The Heart of a Believer
An Update on my Path
This was one of my first hubs. I don't want to make massive changes to the content, preferring, instead, to preserve the integrity of the original hub. On the other hand, so many things have changed for me since I wrote this hub that I feel it is important for me to take a moment to update readers on my status as a believer. I am adding quite a bit of content to this hub, so please take the time to read both parts. The new part is here at the top, and each section has its own comments section.
Love God with All Your Heart and MIght
When He was on earth, the Messiah told us that there were two great commandments: That we should love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. While these two commands seem very simple on the surface, I have found that as I meditate on His intentions for us, there are so many new questions that come to the surface. How are we to love God with all of our hearts? Is it enough for us to simply feel that love for Him? Or do we need to pray at certain times, in a certain way, or even specific prayers?
Love is active. I don't personally believe that it is possible to love someone (even God) without giving something of ourselves. We have to do something in order to love someone. When we love our children, we take good care of them, hug them, kiss them, do nice things for them. When we love our spouse, we show affection for him or her, or take time to talk about things that interest our partner. We love our parents by staying in touch with them even after we have left and cleaved to our spouse.
I feel, however, that many people neglect to show this active love for God, our Creator. For many it seems to be enough to call themselves a Christian and then to simply forget about it except on Sundays, when most Christians celebrate the Sabbath.
This wasn't working for me. As the below section (of the original hub) states, I've been depressed. It is something that comes and goes, but I realize that it has taken me a lot of time and work (and acceptance of personal responsibility) to find happiness. My walk with God was disjointed, disrupted, and not altogether healthy. Attending church regularly wasn't bringing me closer to Him. Covering my head helped, but it was only part of the whole picture. I was feeling frustrated that I was not receiving the fruits of the spirit and the blessings that were "due" to me as a believer in Jesus Christ.
That's when it occurred to me: God has given us this remarkable book called the Bible. However, many Christians adhere strongly only to the latter part of the scriptures, known as the New Testament (or the B'rit Hadashah -- the New Covenant). Torah is so important to the Jewish people, but why not for Christians as well? This bothered me for quite some time, until certain truths began to make themselves evident to me.
For me, it started with adopting a partially kosher diet. I'm not all the way there even now (after more than a year of working at it!), but I have noticed a change in my health when I cut out pork and shellfish from my diet. Certain sauces which have always caused problems for my stomach. I assumed that it was because of the high acid content in the sauces. But then why can I consume all the vinegar and milk that I want without feeling sick? Instead, as it happens, these sauces include non-kosher items, including shellfish and insects (for color). Having let go of the pork, the shellfish and the food colorings, I am already feeling a difference in terms of my health. There is little doubt that the kosher diet makes a difference for me.
The Torah, I discovered, is God's (Yah's) love story to us. It is how He tell us who He is, and it is how He gives us His rules to live by. These are the very rules that will keep us healthy and happy. They are a gift, not a curse that is hanging over our heads. We can show God our love for Him by obeying the Torah. This is active lovefor our God.
I've been depressed
I have, of late, had a great deal of cause to look more deeply at myself and my walk with God. I have been spending so much time feeling angry and unfulfilled that I believe I have lost sight of my own purpose, and the things that make me happy.
In it's simplest form, we call this "depression." Yes, I am losing interest in the things that once held me captivated, and yes, I feel exhausted and out of sorts most of the time. I've pushed myself here on Hubpages, and all in all, the push has been a good thing. I said it in another of my hubs, and I'll say it again: Hubpages has saved my life.
For a long time I wasn't writing, and I honestly believe that this was a large part of my discontent with God. I have several reasons why I have been angry with Him (not the least of which has been "not getting my own way!"), but central to the recent damage to the relationship has been this depression.
I blamed it on postpartum at first. My daughter is seventeen months old but I thought... Maybe. Maybe it was (vaguely) possible that I was dealing with post partum depression. The weather is getting nicer and I've been taking much better care of myself. Why would I "suddenly" become so depressed?
"Christian" Doesn't Mean "Perfect"
I'm not perfect. I don't think of myself as superior to others. I see myself as human, fallible, and as a sinner. I know that it is only through the blood shed by Christ Jesus that I can truly be whole. And I know I've been neglecting my relationship with Him.
Becoming a Christian changed my life. I've always had a difficult time. There have been things in my life that have challenged me and that I have felt would destroy me. Becoming a Christian released me from the majority of my chains. The challenge I now face is that I still carry (seemingly voluntarily) a good deal of the baggage. I wasn't the one who packed the bags, but I'm the one who carries them!
I'm learning to hand the reins over to Jesus and to let Him carry the load for me, so that I can focus on living my life in a way that is meaningful and pleasing to Him.
I've made so many mistakes, my friends. I'm here because I want to make a public confession, not only of my faults, but of Christ Himself. I want to say, as clearly as I can, that I believe, and in what I believe. I don't want to be a lukewarm Christian. Not any more.
A Lukewarm Heart
I've made a lot of mistakes, especially lately. I'm not a mature Christian, and I realize often how young I am in Christ. A year is hardly any time at all, and I don't have the time under my belt to know how to handle being challenged. If you've read my other hubs about spirituality (listed below), you know that I haven't always been a Christian, and that, in fact, I fully understand the "other side." But Jesus saved me. He came and got me when I didn't want to be gotten, and that, I believe, is a miracle.
In the beginning, I was as hot-hearted a Christian as there is. I truly believe that when you aren't a Christian you hear about Jesus too much, but when you really meet Him you can't talk about Him enough. I shared Jesus with everybody I met, and for a long time, I forgot what that felt like -- to not be a Christian but to be treated as though you should already know Jesus. Yes, it's condescending and no, it isn't much fun.
When I got here (to Hubpages), I encountered more atheism than I ever have before. I didn't know what to make of it, but I knew that I couldn't handle the situation by proselytizing. An atheist, as you understand, doesn't believe in Jesus, or heaven or hell. It means nothing to an atheist (or other non-Christian) to explain that Christians are saved from their sins and therefore are allowed by God's grace to see Heaven. Many are downright offended at the notion that a Christian would be saved but that they wouldn't because they believe differently. And many, many non-Christians have encountered the type of Christian who treats unbelievers in a condescending manner, as though they (the Christian) are superior and non-Christians are beneath them.
I'm a people pleaser and I always have been. I would prefer to make someone happy than to cause them stress. I have developed a nasty habit of not telling it how it is. I believe in the Bible, and I believe that the Bible is truth. To state that "I believe" weakens my conviction, however. The truth is that I know that the Bible is the truth. I have that conviction in my heart. Many others don't. I cannot, and will not try to force them to accept Jesus. I can lead a horse to water, but I can't make him drink.
A Final Word
I believe in the Bible, and I believe in Jesus. I seek to live my life in the way that He lived His life. I don't believe that He would have condemned any person in the way that some Christians do. Jesus "hung out" with sinners all the time. It wasn't uncommon for him to be found in the company of prostitutes and thieves. His forgiveness is for everyone, not just for a select few people. He wants you to accept Him and to come to Him. His arms are open regardless of your race, sexual orientation or your past sins.
I am not here to judge you. It isn't my job or my place. it is almost impossible to minister to someone who you are judging.
I am not sure what I expect readers to get out of this, but I needed to do it. This was, for me, a very personal piece of writing. I hope that you have enjoyed it and the included music and that you will return to my hubs to read more in the future!
My Other Spirituality Hubs
- Why I Believe in God: A Personal Journey
My belief in God is very strong, but it has been quite a battle to get to the current peace that I have with Him. This article shares my personal journey and how I got to where I am now.
- The Power of Forgiveness
I recently had the wonderful experience of forgiving my ex-husband once and for all for all of the horrible things he did to me during our marriage. I learned a lot from the experience and wish to share that experience with you!
- Abrasive Atheists and Contrary Christians
For many years I found Chrsitians to be very offensive. These days I find that it is often the opposite and that atheists are offending my sensibilities. Could it be that both sides are wrong?
- What Has God Done for You Today?
Gratitude will truly change the way that you view your world. Waking up every morning with praise for God can change the way you perceive yourself and those around you!