Hello friend, it’s been awhile.
So one of the greatest challenge about the pandemic for me, is not only dealing with the grief I have to live with regarding the loss of my boyfriend but as well as faith. You see, when you are now faced with death, you ask “Where did he go?”, “Where will I go?”, “How do I get there?” and “Does it matter?” which all points to the supernatural.
I was very saturated with the concept of Born-Again Christianity, and I have always wrestled with it, going from atheism, agnosticism to back to being a believer once again (Thanks to Ravi Zacharias’ book “Who made God?”) so for me, God cannot be taken out of the equation, the concept of heaven, hell and sin exists, and the Bible, is the guide for us to get to the end game.
But I have been influenced more by the people around me about God than me pursuing Him, from people telling me what not to do, to the church expecting me to follow a template of a human being. This created a lot of conflict in me, about who I am and who I am supposed to be. There are “hypothetical contradictions” in my life that prayer did not change and my heart found peace with that other people could not — and even finds it a need for me to conform to their world and religion vs my personal faith. For a time, I used to think God spoke through these people. I respected them and their words are very important to me. Then, in my meditation about King Saul, I realized how his focus on these external practices cannot cover for what’s really in our hearts, in their hearts. Their need for external recognition does not honor God, it is how we love others that do.
I’m reminded about the last verse of 1 Corinthians 13
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
You see, among the three, love should be the one abundant as Christians, above faith, and above hope. True Christians know that hope without love is wishful thinking, faith without love is just religion and faith and hope together without love is just fanaticism.
I realized after creating a more quality time about reading: I understood at last, true faith should not be forced down my throat by anyone else, a true Christian wouldn’t. I have felt more of God by the people who spoke in love than in faith, and my faith is determined by me, my relationship, my experiences and my understanding. God is alive and not limited by a book and how much time you read that book.
Do I feel I can’t be wrong? Absolutely not. I believe anyone can give me counsel about their experience, but what makes me understand who to listen to is those who speak with love. People who prefer to speak the brutal truth are obviously more concerned about brutality than speaking truth. There is no God in them evidently, only knowledge and elitism.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”1 Cor 13:1
Who likes listening to clanging cymbals after all?
There are people who will create dissonance between you and God claiming to be messengers. Like how Saul as king seemed like the representative of God during his reign. Make no mistake, it is wisdom to know what to listen to. No person is above God, there are only those who think they are the voice of God. Solomon, the wisest king has been blessed by God with wisdom, yet he plunged the kingdom to ruin in the end. I’m sure the people cannot blame Solomon for their worship of other gods in Heaven, after all it is their decision, knowledge and own personal experience. So likewise, with us, God is not limited to the people in authority.
So this marks my journey where I intentionally consider a sermon as but a guide, not a law. Counsel as advice, not a command and my faith as my own, not borrowed. There are multiple kinds of Christians in this world, most of them will bring you down. Perhaps, after all the sin they have indulged and have satisfied, they now believe they are much holier because they found redemption and you should not be able to afford the same redemption timespan as them. Their religion dictates only the selected get to be redeemed, and everyone that will not be obedient is damned to hell. Well, your journey might not as comfortable and confirming what theirs is already but your journey of faith is your own friend, don’t let anyone take it away from you. Let it happen, live it.
There are still good people of faith though, you just have to know to identify them from the counterfeit ones: Don’t find God in the proud, find him in the broken and humbled. There you will understand love like no other.
I hope you too someday find the time to listen to what God has to tell you rather than listen to people about what their fear is telling them. There is a heavy weight the fear of people has, to let it stay in your heart. Let it go, live free.