Filled, Following, and Flurishing

Thoughts and journaling from a Christian, College student


Journal Like a Man

Interestingly enough, the title of this post is the most stinging cut I could take at myself. As you can most likely tell... the dates between the last post and the current is quite expansive, therefore I obviously haven't been doing what occured to me as defining a man. As pop culture would have me believe, writing in my diary/journaling, is a rather 13 year old girl thing of me to do, but i am stretching through that classification and reaching into what I think God has spoken to me and said: Journal Like a Man.

I had a pretty awesome expirience when sitting in church yesterday. When i say sitting in church I don't mean suburban or even American for that matter. I mean an 'underground' house church in China. I am almost certain that it is a risk to my own immigration status and to the security of the group, but they have been gracious enough to let me join. When you hear words like underground and chinese church, if you're in tune with God, it makes an excited chill run down your back, and you might think to yourself, "wow, that is exciting and fresh, if only I were in a church like that, i would really be on fire for worship, etc etc etc cliche cliche" The unfortunate part of that for me is that, it was exciting about the first two weeks. After that, my own underwhelment turned in to the monotony that was prevalent in a majority of the church expiriences of my life. There are obvious and distinctive causes for that, but the depth or lack there of, of feeling it causes can only be expressed as an emptiness that deeply impacts the fibre of any relationship with friends and family, and more specifically with God. The point of this prior rant was that God and I are not as close as i would like, and way more distant than he desires.

So, i am sitting in church, and temptation is just as real as outside the doors... disgust doesn't touch the feeling you get when discovereing how eternally damned i would be if it weren't for the Grace of God. As mentioned before, knowlege doesn't replace action, and that leads me to the meat of this entry. After the sermon, like every week, we broke into small groups to share how we feel about the sermon. I was relegated to the new comer group for a third straight week, not because of my new arrival status, but to accompany my wife as one of the ones to share the gospel with the new comers. This effectively gives me an opportunity to sit and think, because the rapidity of the conversation, mixed with the Chinese language, makes for a confused me. As i was sitting there, i began to understand very deeply the questions being asked. It took me into the book of James, and i began to explore the idea of Faith without works is dead. The idea that what i do, everythig that i have been saying is dead. I am a master of fully expressing an idea, or even representing my belief and putting it into relevant threads of thought that can be consumed by a seeker, and as they swallow it draws them closer to God. Albeit with out the feeling of the Holy Spirit ripping through me and pouring out the heart of God (which i have expirienced with utter joy) So as I was sitting I was thinking about why would you become a christian if it meant no change in your status as a human (question brought up by the girl we were sharing with, and a valid one) Accepting Jesus is a very special expirience in the changing of your status in front of the God of the Universe, but what does it mean in terms of your status in front of man. I understand the idea of justification and sanctification, but what does that look like from the seat of a non-christian, and what does it mean from the seat of Satan? From God's standpoint, we are cleansed, and he only sees us from outside of time and is waiting at the endpoint of our lives with the lense of Jesus first processing our filth, past and future, and filtering out imperfection (justification) but from the perspective of the fellow human who doesn't have the benefit of being outside time, and doesn't have the luxury of a Jesus lense through which to view us, what have we become, other than another religious follower? From my understanding, and what I explained to the girl who asked is that we are in a process of becoming more like christ (sanctification) But still, what doesn that mean, and what does that look like to someone that doesn't know who Jesus was, what he stood for, and what he did, which is ultimately Love. Additionally, How do we stop from sinning, which is essentially the opposite of perfect love, or according to the arrow missing the target definition of the Latin word Sin, missing the target of complete or ultimate love?

A special expirience started when God started to give me an image of what this means. Hitting a target in archery is not a minor task, but the entire goal of archery, in the same way that Love is not a task, but the entire goal of Chirstianity. How do you hone your skills and hit a target? First obviously, you have to have to see the target. How do you hit Love? First obviously you have to see Love, God is Love. The more you can expirience who God is (Love), the better you will be able to see the target and at least have an idea of where we are shooting. In fact, evey action that every human makes is the release of an arrow and the draw of the string for the next shot. Sometimes we even hit on the target, and you don't have to be a christian for that, you just have to release enough arrows blindly into a world that still contains the remnants of God's original splendor, you're bound to hit on love every once in a while, hence the ability for people to feel 'love' without ever knowingly expiriencing God. That is all good and well, but how can you become the Robin Hood of Love, splitting arrow after arrow as you drill further into the center of that target and Love pours from every fibre of action that you complete? Well first off Christ was the Robin Hood of Love, so forget it... but you can be one of his Merry Men. One part of every Robin Hood movie, no matter the year or format, is a scene of the peasents in the forest practising to become Robin Hood. Practicing... to become more like Christ, and olny after we have a clear picture of where our target is. I am not sure if you have ever actually released an arrow, our shot a gun, thrown paper at a trash can, etc. But the feeling of hitting the mark, after the rush of exhileration matched only by the swith surge of power of the arrow as it... THUD hits the mark, is unattainable elsewhere. That is the feeling of expiriencing Love, i am not a scientist, but i would venture a guess and say that the chemical and electrical reaction in the brain that occurs when you hit a target is similar, however miniscule and short lived, to that of a Father holding his son, a man holding his girl's hand for the first time, etc. The Joy of Love is Joy from God, and God's Joy is pure. That is now the only motivation I have to love. The exhileration of hitting the mark (if you're a hedonist) or the absence of desperation felt when the mark is missed (if you're a pessimist) is the only pure human motivation for becoming more like Christ.

How do we hit the mark? Basically every wise piece of information that you have gotten that makes you a Man of God. Read you're Bible (shine your light on the target), Go to church, Do good deeds (Target Practice), listen to sermons/read books (listen to others methods of how they hit the target, and apply it to yourself) don't get consumed by the world (Don't shoot at imaginary or distorted targets, created to be a distraction) Again from Robin Hood: remeber when Maid Marian blows on his ear as he releases? Target missed. The distraction and pull from the true target feels nice becuase your body thinks it is hitting the mark, but is hitting what are actually fake targets. for example a fake target the world generates is the target of achieving love through sex, and the acceptance of porn. Does porn seem like Love? you are absolutely and completely hating not only whomever you are looking at, but everyone that will follow into that industry, and promoting the rape and molestation of society, that is now so prevalent due to the availability and praise of gratification that oozes from the sores of porn. In addition to blatent and clear missing of the mark, there are less distinguished but equally dangerous feaux targets being slapped on every surface of our lives. Before you take the shot, think whether it truly is Love that you are shooting at. Inaction, or wasteful action is also just the missed opportunity to hit the target and gain that euphoria of hitting the center. How do we become motivated to Love? If I knew the answer to that i would write a novel and make millions, but since we are rockin out in a blog, let's give it a shot (pun intended).

The best I can come up with, is to keep firing at the target (first illuminate the target) The reason I like to take my shotgun out and shoot clay pidgeons isn't the bruise it leaves on my shoulder, but the orange dust that powders the air after a well placed shot. I don't release an arrow for the welt left on the wrist, but the THUNK. I don't go bowling so I can wear someone else's shoes, but for the chaotic crash of ten swirling pins. Now, i don't open the bible because i love to lay arround and read, but because the fulfilment and rush of true Love, of becoming like Christ. This is a fundamentally new approach to the way i look at life, and this entry marks the first true realization of this in my life. Hopefully, the following post are new ways to illuminate the target, practice hitting the target, and the record of bulls-eyes as i live a life for the rush of Love, and Journal like a Man.