What do I believe?
This seems like a strange question to ask of myself. My beliefs are firm & unshakable (trust me I’ve tried), yet there are things I need to ask myself about within that.
I believe God is real, I believe the bible is true, I believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. I believe Jesus died on the cross & paid the price for the sins of mankind, I believe 3 days later he was raised from the dead & conquered death, I believe that we are saved by grace by confessing ours sins & believing in Jesus. So all in all, that would make me a Christian.
I could & possibly should just stop there & move on. However, the label of Christian is one that I have subconsciously been uncomfortable with over the last 8 years since I began my walk. Why is that when it is clearly what I am? I think it comes from the perceptions & hang-ups & had about a religion that I learned to despise in my formative years.
There are 2 things that deep down I think concern(ed) me. 1st is authenticity, there are some many people in the church at large, leaders & congregation that are simply going through the motions. Even worse they are faking it at church, they put on a happy smiley face & pretend everything is ok but inside they are a broken mess & their lives are falling apart. Instead of dealing with their issues in what should be the safest place in the world to do that they hide from them.
The 2nd issue is masculinity, when I think (thought) of a Christian man, I honestly thought of a complete wuss. A wimpy middle aged white guy wearing a cardigan, following a wimpy white hippy version of Jesus. This is not the man I am & not the Jesus I know, so I would describe myself differently, not as a Christian but as a believer or follower of Jesus Christ, a Holy Spiritualist etc. There is a big problem with men not being men in church these days, this is one of the things my band of brothers are studying & learning to deal with this year.
The thing is, I am a Christian, I try my level best to be authentic & transparent & I am a real man. I am not some watered down you have to be meek & mild guy, that is not who Jesus was either. He was strong, a great leader & the most wonderful wordsmith ever. So as I go through this journey I am going to try to wear my “label” of Christian proudly, to be an example, with my brothers, to other guys. The church needs men to step up & be men, I will not shirk that calling or that responsibility.
Wow, this has taken a different turn than what I had been deliberating & delaying over writing this week. You see, since I decided to dive into the main aspects of my life, I knew this was the 1st one I needed to do. The thought of why are you doing it, what if people reject it, why put it on your blog etc. These negative thoughts have been attacking me. These thoughts do not come from me, they are the devil at work. That brings me to something that I need to be honest with.
I believe the bible is true, however I believe human interpretation of it is inherently flawed because it is being done by humans – see the people who want me to believe the earth is 6000 years old, It’s not I am well aware of that. I do believe God created evolution, in his own sweet time. The infinite God who is outside of time & space does not measure things using the earth’s clocks.
Anyway, if I believe the bible is true, then I also have to accept something are true that I don’t necessarily like. Such as the devil, demons & real evil, I’m not necessarily good with that, but it is what it is. These are things I cannot hide from because that is exactly where the father of lies wants to get me. There are other aspects of the bible I struggle with, especially the old testament. I am not good with genocide, on any level. I love that as a society, the world at large no longer things of genocide as socially acceptable. Think about it, only a few hundred years ago it was ok to wipe out entire nations for your own cause. Today the world won’t stand for it, we might move slowly with all the political BS, but at least the world moves to take action now, instead of almost applauding & saying well done like in centuries gone by.
Anyway, these are my beliefs & they stand me well. Now if you have read this far, thank you, if you have different beliefs than me, I wonder if you are asking the same things I have asked of myself. Such as, what makes you so sure? What if you’re wrong?
I suppose that is where faith comes into the picture. I am quite sure that there are people from other religions, probably all religions, atheists & whatever else, that have had their life profoundly affected by their beliefs similarly to how I have. I accept that it is entirely possible that I am wrong. The thing is, I don’t believe because of the promise of eternal life or heaven or any of the life after death stuff. If that is true (and I believe it is) then for me that is the bonus. For me this is all about life before death. My life is infinity better with Jesus at the center of it that it is without; I know I’ve tried it both ways. So I respect everyone’s right to their own beliefs. I won’t try to force my beliefs on anyone else but I am willing to share with those who are interested. Hopefully my light will shine well enough that that people see the Jesus in me & make their choice to investigate. I love people regardless of race of religion etc. it is absolutely not my place to judge.
For me though, I will believe & I will walk the walk & talk the talk, because at this stage in my life, if there is one single thing that defines who I am, it is that I am a saved believer, I have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, I am the adopted brother of Jesus Christ (one of many) & I have no shame in that. I will spend the rest of my life working with Him to become what He already sees in me & has since the day I invited him into my life.
I leave you with this, the author is unknown but the story is that it was written by a young African man who was martyred after refusing to renounce his faith:
The fellowship of the unashamed
I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.
My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.
I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!