Selfishness


Unfortunately in most churches selfishness is quite overrated. This may seem like a bold statement but it will make sense as I explain. In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus said, “‘30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” We are to love others as much as we love ourselves. Obviously we must love ourselves. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself. Nothing is wrong with wanting good things for yourselves. In fact Jesus even motivates us to work hard because we know that we will receive a reward [Colossians 3:23-24]! This is often what churches label selfishness: wanting good things for yourself. But if you think about it, this view doesn’t really make sense.

Sinful selfishness is when you are selfish to the point of being unloving. This is evident in the commandment Jesus quoted, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sinful selfishness is when you love yourself more than your neighbor to the point of doing something or taking something in an unloving way. Sinful selfishness is when I take the last cookie and consciously know that others have not had a cookie. ‘Righteous’ selfishness is when I take the last cookie after making sure every one who wanted one got one.

 

Dating and Relationships


Dating. God has created us to enjoy spending time with someone we like and love (and I will possibly post on differentiating between the two). Dating is a good thing, assuming that you are gong about the relationship in a godly biblical way. There is nothing wrong or sinful about dating (1 Corinthians 7:28). Why am I bringing it up if there is nothing wrong with it? Short answer: dating is not always necessary. Not just dating, any relationship could be unnecessary.

Let me back up a little. About a year ago I began investigating dating, specifically dating in highschool. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that for most (and I believe that “most” means a strong percentage of teenagers) dating in highschool is unwise. Not just unnecessary, but unwise. I eventually gave a speech about it to my peers. Further, I decided that I would not date in highschool. Well, right around the time I gave my speech I began to become attracted to someone. I guess God was really testing me ( The do you walk your talk? test). He has not only been testing me, He has been teaching me. The past 6-8 months I have struggled with my feelings, asking questions: Is it necessary in my life and how far do you want me to stay away? All that too say (for my first point) a relationship may not be necessary (Hebrews 12:1- “Let us throw off everything that hinders”). There is nothing wrong with a relationship, but it is not always God’s timing. To prove my point, let’s dig a little deeper.

Let’s pretend I had dated her. I would have had a great relationship and it would  have most likely been an enjoyable time. However, it would have been unnecessary. If I had dated her, I probably wouldn’t have had the time to start a Bible study that impacted one of my friends greatly. Further, I still would have had a good relationship with the Lord, but some of my attention would have been divided (1Corithians 7:34). My conclusion: it is necessary to think prayerfully as to whether it is God’s timing. The relationship may be unnecessary in the moment.

Second point: if that person is “the one”, God in His sovereignty will bring you together*! I will use myself as an example again. I have just moved a couple hours away; because of this I have struggled with whether or not I should keep in touch with her. When visiting a church the pastor said, “You can’t live by faith if you are serving your feelings.” Case in point: God will bring you to the person He wants you to marry, if you are searching His will. When you are serving your feelings it can be easy to “force” a relationship. That being said, if the girl I like is God’s plan for me, He will bring us together in His own timing.

This year, by trial and fail (and hopefully success) I have learned that many things which are good may be unnecessary in the present; and that God’s wisdom and timing are greater than mine (1 John 5:9).

*- The topic of whether or not there is one person God has chosen for you is a debated subject. I think that if you have faith that God will bring you to the person He wants, He will do it. Sometimes it is easy to think God always works the same way twice, and so we try to predict Him. I don’t think that He has a written code on this subject. I think He is looking for a humbled heart.

Music


Why is it that everyone loves music? We all do. Everyone has had that one song that just makes them want to take on the day. Why is it that every time we listen to a song it stirs emotions in us that were not there before? I think that this is because we were created to worship. We have been made in such a way that our emotions have been tied to our being. We were made to enjoy life (John 10:10), and most of us enjoy music. God created music, singing and sound so that we could worship Him (Psalms 40:3). This is why, I believe, we are stirred so emotionally when we listen to music. God created music for us and created us to enjoy music so that worship would be a thing to enjoy! Music plucks the strings of our emotions. The longest book in the Bible is the book of Psalms which is filled with music. It is the book of music. Do you not think that God values our worship?! We were made to enjoy music and to worship God (Psalms 100:2) through our enjoyment of music.

*- Music is not the only way to worship, however, it is one of the big ways to worship.

Declarations….C.S.Lewis


To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.” – C.S. Lewis

Holiness


Many times holiness and “perfect living” seem a little daunting, and maybe even boring. Why would anyone want to follow the 10 commandments. Besides the fact that God commands us to, why would you want do it? My sister proposed a very good idea to answer this question.

Suppose you are a musician. For some of you this may not apply, so for those of you who aren’t musicians just pretend you play the radio. You, being the musician that you are, have multiple instruments you can play. But your favorite one is the saxophone. You love playing it, especially in the evening. One day your parents come over to visit. As the day nears to an end you start to play your saxophone. After you have played for a while you notice that your dad is plugging an ear. It is the ear that he has a hearing aid in. You realize that the noise is hurting his ear, because your music is ringing and screaming too loudly in his ear. At this point you have a choice. You can either continue playing your music, hurting your father, and just pretend you don’t notice the pain on his face; or you can stop and kindly suggest to do something together a little more quiet.

This illustration is an everyday example of our activities in life. Everyday we do our habits, sometimes without even thinking; and some of those habits are sinful. God our Father is sensitive to sin. Because He is Holy, He cannot be with sin. When we sin, our sin separates us from Him; and because He wants to be with us, our sin hurts Him. Then we come to a choice. We can stop sinning because we love our Father and we don’t want to see him in pain (pain that may even compare to the pain God endured while Christ was on the Cross), or we can continue in our habits of sin. And when we continue, we not only hurt God but we also hurt ourselves.

So, out of love for our Heavenly Father, we should strive to be holy. But to be holy we must understand what it means.

Holiness is obeying God:

loving one another as He loved us

even when it’s against our own interests

sharing His love, even when it is inconvenient

finding ways to help those in need

holiness consists in thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills

When you give yourself wholly to God, He will make you wholly holy. Holiness is obeying God.