Thursday, June 26, 2008

Relationship Theories: The Getting Over You Stage

I’ve rationalized and come up with theories about dating relationships. I have future aspirations to write several books and one will be one on dating, not a irrelevant, unrealistic, God opens the sky and shows you your soul mate-type dating book, but a rational dating book that is completely backed by Biblical truths, not emotions. So in all these thoughts and great theories I have I am still perplexed by the enigma of the “getting over it” stage. How does one attain this great glory of being over something, heartbreak, or a lost friend? I’m in an interesting position right now with this because I’m the source and victim at the same time. Let me explain. There is one person who is having a really hard time getting over me, but at the same time I’m having a rough time getting over another person. So as I counseled this girl on how and why she should get over me, I drew a blank, I had to say, “I don’t know how you will, but you will, and you will be able to look back and say that was a good time of my life, but not miss it or desire it again.” When will this advice become a reality for me? At what point will my hands stop going numb when I think of her, when will I not compare every other woman to her, when will I just wash my hands of it all and get over it? I can’t quite figure that stage out yet.

So rather than focus on the small world of dating relationships, I will take a larger view of relationships in general, starting with that between God and man. The results of this relationship affect every relationship in life. The brokenness of man is a direct affect of his broken relationship with God. Murder, drugs, loneliness, depression, disease, war, famine, rape, stealing, divorce, these are all effects caused by that broken relationship. So how does man get over this brokenness? Does man even know it is there? Intellectually the thought may not, for the majority of populations I’d argue, be in the back of their mind, but I think that same feeling I get every time I think of her, my hands going numb, we feel as we continue to experience the effects of the broken relationship and wonder why. The reality of it is man must go and reconcile this relationship with God, the problem is that we cannot. God, in all His power and love, provided the sacrificial system He had created out of love for Israel a solution and a way the entire world could have a reconciled relationship with Him. He gave us a chance to get it right, to fix the broken relationship. He will accept all who come, so man is always sure he will be offered a reconciled relationship.

I think I may have just had an epiphany about all of this though. This has been a really hard thing to write about because it’s something that is current and I am going through. It’s always easier to write about the past and how God delivered you, it gets hard when you have to admit the struggle in the moment. I was just emailing back and forth with my sister and just stopping to think about all this and I just had a little moment of liberation from this, my hands don’t feel numb (for now)! The reality is that man is sinful. There is really only one absolute in life, God. Because of this absolute another absolute is true, man is sinful by nature. So the other person will not always accept you. I think that is the part that hurts most when people break up, when the relationship is broken, rejection is hard to deal with. So once you get an honest answer from the other person that they are not willing to accept you then you have to work on your emotions. That sounds really harsh, “they are not willing to accept you,” but it is not meant to be. In the case where a girl is having a rough time getting over me, I am not willing to accept her and work on a intimate relationship with her, because of that it is easy for me to not think about it because I made that decision. I told her this and hopefully it will help her. So once it is clarified, with no emotions or sin, when someone says they are not willing to work on a relationship with you or accept you into one it cannot be motivated by anything but truth, so no I’m mad right now so no, this is hard so no, I am worried about me only so no responses are allowed. Once one gets a true, non emotional, pure answer of are you willing to accept me into a relationship, then they can deal with the emotions. In my case I am not sure if I got a clear answer so I am playing games with my head by relying on my emotions.

May you get over it, in a mature, loving, way, not relying on emotions, but truth. The reality is not everyone is willing and we cannot change people, we just have to get clear answers and in that we are able to move on. God is love, man is broken, and acceptance of this helps you understand why broken relationships hurt so much. We get to feel what He felt, rejection and pain. Glorify in that suffering because we are able to empathize a little with the Almighty. This is the final chapter of my thoughts on relationships, I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure them out and I think I have good principles, but must realize that they will always be principles and I will go through pain even though I have an explanation of why. So for those of you out there heart broken, may you run to Him for acceptance and know He is love, He is pure, He is accepting, and you can rely on Him to allow you to reconcile the relationship of the great break up (the fall).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Confidence

I was flicking through channels tonight and ran across a disturbing yet inspirational scene of a movie. The movie is, “Just Friends” The scene I stumbled across was of a guy sitting on top of a girl in anger yelling, “Life’s not about making people like you, manipulating them and stalking them, it’s just being who you are and putting yourself out there, and moving on!” Obviously this is said within the context of a dating relationship, which I could totally allow myself to get into because of all my opinions of that due to recent events, but will spare you for now. This thought carry’s over into life outside of dating as well. I think it carries into every relationship, whether it is just friends, dating, parental, professional, and church (not the building, the universal body).

Jesus calls us to be reborn and operate out of a totally different center, set of values, and live life abundantly, This can only be accomplished by following Him and His ways, more than just religion, I mean the nitty gritty stuff too, forgiving, loving your enemy, abstaining from immorality, putting others before yourself, humility, and giving stuff way(money and life). This can only be accomplished by having Christ as your center, He now dictates the way you make decisions and live life. We are to have no confidence in our flesh, but in Christ. The flesh is referring to our original nature, the person we were born, our original set of values and ways. So Jesus wants us to put our confidence in Him. By putting our confidence in Him we should be confident in how He affects us and the things we choose to (and not to) do. Our confidence is now placed in those things, thus we can go around life confident in who we are. Confidence does not desire affirmation. Confidence is having hope in something within, not a distant third party of factor. So many times we go through life trying to impress certain people, gain their affirmation or approval. Is this not down right discouraging and almost depressing? We go to great lengths to try to get them to like us, but sometimes they just don’t and because our expectation was to try to make them like us, when they don’t we are crushed. We are crushed because our hope or confidence was not in ourselves, it was in their response. Twisted right? Think about it though, when’s the last time you were hurt by some kind of relationship?

If our confiedence is in who we are in Christ then what others say or think should not dictate our happiness or the way we act. No longer will outside forces regulate us because our confidence is not in that, it is in us, in Christ, who dwells in us. So may you be confident in who you are, who Christ has made you, and roll through life full of hope in Him, not others. If you don’t know Christ may you seek Him, don’t just listen to me or other people who call themselves Christians, check it out for yourself. You don’t have to believe what I do, but it is foolish to not even look into it. May you find who you are in Christ, know who He is and be confident in that.

Update, laundry, and white kicks

So I’m sitting here on a Sat night doing laundry, sitting in my new white kicks (new dc loafer looking one’s, they are hot for sure) thinking I should write an update blog and then post some things I’ve been wanting to work on for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to. So without further ruckus…drum roll….applause…distant screams of “I love you!”…lighters waving back and forth…here is the update:

I must apologize for being a poser first. My blog has been slacking lately, partially due to my schedule and life being crazy and partially because I feel bad pouring out what I’ve not filled up (I’ll explain later). Well, I am moving to another apartment downtown. I was going to move into a sweet duplex in a cool artsy part of town called Fountain Square but the guys at last minute backed out of the deal. Meanwhile I had already put in my 60 day notice with my apartment. MY apartment is gorgeous, great view, and only two blocks form the center of the city, so needless to say, it went very fast. I called my apartment complex once the duplex deal fell through and they had already leased my place effective June 30. Basically I has three weeks to find a place to live, of course, trying to stay downtown, this created some uncomfortable circumstances. Downtown Indy is funny and beautiful because of the dilemma I ran into though. You can find posh pads for some serious cheese or right next door find a mess of a dump for cheap change. Both are great locations, but only one is worth living in without getting some kind of hepatitis without having to sell your leg to afford it. Well, I prayed God would just drop something in my lap (if you know me, you know I didn’t sit around and just wait on God though), but ran around town frantically trying to make things happen anyways. I had come to the point of joking about being homeless June 30 and almost just given up hope, but something (God) told me to just ride around downtown after the gym one night to clear my head. So I’m riding around a really cool artsy part of downtown (the Northeast Quad) and saw this gnarly looking old brick building, it just had one of those urban old school looks to it. I called the number the next day and found out it was a two bedroom right in my price range. My friend Zack and I looked at it and it was perfect, everything brand new inside, new wood floors, carpets in bedrooms, huge walk in closets (which is perfect for my huge wardrobe), and most of all within walking distance of everything important to my life (besides my little brother, Tank). So, next weekend I’m moving again, I hate moving, but at least I’m not the Bunso’s… If you know them then that is very funny, but if not ignorance is bliss ey? The Lord provided the perfect place in the perfect time even though I was stressed out to the max (my own fault due to lack of faith) waiting for Him.

I’m still in school at Crossroads Bible College. I’m entering my fourth and final semester and will be done taking classes in December, looking to walk in May. I’ll graduate with a BS, my degree is called Biblical Leadership and Ministry. What will I do with that, I have no clue, I feel God is really calling me to plant a church in an urban area, so the degree doesn’t matter to me, I just enjoyed learning and equipping myself better to serve Him more effectively. I guess the degree helps to be recognized by those who do care about it though. I’m steady taking notes of new things God is teaching me or convicting me of (more of the latter though). I’m meeting all kind of men and women who love the Lord and are passionate about Him, I get so excited when I meet new people excited about following Jesus and leading others to Him, it makes me feel like I’m finding the kind of people the Bible describes as followers of Christ. I’m keeping a notepad full of names and contact information from different guys I meet up here, I’m a huge advocate of paying attention to people who you cross paths with, I think God specifically allows me to meet certain people for future opportunities.

I have finally come to point of admission and surrender with God again on this college ministry stuff. I have avoided it for so long, fearful of failure, doubting my ability to lead, full of confusion and selfishness, but realized I was not looking toward Him to lead me in this, but myself and thus come all the fears and doubts. I have no clue what it looks like practically. I have dreams about it, I have fantasies about what a group of young people seeking Jesus looks like, but who knows how it will play out up here. College students are the most difficult group of people to deal with in my opinion. They are full of passion and opinions, but lacking the motivation and responsibility to actually do something with all that potential. I am praying God just continues to burden my heart for those who don’t know Jesus, have been scarred by the American flavor of church, bruised by Christian marketing, and met the bastard alternative to following Jesus called religion. To guide someone who has no religious background to understanding/comprehension of who Jesus is and what that means is a beautiful mess that I’m excited to dive straight into. Hands shaking, palms sweaty, stomach in knots, heart racing, but faith leading the way and fears just following. That’s my outlook on it all right now.

I’m coming back to Jacksonville/Tampa August 15-23. Hopefully I can catch up with friends and family. I’ve really realized how much I miss family and a close knit group of friends by living up here, but also how much I enjoy and am challenged by meeting new people in Indy.

So I’ll update those of you who care with my new mailing address and contact info once I move in. I really hope this blog is more than cheap entertainment for you, I hope it challenges you to love and learn about Jesus more, and really hope it makes you feel what I feel, see what I see, and keep in touch. Email me sometime, I love getting emails or Facebook wall posts. Miss you guys, keep grinding for Jesus!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Flowers & Theology

“I’m 61 and I’ve never had flowers!” she says. What a sad reality. My small group met with a beloved lady on Saturday night to cook dinner and just spend time with. She is a great woman of God and has inspired anyone who crossed her path. Her name is June, she has to be the strongest person I’ve ever met, her faith casts a huge shadow over mine and her story inspires me to walk like she walks with Jesus. When we first started IMC, she started coming over from the Barton House, a big apartment building across the street and has been one of the most faithful attendees since. Every Sunday she rolls through our doors with joy in her heart and circumstances behind her. She has cancer. She’s been through it all, being bald, growing back the hair, not being able to walk, etc. At one point there were a couple of guys who went over to her apartment to pray over her and the next doctor’s appointment she had there was a miracle. This isn’t us being crazy or unrealistic, it really happened. The doctor did a scan and could not find this cancer anywhere in here body. Since then her hair has grown longer, her face has brightened up more lives than she knows and she had steadily inspired others to love Jesus. Recently they found out she has stage 4 terminal cancer again and it is back with a passion. So she may not have that long, at least the doctor’s say. Well, my small group decides we will go over, cook her favorite food, tacos, and just spend time with her. She mentions she needs some towels so people go shopping and get her towels. So when we show up Saturday we meet her with love, tacos, towels and flowers. It was wonderful to see a group of people spend time with her just because Jesus’ love resides in them.

Every woman deserves flowers, so I buy her some flowers. It is amazing how simply a gesture has such a great impact. All day Sunday she told everyone how sweet we were for cooking her dinner, cleaning up, laughing, telling stories, and above all, bringing her flowers. Maybe it’s the fragrance or the beauty that so touched her, but obviously this made a big impact. Another friend came over to hang out too. He was a man addicted to drugs and alcohol, but loved by Ms June. She chased him down and told him about Jesus for a while, until he started coming to IMC, hearing about Jesus and eventually said he wanted to follow Him, got baptized, and the rest is history. Me being as analytical and reflective as I am, leave that night full of thoughts but more than anything encouragements.

So as we talked about everything from falling down while trying to dance to our interpretation of spiritual gifts I noticed one thing. I was telling my friend about this when we were running and all I could sum it up with was this, “If you put these two people in a class with me (I attend a Bible college) their heads would probably spin around, but they have some of the best theology I’ve ever heard or seen.” Basically I came up with this. These two people have had hard lives, full of pain, but are following Jesus. They don’t have a very affluent lifestyle, honestly, by most standards they would be considered below average, but they are beyond wealthy in my eyes. They have had to internalize all this stuff they read in the Bible, all this stuff they learn about Jesus, they have had to rely on it alone to get them through some of the junk they’ve been through. Because of this they have some of the most fragrant, beautiful faith I’ve seen. There is something special about having to rely on God to get you through as opposed to just reading the Bible and doing what you are told to do. Their lives look a lot less religious than most, but their walks with Jesus are also more colorful than most. It’s this practical living that makes their very core sing joy, their souls light up. She was pulling up to the building on Sunday morning and I said,” Ms June, your hair looks great, are you growing it out?” She responds with, “Oh Honey, thank you, but it will all fall out soon, this cancer is killing me, but God loves me and has a plan.” Because of this Ms June has responses like that.

She says this in passing, like it is no big deal! The beautiful thing is that to her it is NOT a big deal. Her faith supersedes any of her circumstances. Jesus has so impacted her heart that her life and faith show more beautiful than any flower ever could. She thanks me for the flowers on Sunday, but we should thank her and people of faith like her, every day, for their faith is more fragrant and beautiful than any flower spring could produce.

May your faith be fragrant, may it be beautiful, may you inspire others to want to follow Jesus more, not because you can preach a fancy sermon, or quote some doctrinal statement, but because your life is practical and the Bible comes to life in you!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Reductionism and Caterpillars

Every Saturday morning I meet with a good friend of mine to just go through life together and encourage one another. I needed an older, wiser, voice in my life so boom… Well, he asks one question to begin Sat that opens up to a holy rant or whine session. I say, “Well, the truth is, I can say it is all this stuff and if things got better, like my circumstances, got better then maybe everything would be ok, but I’ve come to realize there is a single problem, I don’t love God.” Gasp, sit back and scratch your head, judge me, do whatever it is you need to do, but finish this with me; it’ll take us to a great place. So I begin telling him I feel so messed up and after about two hours he stops me and says, “Adam, let me tell you about reductionism and the danger in your words.” Apparently reductionism is when a person boils down a bunch of different factors into one cause or outcome. I had reduced all my circumstances down to say, “I don’t love God.”

Well, the problem with that statement is it is not true. If I didn’t love Him, then I wouldn’t be struggling because I want to do what is right and want to be close to Him. He then warned me to not get caught up in the idea that I should be doing more than I already am and to be careful what whispers I’m listening too. He tells me that I can’t think I just don’t love God because I’m not where I think I should be or doing what I think I should be doing for Him. I shouldn’t be discouraged by the amount of things I am or am not involved in. Satan is a liar, a very crafty one, in fact, the Bible says that he is craftier than any other animal on earth, the serpent is more crafty than my little mind (Genesis 3). I’ve listened to these deceptive whispers telling me, “Adam, you’re not good enough, you should be doing more, why aren’t you this or that, Adam you don’t love God, how could you, look at yourself….” I’ve let foolish, wicked thoughts to serenade me. I’ve been wooed by the sweet whispers of a deceiver who wants to destroy me.

In my reductionism I have become like one of the simplest animals on earth, a caterpillar. Not just any caterpillar though, a progressive caterpillar. Progressive caterpillars work in groups and follow this one leader in an effort to work together progressively to obtain what it is they intend to get. Their sweet treat, what they dream about, drool over, is the pine cone though. So scientist did this little experiment with these caterpillars. They put a pine cone in a pot and put the caterpillars around it. They circled the pot for days until they starved to death. The caterpillars weren’t progressive at al in this experiment though, they were simply active or busy. For several days they stayed busy, they had a lot of activity in circling this pot, but they made no steps toward their goal. It’ a danger we al face, especially those doing ministry within the cooperate “church”. I cannot let a ton of activity or lack thereof reduce my thoughts to not loving God because the question is not activity. Like the caterpillars, often we, me, you, are very active, but make little to no progress, we end up starving ourselves. So the reality is that I do love God, but just need to focus on the progress toward whatever plan He has for me rather then the activity. To reduce it down to no love for Him is foolish and exactly what the enemy wants.

So may you stop reducing, stop starving yourself to death as you circle whatever proverbial pot you circle, and focus on a productive lifestyle and walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bad Cage Fight

Recently I attended a gathering of several men and women following Jesus. It is amazing at how many things we can agree and conversely disagree on, all the while having Christ in common. So the question was raised, “If you have to make a choice, evangelism or discipleship, which would you choose?” Wow, did that put me in a tough spot. I’m not sure if I’m the only person to think this way, but I find it hard to make a clean cut decision between the two because I think they are one and cannot be separated, especially in a decision about which one is more important. The fact that this question was even asked makes me wonder what we have become here in America, why our thought process of this Christian lifestyle is so categorized.

As I look back at Christ’s ministry I really never see Him being in situation where there was no common ground between Him and the listeners or His audience. The same goes with Paul and Peter. This is the part where if you are a conservative, you push your chair away from your computer and grimace… It gets better though, trust me, within the next couple sentences I am sure you will want to flog me. Paul’s evangelism is out of context in our culture. Now you will challenge this statement with the times when Paul, Jesus, and Peter went into the synagogues to preach the gospel. Again, that evangelism is out of context today. To take that model of run up in a random crowd of people and preach a message they aren’t willing to listen to, that they didn’t sign up to hear is absurd and not the best way to go about it. Now, don’t get me wrong, bullhorn guy on the corner or even crazy “evangelist” guy are preaching the gospel and no matter how it is preached it is a good thing, so Paul says. Paul nor Jesus randomly preached, there was always a common ground. The synagogue was a place where Jews would gather to listen to the reading of the Law anyways. Jesus, being a Jewish Rabbi, showed up and read the Law and just offered up a discourse on it, like any other Rabbi would. See the common ground, those people where there to hear a sermon, Jesus just gave them the new stuff they weren’t expecting. The same goes with Paul. For a man or woman in 2008 to believe they are following Paul’s example of evangelism by going to a random street corner or a neighborhood with a jazzy box full of tracks is just plain silly.

Looking at Jesus and the first followers, the first disciple makers, the first evangelist is the best bet we have on all this. You must understand too that these were Jewish men and in the Jewish culture family was an important establishment. Like the Italian Gangsters, family was of the most importance. So it was common to be in a large crowds where everyone knew each other or had a common love for each other, or at least respect. Jesus was a master of positioning Himself. The first disciples followed this example well too. Positing is of the most importance when it comes to evangelism. Putting ourselves in positions where we gain the right or common ground to stand upon to tell them about Jesus. The problem with that is that it takes time and effort. We live in a numbers driven world. Although many pastors have a great heart for wanting to see so many come to Christ and preach the gospel to so many in a week or month, the importance cannot be placed on numbers. It is a quick alternative to give out a track, you can give a stranger a piece of paper saying what they should do and not have to get involved. What we say is evangelism is simply preaching the gospel. This infers that the preaching is to uninvolved parties. Again, no common ground, no true evangelism. So then it takes time to evangelize? Does evangelism stop though? When does it stop and discipleship start? Please help me in finding that crease in the thought. I think the problem is we think in linear aspects only. We want to get from A to B in a straight, fast, easy way, thus we have evangelist. They are well meaning men and women who love Jesus, don’t get my wrong, but they are people who stop the process of discipleship short and call it evangelism because it allows them to just prescribe a message rather than engaging in others’ lives. That is the responsibility of what they call disciplers or mentors.

Well, discipleship ends where evangelism ends apparently, which I still think is incorrect. If this statement is true then the mentor or discipler picks up someone who has already accepted faith in Jesus Christ and then just work on the work of another man. The discipler feels like it is not his or her duty to initiate conversations or common grounds, but to pick up where others leave off. The problem with that is, why don’t they evangelize? So in churches, you have this discussion of what they would rather do, disciple people or be evangelical… Dilemma huh? It’s like this cage fight and both sides are good, but you have to make this choice, Kobe or Lebron, Eli or Payton, TO or Ocho Conco? Well, making this decision is why there are young, happening churches, seeing tons of converts that never grow and why older churches have tons of maturity and understanding of the Word but the last thing they’ve seen converted was Marge’s heart to a pacemaker. Should this be? I venture out on what many will call heresy or liberalism and say no! The dichotomy should not be made because it creates an unhealthy balance. Evangelism or discipleship is both and, it takes time and must always be used from a common ground. Think of how many people we could reach of (1) the evangelist stop quitting after the person accepts Christ and (2) the discpler or mentor actually initiates first contact in order to share the gospel or in our case and language, evangelize. If every follower of Christ were participating in both processes and stopped creating this unhealthy balance then we would see churches full of converts that are maturing in order to create more disciples, this is the great commission’s point right, make more disciples?

So I ask again, is it necessary to make the distinction? May you unify these processes and learn to follow the example of our Lord, Paul, Peter, and other early believers and create disciples, not just new converts or old wise men.

American Gladiators & The Great Commission

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20)."
Therefore, go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

There are 4 parts to this great commission that we should pay attention to as we try to live it out. The first is go make disciples. This is what I think we mean when we talk about evangelism. We are going out after people who do not know who Jesus is to tell them, to tell them why they should be a disciple or follower of the Way. Second is making disciples of all nations. Here is another fun, separating term used in Christian culture, missions. People who are called to mission travel across the world in order to make disciples for Christ; this is what they feel they are called to. Thirdly we are to Baptize them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This little ditty is all about “discipleship,” helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus to the point where they desire to publicly illustrate the death of themselves and resurrection of a Spirit-led life in Christ. Finally, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Knowing who your Father is and obeying Him are two different things. A child knows their parent is, but doesn’t obey the, naturally, we have to teach obedience to children, they rebel on their own. So once someone knows the Father, made a step in faith by being baptized, we are to continue to teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.

I’m not saying pack your things and tell your wife you’re moving to Russia. I’m simply saying that since we cannot fulfill each part of this command fully, we should help each other in whatever part we feel like we have strength in. This does not we should not have part in it. So for the cooperate worker, white collar and large bank account, stay in Ohio and teach financial stewardship to the local church, but be sure to support those going places to spread the message of Christ, support “evangelist”, support, “missionaries”! Missionary, with your grizzly beard, dreadlocks and bandana make sure you are teaching others how to teach deeper truths once they have accepted Christ so you can continue to proclaim the gospel message. Discipler, make sure you are teaching those who are growing in their walk to also share their faith regularly. See how all this works together. This is the beauty of a unified body. This is the American Gladiator of the church in action, following Jesus’ great command to us, “go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

It shouldn’t look like that…the problem with Christian relationships


I was running with a friend last night. For some odd reason, while we are running, is the time when we catch up on things. So I’ve acquired this really cool skill of being able to run and talk without being short of breath. Besides being able to just connect and encourage one another I also get the perk of building up my respiratory habits. So I ask how their dating life is and they respond with good, but something weird happened the other night. So I inquire as to what and how. Apparently they asked if they could kiss the other person and got rejected. They said they felt rejected when it happened and got kind of mad and then things turned awkward. So I asked them to tell me the story again so I could tell them what I heard. I tried to kiss them and they said no, I felt mad because it felt like I should do it, to which I respond that is an expectation you placed on the relationship. Then they felt mad and the situation became awkward, I called that out to be pride because they felt hurt by the rejection that was simple just the other person following their conviction instead of their emotions. This is when I began thinking about all the inter-personal and dating relationships I had heard about and been involved in and was struck with one thought…

The problem with Christian relationships is that they look too much like the world’s. We react in these things like our flesh wants us to, out of an emotional response. There is beauty in emotions, God gave them to us, so they are a gift. The problem is that the world relies on emotions. Look at Hollywood, boy meets girl on set, they start flirting, everything seems great, they are both floating on cloud nine, they have sex, start dating, decide to move in together, and then the next emotional level they think they can arrive to, the pinnacle of all emotional levels if you will, is marriage. They get married and find out that he leaves the toilet seat up and that she rearranges his desk when he’s gone. The emotions come to rest and they deal with reality, two different people with different habits, personalities, and things that make them tick, and recognize that the emotions are no longer there at that particular moment and so they quite, and then we have another divorce to just add to an ever increasing, pathetic, American statistic.

Christians act just like this in our relationships don’t we? We react to an emotional stimulus. We react to the things of this world, the flesh and blood. The Bible says that it is not flesh and blood that we struggle with, it is spiritual things (Ephesians 6:12). How quickly we forget that. We think that it only affects us in big areas like our walk with Christ, the amount of church gatherings we go to or things we classify specifically as spiritual. The problem with that of course, is that everything is spiritual. If you haven’t seen Rob Bell’s DVD of the Everything Is Spiritual tour, take about an hour and a half and sit down to watch it, fascinating stuff. So we forget that it is not the worldly things we fight against and react to these stimuli in a worldly manner, just like everyone else would. But then that lends itself to us forgetting the truth that Jesus told us we are to reborn, no longer of this world, living out of a new Spirit. So here’s the test really, look at your friendships, family relationships, dating relationship, marriage, does it look just like any other relationship or is there that one huge difference, the Spirit, which leads you to react differently to things that are merely flesh and blood.

So may you always live in the Spirit instead of the moment, emotions are an unstable, they cannot be the foundation on which we base our relationships on, it must be the Lord.