a hole[the whole, my whole] where the rain gets in
And stops my
mind[life] from wandering
Where it will go[out of control]”
There’s a meme flying around social media that depicts the worst ways that men, who claimed to be Christ-followers, instead utterly denied him by their actions. It’s an image of torture, probably from the Inquisition times. I won’t say any more about it specifically.
My Dear Friends, this is not what Christianity is.
To be Christian is to desire – above all else in life – to be like Jesus Christ, Son of Man/Son of God. Desire and above all else are excellent words to describe this faith. It speaks of passionately wanting, longing, yearning – not for some thing of this world – but to be whole as a divinely created human being.
Perhaps what is not so obvious is, that in order to want to be whole, one must first be aware that there is a hole (or holes) to fill. To feel brokenness. To admit to wrongdoing or simple mistakes, colossal goof-ups, or words and acts of purely evil intent.
Another way of looking at it is that Christianity is carpentry of the soul. We’re rebuilding ourselves to be a temple for the Lord God to inhabit. The wood we build with is our own habits and behaviors. Any sawing, cutting, sanding, or planing if done on our own lives.
Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated exactly how a flawed humanity could grow toward perfection. He spoke of two ways to make consistent, ongoing progress, as recorded by two people who personally knew him. Jesus said:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength…
“Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.”
“So go and make followers of all people in the world.”
There may seem to be a question about the letter of this law, due to the many possible interpretations of the verbs used, but it is the spirit of these ‘commandments’ that is the key to living them.
First and foremost, to follow Christ is to live every minute in a deep and extremely personal relationship with The Creator. To seek to know God, who literally and figuratively made me, as intimately as I know myself. (Maybe even more so.) To be inseparable from him. To be with him with every fiber of my being. All my heart (my emotions), my soul (my six senses), my mind (my logic), and my bodily strength (my very life).
Getting to know God leads to realizing every good and potential thing about myself, and to see where I am lacking. Then, with his forgiveness, I receive the power to change – the spark that only he can give. Daily, moment-by-moment, I can then apply myself to fixing the whole of me.
As I grow and mature towards more-often-than-not being able to say and do what is “loving” for myself and for those who are in my life, I am able to see that they are like me in brokenness, in mistakes made, and even in purposely or reflexively causing harm. I can then feel and extend the same forgiveness – that God gave me, that I give myself – to them, through my own words and actions.
‘My words and actions’ means that I “walk my talk” of abiding in God – of staying with him. This is leading by example, not by forcing or dictating expectations of behavior for others. Consider the verbs used in English translations of Matthew 28:19:
- make followers or disciples
- immersing them into
None of these implies the use of force or punishment. Instead, they give the sense that people will voluntarily want to know my secret for living with peace and joy in any circumstance.
So don’t forget what you have received and heard. Obey it. Change your [own] hearts and lives!
Focusing on God, on myself in him – this is what will lead other people to a desire to know him for themselves.