping others, and my goal is to extend myself to you, personally, in a way you can feel it in your heart. You may not have met me before, but if you could, I would want you to know that life isn’t over yet, and there is still time to do what you love, feel how you were meant to, and trust in a God who saves. Life is meant to be full of love and complete with dependency on the God who protects us from ourselves in our worst moments.

You are seen, you matter, and you are loved more than you could possibly imagine. If you don’t know it yet, I hope you will come to feel this way soon. May God show you the way to this truth, and may He use these words to encourage you to believe in their validity and authenticity.

May this day be blessed for you! I would love to know who reads these articles, what they do for you, and even what you would like to see in future posts. To engage with you would make my day, more than you know. Please follow this blog to read more. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog, Twitter at LancePrice2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. May God bless each of you!!

Understanding the Finitude of Disbelief

As an atheist-turned-Christian, I have seen and experienced (and participated in) a lot of spiritual/religious contention. In fact, reminiscing on my atheistic years, I remember being the skeptic doubter to raise the questions and complaints about a world under the supreme rule of God to my friends and family. While they tried to mitigate my anger, hurt, and confusion with what came across as glib religious Bible talk, I tried to undermine their desire to help me understand the very religion they seemed hardly able to explain to themselves. Religion was cliche, faith was irrational, and unconditional love was connotative to sex.

Today, there is either an explicit, apparent, and salient disconcertion towards the idea of God; and a phlegmatic, subdued, and even numbed attitude towards the concept of morality and theology. Secularism has nearly exhausted the human heart of its attempt to grasp the fundamental importance of embracing a belief system by attempting to denude faith of its soul. That said, I don’t believe theology or morality have lost their place in the conversation; such a thick subject simply requires delicacy and endurance.

THE MIRAGE OF THE RELIGIOUSLY PIOUS

There seems to be a sanctuary being built for the spiritually nomadic to distance themselves from the community of believers obstinate in their faith in Christ. In actuality, unbelievers are distancing themselves from the mirage of the religiously pious. Understandably, there are many believers who are carried away with spiritual pride rather than humility driven by the love of Christ; however, many times what appears to be the pious from a distance just so happens to be a group of open-minded individuals genuinely trying to lead by a good example. Underneath faith, ultimately, is a soul can recognize that stepping back into the darkness is choosing to be lost once more, and by trying to be a good example, a believer reminds him or herself who it is that they answer to, and why. To the unbeliever, this appears to be brainwashing, when in fact it is the believer’s armor against believing the lie that all of life is meaningless albeit the narcissism and ephemeral bliss of naivety; that living for oneself ultimately leads to feeling unfulfilled. The human heart wants to believe there is more to life than narcissism, and when we receive Jesus’s love, we no longer feel the need to be so selfish. In fact, not only does faith make us feel fulfilled, but it reminds us how ugly living for ourselves feels, and that it contradicts the purpose of the heart: To commune; to love and be loved.

The secularist feels the need to grab something they can feel with their senses; ignoring and resisting the sense of God’s presence from within. Where God can’t intervene physically without harming us on this plane of sin, He uses humans to step in and help; and where humans cannot reach—the spirit and the soul—God plants Himself, directly.

THE REALITY OF SUFFERING

Suffering makes the argument for disbelief in God more understandable—resisting the truth of the Bible, however, does not disprove its authenticity. Further, aiming vitriol at those who respond to its invitation sincerely does nothing but legitimize Jesus’s very warning to early Christ-followers that we would experience opposition in His name.

He already knew what was coming for the generations to follow—from public ridicule and censure to martyrdom itself. There was no doubt that Jesus knew the consequences of the reality He was calling us into as believers, but He did not lead us into a war blindly; Jesus warned us of what was coming and exemplified what it means to fight with love. After claiming to be God Himself, He was crucified. But when He rose again, the promises He made and the reality of life He called us into while leading us into battle became real, and that’s when we knew that what we were fighting for carried significant purpose. Now we need have no fear of death; Jesus overcame death itself by rising from the dead. Jesus does not call us to suffer in this life for the sake of His name for nothing—He was willing to suffer and ultimately sacrifice Himself—and in doing so, He defeated the sting of death and the fear of what’s to come by giving us the hope of a painless eternity with Him.

Believing in a personal God of love we cannot “see” is the foundation of faith, but Christ-followers do not follow this belief system blindly. In fact, if you asked a Christian how they “see” God working, they would give you tangible examples of how God speaks and acts through other people. In fact, one of the main differences between believers and unbelievers is that unbelievers expect if there is a God that He should be visible with hands and feet, ears and a head; whereas believers understand if God showed Himself in His natural form on Earth it would destroy us—we look for God inside of others, since the Bible promises us Jesus lives within us through the Holy Spirit. Demanding empirical evidence of God’s existence is more naive to a believer than rational because we believe God withholds Himself for our sakes. While Christ-followers do believe in miracles, more often than not the most personal miracle to occur is the testimony of a person’s heart being surrendered to Jesus and being born again.

I empathize with atheists first because I once was an atheist myself. What changed me from disbelief to belief was curiosity, first and foremost. I wasn’t looking for Christ, mind you—I was looking for answers. I searched for purpose, and I ultimately found God. I was willing and open to other faiths, but they sounded distorted.

DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS PERSPECTIVES

For me, “blindness” really means to convince ourselves that the answer to suffering in life is to pretend we don’t really feel pain, with the intention of feeling convinced we don’t have any pain—and that is how I would define what Buddhism teaches. The detachment from desire is the Buddhist’s way of denuding pain from the human experience. But I believe there must be more purpose behind pain than for it to be detached and ignored. Would we not automatically jump to the conclusion that God is evil if we feel we must ignore our capacity for desire if some desires lead to pain, while other desires lead to blessings? Is our desire for food bad? I don’t believe so. But desire for unhealthy, fattening foods all day long, every day is. But that is a matter of self-control, readers, no? If our reason for calling God evil is because we dislike the idea that God gave us choice–to control ourselves or to be manipulated—how is that reason to call Him evil and not call ourselves unaccountable or irresponsible? Not that Buddhists call God evil, but some people who think in the vein of “God must be evil because He gives us desire” sometimes lead themselves to the Buddhist mentality to eradicate the “problem” of desire and the pain derived of desire (and the eventually loss of Earthly attainments). Since that notion has never sat well with me, I never followed Buddhism.

Hinduism seemed far too ambiguous to me with so many different gods, and no authentic, distinctive way to practice the faith. If reincarnation is the heart of Hinduism, and our lives are only “correcting our spiritual wrongs by trying again,” then logically-speaking, the motivation behind Hinduism seems more like the logic of a video game: You just retry until you make it. If that is true, then what does that say about hate, sin, and evil? That undermines free will and serves the impression that justice isn’t necessary. Basically, if all we ever have to do is try harder, then we claim accountability to grow into perfection is attainable. But if that is true, what is the purpose of justice? What would that say about our intrinsic desire to see justice for wrong-doing? Would we really say “Hitler will be given more chances to live again and learn from his mistakes,” rather than, “Justice will be served on behalf of that person’s choice to act on behalf of evil”? If we acknowledge the weight of evil, then we comprehend how important justice is. Can we really trivialize evil to the degree that justice is no longer required? I think not. Therefore, Hinduism also did not resonate with me.

PERFORMANCE ISN’T THE POINT

In other religions, we must act and perform well in order to reach God. That is exhaustive and emotionally heavy to live a life where, for everything we do “wrong”, we must perform better to make up for it. What kind of god towers over our shoulder to make sure we’re acting perfectly all the time? Is that commensurate to an unconditionally loving God—looming over our every move like a secret agent waiting to shoot an electric shock down our spine every time we act out of line?

The Christian God does not need us to perform—instead, He invites us to be loved by Him. There is no ambiguity here: Jesus died for us on His own accord so that we could be with Him forever. He never asks us to be perfect, but He asks us to love each other as ourselves, and to love God with all of our strength, all of our soul, all of our hearts, and all of our minds. That doesn’t spell perfection, that spells choice. Will we choose to love others now that we know God loves us, or will we choose to be selfish and live only for ourselves? That is not a trap or a threat, that is an invitation.

INVITATION–NOT A “THREAT”

Atheists may see this invitation in the form of a threat, as if God’s ultimatum is “worship me or suffer,” but the resistance of the invitation to love is what causes us to suffer—not punishment by God. Does that make sense? Our suffering isn’t caused by God, but by our resisting His love for us. We are naturally created to receive love from our Father, similar to how we naturally receive and believe whole-heartedly in the love of our Earthly parents. We were made in the image of God, not the image of humanity. Therefore, we were created to be loved by God, and when we resist His love, we suffer. He is not causing us to suffer, but He does give us permission to choose to resist Him, and naturally, resisting what is good for us hurts. The same way choosing not to sleep makes us tired and choosing not to eat gives us a stomachache, choosing to rebel against God hurts our spirits for as long as we live in denial.

The way a car won’t work if you won’t put gas in the gas tank, we just don’t function well if we don’t have God in our heart. We weren’t made for anything else. And when we try to believe otherwise, the disbelief in what is real hurts us inside. So, can we understand the drastic pain of hating the idea of God and calling Him evil due to suffering, when we’re the ones resisting love from the God we’re complaining about? It’s sounds contradictory and even childish, no? The atheist sees Christianity as a joke, but the Christian sees atheism as closed-minded and empty. The believer also recognizes the bitterness of the unbeliever, wanting to share the Good News to offer them the hope of Jesus. It’s only sad when an unbeliever can’t see their own contradiction of belief: They would rather stay doubtful and unfulfilled than joyful an fulfilled.

The invitation presented to us all by God has nothing to do with earning or deserving anything. There is nothing we could do to earn God’s love. Not only because we are so imperfect and flawed by our sin, but because God has already chosen to love us, regardless. The problem is never whether or not God loves us, the problem is whether or not we receive His love. Secularists may complain that God must be evil and has favorites, but there is no proof of this stated anywhere in the Bible, so this claim has no grounding. God loves equally, and He sees us the way He sees Jesus if we believe in Jesus. That is a free gift of love. Receiving it is a choice we must make, and once we do, everything changes. And that “changeby the wayis what is described by the Christian as being “reborn.”

MOVING FORWARD

Where do you stand today in your faith? Do you dismiss the idea that love is in fact a free gift of God, and not something you must earn first before asking? What about Christianity makes you question the love of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus? What loopholes have you found, and what would you like explained or uncovered? If there is anything at all, please post that in the comments below, and I will happily address anything as best as I can.

Today is a day for us to walk away from confusion and to start clearing the fog: Christ loves us! If there is anything you need to know today, it is that. The truth of life is that Jesus loves you. Whether or not you receive that is a choice you must make, but the choice you make to receive His love or to resist it is a choice that will change your life for the better or worse. You will feel pain, yes–with or without God. But without God, you will experience pain as if alone—though you are never alone. People will try to comfort you, but our energy-spans are limited. God is infinite and omnipresent; He will never leave you to your pain by yourself. God doesn’t always erase the pain in this life, but He promises us eternity without any at all if we will follow Jesus first and foremost. Jesus is the answer because He did what no man could ever do: He defeated sin on the cross. Because of that, He is our best friend and “closer than a brother.” Resist this and yes, we will suffer the feeling of being alone because God won’t force Himself upon us. But receive His love, and we will come to know the feeling of never being alone again. Receiving His love into our hearts means believing in the Truth that His love is real, it exists, and it is FOR us. Once we have it, we can never lose it! It’s ours! Receive His love and be transformed by it, loving others with the love that becomes of that transformation inside you. Jesus will lead you on this journey. He has been knocking on your door since day one. It’s time to decide whether such a loving, persistent Friend is worth letting in; one that holds the keys to hope itself. He has proven Himself worthy. Will you release your doubt and accept His love? You don’t have to deserve it, because you never will.

It’s His gift to give, and He’s handing it to you right now.

What will you do? Be blessed!

Sated

Paving the Path For Trusting God: Part 2

God knew what He wanted with humanity far before He even breathed into causing the Big Bang. All of creation was done for Jesus and by Jesus, and that makes the story of creation that much more beautiful, colorful, and saturated in sentiment. Do you realize what that means about Jesus’ crucifixion?

OUR LOVE STORY WITH GOD

While many people look shamefully towards the cross, the cross represents a part of the love story between Jesus and humanity– or, from the big picture perspective— between God and humanity. See, the cosmos and all of creation were made by and for Jesus, so the love story between humanity and Jesus is that we are the centerpiece that Jesus had in mind for the creation of our solar system, and the reason for all the orbiting planets making Earth the most life-sustainable planet in the galaxy.

That isn’t even beginning to mention how God birthed us into creation during the most auspicious time period, when we were able to integrate and learn to utilize the tools necessary to discover for our very eyes the origins of the galaxy during the Big Bang!

This provides evidence that God wanted us, intentionally, to be able to see for ourselves our entrance into the existential plane of time and space dimensionality, so that we would come to learn the critical role time played in the process of humans creating amply advanced technology to look into the past and witness our entrance; to witness for ourselves that there was and is no better time for us than now—because before or after now and the galaxy would have been too dark to discover any of these historical divulgences.

THE PURPOSE OF THE COSMOS IS US

God wanted us to know that the galaxy is for our existence, and then as we combine that story element with the reality of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, what we have is a more complete story of how Christ loved us SO MUCH that He not only created the entire cosmos for us—but He even came down and died for us Himself so that we would not be separated from Him (should we choose to accept Jesus’ love for us into our hearts and live transformed lives by loving others, ourselves, and God) after we chose to rebel and transgress His divine laws and love for us (For more information about the details of the cosmos, the Big Bang, and how science actually complements Christianity in the sense that facts about the cosmos directly link back to the Bible–please reference back to Leslie Wickman’s “God of the Big Bang“, and also Hugh Ross’s “Why the Universe Is the Way It Is“).

Does that change at all the perspective we have in regards to seeing God as a God worth trusting?

A TRUSTWORTHY GOD

Knowing these details, we can explicate the way God responds to our pain and our questions by His attitude towards both our creation and our suffering. Having accomplished so much for us for the sake of our convenience, what we can take from this is that the facts point directly to the great care and consideration God has for us as a race. Why would God work so carefully for the last part of creation–the very pinnacle of creation, in fact– if He did not care about us? And, to connect dots–would we not place trust in a God who would put so much meticulous, careful planning into making our existence so worthwhile?

One of the problems I had as an atheist with putting trust in an “invisible” concept like God was the fear of the threat of sanity. “What will the world think of me if I start including Jesus/God/theology into the conversation?” We start to place weight on the world’s view instead of on the sentiment Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross means for us as individuals, personally. The world condemns and censures, but God loves and forgives, constantly inviting us forward, towards Him. If we don’t place our trust in Him, is our resistance really based on some mistake God made, or are we too proud to admit how lost we are when we try to solve the mystery of life with technicalities and empty rationalizations? The capitulation of curiosity is among the seeds of the death of theology in understanding God after exhausting ourselves by trying to solve the argument against His existence. My point is not all that ambiguous: what reason do we have as a race for distrusting in God? After really pausing to look at the evidence, everything intently points to His genuine love for the human race. If we don’t place our trust on that foundation, where else would we place it? 

BASED ON A TRUE STORY…

I want to share with you a small but profound true story which happened to me years ago.

When I was living in an apartment in Glendale, California, I was about to be bankrupt and I had already been warned of eviction because I couldn’t make rent. My roommate and I arrived home one night after a life group to find the note that is the picture of this blog post, taped to our door. I promise you readers, no one knew that I could not afford rent besides two people: my roommate, and my dad– who I had seen the past two days–and I had been with him the entire time, so he had no chance to put a note on the door, nor get the money through the crack of the doorway so that I would only see the $700 in cash laying on the ground after I opened the door. My roommate was just as shocked as me, and that made it obvious this was clearly God seeing my situation, and responding.

Now, I’m not claiming God wrote the note, I know it was a person–but the miracle and blessing within this story is that someone knew I couldn’t afford rent (when I hadn’t told anyone, nor had my roommate), and no one ever confessed to being the gift-giver. They remain, to this day, and unknown samaritan who helped me at a crucial time without desiring to receive credit for the gift. I cannot tell that person how much I appreciate the gift, and that they were clearly doing God’s work in telling me that “God loves you. He sees you. He’ll never forsake you.” Clearly, this person wanted God have all the credit. To me, that is love of the Father in Heaven, and that is a reason to trust in Him to provide, always. Has that ever happened again since? Nope. And that’s the idea: God doesn’t generally perform a miracle the same way twice; but He always answers every prayer.

WITNESSING GOD AT WORK BEHIND THE SCENES

One last thing to note about my short story–if I had not gotten that money right when I did, and if I would have had to be evicted (possibly along with my roommate if he couldn’t pay it all himself), I would not have been able to get the job that I got within that next month at the school district, and where I stayed for three years working in Special Education with kids with autism and special needs. None of that would have happened! God was speaking into my life through another person, and it was loud and clear that I was not alone in my journey. This isn’t just me, readers–it’s you, too.

I shared this truth with you to let you see how God does work, even in mysterious ways; ways where people are involved, but where they’re not trying to take the spotlight off of God. God uses people to show Himself, because the Holy Spirit is at work in this world through the spirit of believers. The Prince of Darkness (the Devil) may be influencing the world, but the King of all kings (Jesus) is controlling it. That said, whoever wrote that note and provided the money without ever asking for it to be returned or claiming the act was his doing–he was allowing the Holy Spirit to work inside of him. That’s what matters to God, and that’s what counts to someone who needs to experience God’s grace in the form of tangibility that is distinctly God’s hand–only without the skin, bone, or tissue. While God’s physical hand cannot be seen touching us, He is certainly moving, He is most certainly alive; He most certainly exists, and He loves us all. Not everyone might get a note taped to their door, but they are no less loved or seen. He created everything so that we could have relationship with Him and give Him the glory. He loves us so that we have an example of what it means to be loving.

GOD’S REALITY

I understand many of you will likely not appreciate the way that I didn’t explain God’s physical intervention in our lives as an actual touch, but if we aren’t aware that God moves through people and through nature, then we’re missing an important point; He doesn’t touch us in the same sense that humans do because of the point I explained in Part 1: He is outside of our dimensionality, and if He came inside of ours in His physical form, we wouldn’t survive the process. Sin cannot survive the presence of pure, perfect love. Putting faith in the existence of God means knowing that God is with us in our hearts–and through other believers–but that doesn’t mean that we dismiss God just because His body is somewhere else; He is omnipresent, spiritually. That is how we access the Holy Spirit. And unless we put faith into that possibility, we are resisting His love due to of our rebellion, not His non-existence.

We would not need faith if He were here with us, physically, right? He loves you, He sees you, and He will never forsake you. Open your heart, look into the soul of Christ as He is knocking on the door to your heart. Let Him in and show Him around. He wants to be a part of your life. Putting your trust in God is the best decision you could make because of His adamant loyalty. If you don’t understand His loyalty, just look to the stars, He never drops them— they’re held firmly in place; how much much firmly and carefully would He hold your heart, the heart of the peak of His creation? Everything He created, and all that He’s done, is for you– because His love is that deep for you. What will you do with that truth?

MY PRAYER FOR YOU

I hope that you feel His love for you today, and I pray that it inspires you for the better. That is my prayer for each one of you; that you would come to know God’s heart, Jesus’ loyalty, and place confident trust in their means of being for you and giving to you all that you need. May you feel His presence as you continue understanding how to place more trust in God, knowing what He is capable of, what He’s done, and what He will do based on His promises. I urge you to do this with a believer who can encourage you, pray for you and with you, and help you as you ease into this, especially if this concept is new for you. God will meet you where you are, and He will lift you up. He will never leave you standing alone. He’s always watching and waiting for another heart to choose Him over the world. He’s excited to be a part of you. Will you reach out for Him in trust? I hope you will.

To read more, please follow this blog. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog 2017, Twitter at LPBlog2017, Instagram at LPBlog2017, Pinterest at Lance Price Blog 2017, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog2017. Please share this with anyone you think would benefit, and feel free to write in the comments below—I would love to hear from you! God bless you!!May God bless you!

Paving the Path For Trusting God: Part 1

By and by, I feel the need to respond to secularists, atheists, and unbelievers whose questions scrutinize the Bible, its authenticity, and what it calls Christians to believe and live by. After so much skepticism, these people’s questions leave them baffled, silenced, confused, and bitter– their hearts malformed by cultural and societal misunderstandings, resenting the censure of a massive conglomeration seemingly tossing all their eggs into the basket with a dusty old book called the Bible. One of the most powerful questions–even for the Christian, is: Why should I trust God? You see, if we don’t trust God– the Source of all argument for theology, religion, morality, and faith–then we undermine those concepts altogether by claiming the Creator and Causality of such inquisition is scandalous, fake, and too ambiguous to be real, mighty, or supernatural. And if God isn’t who He claims to be– if He is not really with us today– then how can we trust Him with our lives

As a former atheist and current Christian, these questions are poignantly familiar to me, sinking right into home base with my history of disbelief years ago. The mystery of trusting the concept of a God was what instigated my departure from the Catholic church at age 11, when my parents divorced. After that, the mystery of trusting God became the seed for dark humor when I was about 14. The notion that God would do such horrible things–such as allow trauma, suffering, and death–did not match up with the type of loving God people seemed to profess that He was. How do you trust in a God who allows suffering and death? How do you trust in a God you can’t touch with your own hands—scream at while anticipating His reaction with heavy breathing and clenched fists? How do we come to try to understand this dilemma of the misunderstanding of God, and how He fits into the very relationship He calls us to be a part of? First, as I discovered, we must try to understand the context of God.

What is the space He lives in, and how does His presence and existence affect what is around Him? The Bible says God is love:

(1 John: 4:8) “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (italics mine)

The Bible gives an explicit example of the way He physically affects those around Him when anything of His true physical nature is revealed. When Moses came down the mountain after God had passed around Him– Moses’s face was literally glowing from exposure to seeing the backside of God (Exodus 33:18-34:9); not God’s face, no– His back. God warned Moses if he saw His face, He would die:

(Exodus 33:20) “But,” he said, “you cannot see my face. For no one may see me and live.”

If people would not survive witnessing God back in Moses’s day, surely they would not survive the experience today. Why is that? What is the nature of God? He is love. Then what is our nature–human natureWe are sinners.

How do we know we’re sinners? First, we have to define sin. The dictionary defines sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” One might think of “divine law” as represented by God’s ten commandments**, others might add that it refers to the Golden Rule (Mark 12:28-34). I refer to sin as the rebellion to, the transgression of, and the deliberate departure from– what God wants with us in our relationship with Him. Rebelling against His love is to resist it, living apart from its blessings.

When we don’t accept His love, many times that can be as simple as not thanking Him for the blessings in our lives (food, apartment/house, job, friends/family, etc.), and likely taking them for granted, rather than lifting them up with thanksgiving and gratefulness. We have a tendency to sometimes assume what we get in life, we just get, without recognizing them as blessings. Even the secularist must admit, however, that finding that random samaritan willing to help fix a flat tire is less likely to be someone who doesn’t believe in random, selfless acts of kindness without getting something in return. People hardly extend themselves without a scoff, sigh, or moan when their desire to do the deed derives their own esteem, or their own conditional supply of grace. Those who extend themselves with a smile on their face have a Source which they pull from, and this Source derives from faith in something bigger than themselves. For many, it’s the karmic belief in what comes around goes around. Others, holding to a more eternal perspective, understand loving others is their way of loving the Creator of existence, time, space, purpose, love, and reason; they extend themselves from the reservoir of faith in that Creator, knowing that He bestows His gift of love on them constantly; in turn, their response is incorrigibly the desire to share that gift with others, which just so happens to be expressed in the form of the contagious attitude reminiscent of the character of Jesus: joyful, graceful, and unconditional.   

**(The Ten Commandments are a set of guidelines meant to help us stay intimately close with God, and in harmony with one another. Many unbelievers regard the ten commandments acrimoniously with repulsion and bitterness. Perhaps the commandments feel like an unnecessary scolding for choices and lifestyles we view as innocuous. The rules of the commandments, for many, don’t seem have any basis other than inconvenience. The question then becomes: Is convenience the way to God? Secondly, if we can explain the difference between our incomplete understanding of the need for the ten commandments, and the reason for which they were originally given–we may come to grasp the truth that the ten commandments are really just lifestyle principles God requested us to instill in our lives in order for us live more fully, not just indulgently. The question which may then arise is: Do we want to be close to a God who wants to feel close to us by providing a fuller life?)

When we resist His love, we are saying one or more of these:

  1. I don’t believe in His love
  2. I don’t need His love
  3. I don’t want His love
  4. I don’t deserve His love
  5. I can’t live up to His love

Resisting what God wants for us–as a fuller life–is to claim we believe God’s intentions are not aligned with the best version of what our life could be, and instead, wresting the control of our futures out from His hands, not seeking His help or involvement. If we can understand this as the reason for the mistake of missing out on our best life, then we can understand the waste and nuisance of denying the power of God, capable and willing to create the entire cosmos for our benefit. But, for those who adhere to denial, God continually reaches out with His love, hoping we’ll surrender our resistance and choose to see His intentions as they are; authentic and rooted in love.

How can the human race put trust in a God we can’t see with our physical eyes, nor touch with our hands? How do we know when or if He hears us–or if He does or doesn’t want to respond when we ask Him a question–or how He feels when we cry out to Him in frustration? Something critical to understand about our relationship to God is the significance of the differentiation between the way we need God, and the way God doesn’t need us. It’s the most beautiful dichotomy really, because God speaks and acts through what could be just as arbitrary to Him as choosing what color underwear to put on is to us: He chooses to love a species which cannot give Him anything other than praise and worship–because He is love. Do you follow me on that train of thought? God is love–meaning–He doesn’t have a limited amount of love to distribute in specific amounts to each component of creation He makes, careful not to run out—no, He IS love, so He has an infinite supply to give from. There are no bounds, no lengths, no limits– no measurements to God’s love. We could never fit God’s love into a math equation because it would break every rule in the book. God’s love is unlimited, permanent, and forever; powerful, unshakeable, incorrigible, and it’s a decision He’s already decided on.

Is it harder or easier to trust in a God, who, despite not needing us for anything–loves us more than all of creation? Does the truth of this explanation change anything in your heart, or help you see God’s love in a different light? God’s love isn’t just comprised of some words in the Bible, His love is real and–yes–tangible. Perhaps not from his hands or arms themselves–but through others; through nature, and through circumstances— God loves us constantly

In Part 2, I will touch on ways we can see God’s love for us through creation, how we can tie that back to trusting in Him, and I will close with an example from my personal life; an explicit example of God’s love for me in my life, and, consequently—proof of God’s for us as a species.

For now, I want to leave you with some questions to ponder for the sake of your own faith journey and spiritual life. When you think of God, how do you feel? Do you feel judgment, disappointment, and frustration? Do you feel as though God only comes to you or answers you when you’re “performing well”? How do you feel God sees you as His child? How do you define the concept of God’s love in your life today, and what prevents His love from making more sense to you than it does right now? What would have to happen to cause you to consider the possibility that God loves you more than you can imagine, and that He wants you to accept that gift and let it transform your life? What is your response to an invitation like that?

May God bless you as you look inside yourself to discover these answers, growing towards freedom from confusion and the entanglement of the lies of the world and the enemy. I’ll see you in Part 2! 

Trust