Belief: How are you Be:Living?

I was challenged tonight by a statement.
Are we living what we believe?

Because what we believe should ultimately shape and determine how we live.

Let me illustrate for you with a couple of hypothetical examples. If Gretchen believed that the sky was purple, that would ultimately change the way she lived. When the weather man says “Blue skies are forecast for tomorrow”, it would hold a very different meaning than it does for us. If her teacher asked her to paint a landscape with the trees, hills and birds in the sky, Gretchen will live out her belief in her painting in a different way to the rest of us.

Or take Billy for example. Now Billy believes that water is toxic. So toxic, that if he touches he will surely perish. Billy will interact very differently with his environment than the rest of us. At the beach, he will keep well away from the lapping waves. On a rainy day, he would stay indoors at all cost, and jumping in puddles is an absolute No-No.

How do we as Christian’s live out what we believe? Are we truly believing in something if we don’t live like we believe it whole heartedly? If we believe in Christ, would we not live and follow in every footstep He commanded us to?

Food for thought. Don’t drink the water.

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Selfless State

At the heart of the gospel is a continuing message of Love.
Mark 12:29-31 says this:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Jesus calls us to firstly, love God.

And secondly love each other.

He gives us guidelines for how to love each other as well. In this verse he says we should love others as we love ourselves. I believe that Jesus here is making a big statement on the human condition. First and foremost, he is giving us something we can all relate to as to the level of love that is expected when we engage with other people.

But deeper of that, he is also making comment on our selfish tendencies as humans to love ourselves before we love others.

Lately I have been trying to view life in a selfless state. In a effort to truely die to self, I have been consciously putting other’s needs and desires before my own. I’m not saying it is easy, and I think part of it is intrinsically linked with being a human and preserving your own life, but I also feel that we as the society have taken it too far.

Society is focussed around being an individual, who you are as a person. Its about commodities and getting the latest and greatest for yourself. Making yourself look good in front of the friends you do have.

Would not the world be a greater place if we stopped kidding ourselves about what is important in this life and began by blessing each other with each other’s love? With God’s love? Is that not how God intended us to live – not for ourselves, but for each other? Why else does God place more importance on Love, than he does on things like hope, and even faith? (1 Corinthians 13:13)

It is easy to love ourselves. It requires extra effort to love others.

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It was early morning. I’d just gotten up and was pleased to see the rarified sun streaming in through my window. I got up, dressed and ready for work. I journeyed over the Wainui hill to where I work. As is usual for brisk winter mornings, Wainui was dowsed in fog. Yet only moments before the sun was providing much needed edge removal of the cold air.

It then occurred to me as I watched people on the street, walking to the bus, school or work, wrapped up warm and trudging through the fog, that they were blissfully unaware that just over the hill was a world bathed in sunshine.

Its a bit like God’s love. We can get caught up in all the things that get us down. We can be caught in our own sorrows. But there is the sunshine of God’s love trying to break through – all we have to do is travel half way over the hill.

Once you rise above the storm clouds, there is always sunshine waiting.

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Self/Glory

Tonight I was challenged by Rob Bell’s ‘Tomato’ DVD from his Nooma series.

Why are we so obsessed with being right? Why do we have this mentality of doing things that will suit us, and let others fall by the wayside? This constant struggle to create our own identity rather than being concerned about others. The self glory of it all became a revelation.

When I think of “Glory”, I think of honour being bestowed upon someone else. For their achievements and for their efforts.

God has the perfect example of what Glory is. He gave his only Son, condemmed to die for all of our sins. It was not for Him that He did this, but instead, for us; sinners. And through this, we can give Him Glory.

Why do we not see this as the example? The self glory we seem to give ourselves for what we do and how we think of ourselves is not what this is about. We should be humbling ourselves and uplifting, encouraging and loving others.

God gets His glory because of what He’s done for us, not what He did for Himself.