FROM MY SPIRITUAL JOURNAL:
These are my thoughts and reflections from one of my journal entry several years ago (2004). These words continue to be experientially to true to me.
The Bible is full of ugly stories, because it is about human beings and sin and darkness. But the miracle of the Bible is that it tells us the raw, ugly stories, but it also shows us how the Grace of God invades those ugly situations and brings something beautiful out of them.
I am a Christian who at times would really enjoy getting together with a few Christian men to have a great time – to talk, to break bread together, drink a few beers, or wine, to smoke a few cigars – affirming the words of Charles Spurgeon,”I spoke cigars for the glory of God”. Wow! Awesome!
Together being real about our uglyness, our many sins that we still struggle with and fighting against, while at the same by the Grace and Mercy of God through Christ experiencing freedom from legalistic-moralistic religious perspectives; through the means of preaching the Gospel to ourselves! Why? Because we are still sinners – yes, I still struggle with my pride, lust, hypocrisy ect. therefore, I still need a Great and Perfect Savior as a Christian.
Regarding disputable matters based upon personal convictions and matters of personal conscience – expressing grace, compassion, acceptance and understanding to each other as Godly imperfect men. Reflecting and applying Romans Chapter 14; and in 1Corinthians 6 Verse 12, the context deals with sexual immorality, but this verse is an excellent biblical passage that can be properly apply to areas of disputable matters such as masturbation, drinking alcohol, smoking cigars or cigarette, going to the movies or to the beach, going to an Art show that may display nudity, reading secular books, listening to secular music, going to a party, a man having long hair or earings, playing games such as lottery, sports, sexual positions within the context of marriage, kissing or physically caress when you are dating and other such matters of personal conscience. Many other disputable matters that many legalistic Christians and their legalistic preachers make these as “laws/rules” and impose them upon the conscience of literally hundreds of sincere Christians. In other words, The Letter Kills (law) , But the Spirit Gives Life (grace).
And as Godly imperfect men, having our non-christians male friends join our gatherings, not to preach at the them but to really have them witness and experience real christian spirituality among men, who are not perfect, not legalistic or moralistic; who are truly by the Grace of God able to talk, eat, drink, laugh, or cry with other non-christian male who may not hold to same views or values because they are the so-called “great sinners”, or those “worldly people”, and of cause we are “not”! We really need to step out of the box of the “christian culture” and by the Grace of God engage in life and enjoy all the gifts from GOD such as: take a walk in the Park, read poems, go to a musuem, mentor a young boy or young man, or visit an old friend, write a letter, call a friend, ask your pastor what sins is he struggling with currently [confession is a gift from God, it’s good for the soul!], spend a day listening to different types of music, go to a party, dance the night away, e-mail someone, pray for someone, go and have some ice cream, think positive thoughts today, sing a few love songs to your girlfriend or wife , seek for several mentors in your life, it’s okay to be human – therefore enjoy your humanity, it’s okay to continue struggling with sin and fighting against sin (we live in the reality of Romans Chapter 6, 7, 8, at same time.) – Why? Because you are a sinner, I am a sinner – so therefore, as a sinner saved and kept by the Grace of God go run to your Savior, go to the Cross and live under the message of the Cross, find your rest in HIM , not in anything else including “helpful tips” to live a so-called “perfect-victorious” christian life. Again, accept your humanity – it’s okay to feel, to have feelings, or even deep emotions – to have fears, questions, doubts, or any other deep emotions of our soul. For me THE GOSPEL has enabled and empowered me to embrace my true humanity with all my deep emotions, which I struggle very often with them, while at the same time they are SIGNPOSTS FROM GOD TO ME to teach me real life lessons. For example for many years I have struggled with the Father issue, and at times still struggle with this because I was abandoned and rejected as an infant by my earthly father, and raised by a stepfather who was an alcoholic, a workaholic and emotionally detached. I never had a fatherly-bonding relationship, which still today somewhere deep inside of me I long for that – I really do, and sometimes I feel so hurt, so angry about not having a fatherly-bonding relationship – I really long for that – for that positive male role model in my life [I believe every men needs this]. At times I struggle with depression , discouragement, loneliness, anger, and fears, and other inner conflicts, regarding my many sins, my lack of “christian progress”, in my relationships – lack of real deep relationships Christ-centered, Male-bonding spiritual Friendships. I find myself affirming the words of David the Psalmist many times “THE DARKNESS is MY CLOSEST FRIEND” (Psalm88:18). In the past 12 plus years, I have a love and hate relationship with church life and almost everything that represent so-called Christianity, that in my view it’s all about a legalistic or moralistic oppressive spirituality which I am not able and do not want to live under that oppressive spirituality, a spirituality that is Christ-less,Cross-less, No Gospel. No Grace. No Mercy. No Realism. No Compassion. No Joy. No Peace! No Acceptance of Humanity No messy spirituality is acknowledged or accepted.
I am a Christian because of Christ, through Christ, on the basis of Christ work for me on the on Cross. HE opened my heart and my mind to Him at the age of 12, and HE continues to do that work in me, as I still struggle with my many sins, and often I have found myself loving my sins, more then my Savior, but nevertheless my Savior is not shock about this reality of my messy life. HE is a Faithful Savior to me, who continues to provide to me loving correction filled with Compassion, Love, Mercy and Truth. I am not the person I “should” or “must” be in the eyes of the christian Legalistic/Moralistic culture, but I am completely secure in my relationship with Christ and He enables and empowers me to live by Faith in Him, no matter what! Maybe sometimes the best thing to do, is not to do anything and just be yourself [myself] with all your many questions and struggles which the answers may not be a satisfaction to your soul, but Jesus Himself becomes my only satisfaction in my soul. The Christian Faith is full of Paradoxical Truths and filled with Mystery and it’s okay! Embrace the tensions of your biblical faith, because it will not remove Mystery in your Faith Walk, because you and I are living under God’s Grace and Mercy everyday through Christ – by the means of the Holy Scriptures, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Is a walk of faith towards an Object and that Object is CHRIST HIMSELF. So therefore, CHRIST is more important then all my / your questions. HE is bigger then my fears, HE is bigger and much stronger then my sin of lust, pride, and hypocrisy. HE is in my real life, in my messy life, in my messy spirituality filled with joys and sorrows , hopes and disappointments, sinfulness and goodness. HE is Faithful to me not because of my “progress” or “holiness”, or “goodness”, or even my imperfect “obedience”; HE is Faithful to me because of HIS CHARACTER AND WORK ON THE CROSS for all my sins, EVERY SINGLE SIN! HE extends His Complete 100% Forgiveness to You and I. Christ continues to transform and conform you and I into HIS IMAGE (not the “perfect sinless christian image”), but one who struggles with sins, and cries out “Lord Have Mercy On ME a Sinner”, ” Lord Increase My Unbelief.” or Lord I Need You As My Savior Today”.
I live today with Christ in my heart, while he reveals to me those sinful attitudes and actions that lies in my heart, and Christ in my mind, which he continues everyday to reveal to me my sinful thoughts and emotional conflicts within me. Christ is in me and with me in my DARK ROOM as my LIGHT in the midst of my darkness. I rejoice because I am completely secure in Christ, while still struggling with sin and growing in Godliness. Christ is my only anchor in my messy spirituality – I LOOK TO HIM, and I am able to be human, acknowledge my sinfulness, and move on and enjoy life with my hobbies and interests, such as praying, reading, writing, researching, mentoring, counseling, teaching, spending time with my wife, watching movies, talking walks in the park, bowling, eating great healthy food, talking to a friend, sending greeting cards, collecting postcards, drinking a beer or cup of wine, or sometimes smoking a cigar. Because of Christ, I have JOY, PEACE, and FREEDOM as I live everyday as HIS BELOVED CHILD. Laughing it’s okay. Crying it’s Okay. Being real is okay and being HUMAN is okay. Being an imperfect christian still loving Jesus imperfectly is okay!
By His Grace, For His Glory and for the good of your soul.”Quote: ” For in the Person of Christ, there is everything, and without the SON, everything is lost. Therefore, it is no small matter that without the Son, we should seek nothing and will find nothing either in heaven nor on earth, for then all is lost.” – Martin Luther(1483-1546)
December 7, 2013