Thursday, October 9, 2014

Statement of Faith

After graduating from highschool, I had a choice to make. What next? Not wanting to leave home and ready to take learning to the next level, community college seemed the best choice for me. At least until I could break out on my own and move an hour away to be near the University.

In every class, I didn't know what to expect. Teachers were from all around the world, some hard to understand, but most were well learned and ready to impart their wisdom and knowledge.

My sophomore year, the class that impacted me the most was Communications II. 

Professor W made sure her class was no "easy A." One mistake could lead to a loss of a letter grade on an exam or worse on a final grade. Her strict methods helped me understand the true meaning and weight of a comma splice.

Originally from India and schooled in England, she was the epitome of refinement. A long braid that lay on her shoulder and a slightly raised chin exuded her confident demeanor.

Only on one occasion, she let down her hair, so to speak, and shared a story from her childhood. She was raised in the Zoroastrian religion. A Muslim schoolmate invited her to dinner, and she was not allowed to share in the communal bowl of food being passed around the table. Her friend's parents saw her as unclean. 

Though I did not share her beliefs, I empathized with her. The sting of persecution can be painful.

While reading aloud in class, there was mention in the short story of the apostles' creed. Professor W gave any Christian in the room who knew it a chance to stand up and give a recitation before the class. Sadly, nobody knew it. In fact, I didn't even know what it was.

When put to the test, I showed that I didn't know much about writing or the doctrines of my faith. But, in my failure, the Lord put it in my heart to learn. Not just about comma splices, but about Him. And, in knowing Him more, I knew to a greater degree His love for me. Even in our failures, God can turn it around for His glory.

Like Professor W, I have felt the sting of persecution. Though on a small scale, it still stunned me. To be cursed at on a Google+ Science Fair meme for my faith boggled my mind. I didn't understand why someone would hate me for what I believe.

Maybe because in bringing up my hope for eternal life, I shook the young man's hope that he won't have to face a holy God for the sins he's committed. So, he lashed out.

Uncertainty in life after death is a scary thing. I only have assurance that I will spend an eternity with Christ because the Lord has revealed Himself to me in His Word and in my life. And, I know His Word is true (Psalm 119:160).

Like the disciples, I will follow Christ to the end for He embodies the "words of eternal life (John 6:68)."

Eternal life is far different from the life in this world. Yet, we can live it out right now.

Eternal life is life above living. Looking past the biological to the spiritual in God's Kingdom. Where Jesus Christ is King. 

Eternal life is constant communion with God.

Conversely, the worldly life numbs our need for God and creates a disconnect from the spiritual. We fill that void with a host of idols, visible and invisible.

In the worldly life, negativity reigns, unbelief prevails, and discontentment leads to a slave life of sin.

The world, the way things are ordered, the systems and institutions that have been set up in all spheres of life are corrupt. And in this man-made life apart from God, there is one ruler; Satan (Eph. 6:12). He is the consummation of evil. In Greek, he is the kosmokrater, or the "world ruler." 

Even Christians can inadvertently come under the evil one's influence (Eph. 2:1-3). When we are drawn away from love for God to love of self, things, or exalting people to godlike status.

Keeping our eyes on Christ. Staying connected with God. Remaining in His love. Obeying Him. Staying in His pure and holy light. Confessing our sins. Knowing we are forgiven by Christ's sacrifice because of His mercy and grace.

These are the things that set us apart and set us free.

To live eternally. Always.

Let us praise the Lord for His grace and forgiveness and for the constant connection of eternal life.

May we seek His face in communion and communicate with Him about everything. We can truly, by faith, thank Him for all things (Romans 8:28). We can hope and rejoice in all circumstances. For His Kingdom is eternal and this world and the present order of things is passing away. But, the man who does the will of God will live forever.

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. 1 John 2:15-17, The Message