If anyone tries to tell you that your spiritual journey will not be a confusing arduous experience…they are not being truthful with you. But as I have said before, in other words, our Lord never said the journey would be easy, always fun, and chock full of happy enlightened periods. Quite the opposite is revealed to us in Scripture.
Fortunately Father extends Grace, offers Salvation, and promises to forgive and forget our transgressions. There is something that is required of anyone seeking the Father and His promise though. One must learn how to come to the Father and speak with the Father in order to ask the Father for those Blessings—which are His promise.
Before going any farther I must state that in this article as well as the entire website I am assuming:
1. You believe in God our Heavenly Father
2. You believe in the inerrancy of The Holy Bible
3. Though you believe…you have spiritual questions and you are searching
4. Because you have questions…you have some quilt about questioning
5. You are not sure where to go for answers…not cookie-cutter answers but answers you can think through and believe in.
We Crippled Christians – Part 1
We, you and I, think differently than the vast majority of people. We’re different and…for the most part…we can generally deal with that reality…granted - some days/moments more-so than others. Sometimes it requires medication, sometimes sincere fervent prayer, and for most of us — in the beginning…some other type of coping mechanism(s). Mine were not all that healthy in the beginning. That just made an already confusing state worse. Those coping mechanisms got me through the day (as a rule) but the days turned into years, e.g., the 1960s, 1970s, and most of the 1980s. Years of suffering in my extreme mental anguish, and yes…over the years I reached (a few times) a VERY DARK point. Physically I became injured while serving in the USMC, I believe the year of the injury was 1974. I can speak, first hand, of the physicalas well as the mental (emotional) trials, tribulations, fears, pain and anguish of being crippled. No, I do not prefer the term crippled…I use it for the positive /negative jolt effect on people. Sort of like when people claim to be “normal.” More on words later.
While working on my doctorate it became clear that I have a strong tendency to write in the narrative. Unacceptable in a scholarly arena! We live in the narrative and share with each other in the narrative. So why would one believe only scholarly written (format/style seems the better description) text bears more weight than the narrative? We are all going to believe what we are comfortable with —justified by the means we personally (and many times secretly) “believe” in. This is almost always rooted in one’s secular indoctrination. Have you read where I was TOLD that the Holy Bible is NOT CONSIDERED A SCHOLARLY SOURCE? Dr. Schroeder posits in his book The Science of God, "The Bible is primarily narrative, teaching through the lives of biblical personages" (Schroeder, G. p. 76). Have you heard of cafeteria religion ? That is where people pick and choose what religious tenets they wish to believe and reject those teachings that do not appeal to their interests…I digress.
So what of those which are not comfortable with believing in anything including himself? What can one REALLY believe they ask? Some question whether or not they are even capable of absolute belief in anything. For example can one indisputably state that they have the strength of belief/faith in ANYTHING compared to what God demanded of Abraham, his son on the Altar? (see Genesis 22:1-12)
Here is what I came up with after years of research. Perhaps it will help you in determining your level of belief as well as how to believe in anything. FUTURE WORLD– you have been arrested and accused of being a believer, a Christian! In this future world, are there sufficient grounds (evidence) to make the accusation stand up in The Court of Future World that you are a believer, a Christian? Can it be proved without a shadow of a doubt that you are a believer…a Christian? Reflect on any and all possible evidence that can be brought against you. All the outward signs you exhibit, i.e., your words and deeds are essentially circumstantial evidence in The Future World Court. The only “proof” that can be held up and supported – without a shadow of doubt – resides within you! Reflect on those thoughts for a minute. For those of us that are converted (involves repentance for sin and a decision to live a life that is holy and acceptable to God through faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), this can be an interesting scenario and position to reflect on. Sunday Christians won’t get it. This is yet another reason we MUST study and not simply READ Scripture!
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the profets. (Matthew 22:37-40).
Stumbling Block #1 Thou shalt love….
For years and years I said, I want to know what love is. I searched in every area, form, and fashion I could think of. I tried EVERYTHING I could think of. I am ashamed of most of my choices – but I know I have been forgiven by the Father through the blood of Christ Jesus for those choices. I could not find love (real love) as I would later learn because I never...well… let me continue with this section first.
Stumbling Block #2 the Lord thy God….
I went through all the predictable stages one goes through growing up where you question God. Who is God, where is God, yeah well if God was real then He…..fill in the blank. That passage of life… coupled with bad coping choices…no mentor…and some less than desirable mental wiring…REALLY took its toll on me.
Stumbling Block #3 with all thy heart….
During that period of my life the heart was no more than an organ that was basically responsible for prolonging my internal turmoil.
Stumbling Block #4 and with all thy soul….
So there was nothing and no one (that I knew of or would accept) to emulate with regard to what love was…I was going through the questioning passage of life…and I decided to be a participant of the 1960s culture that was just coming into existence. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll is not the recipe for one trying to figure out their soul. I wound up with more questions and doubts than I did (or could) without that lifestyle choice. Ah - one’s youth! I was thoroughly convinced this was the correct path. After all…Dr. Timothy Leary (University of Alabama (B.A., 1945); Washington State University (M.S., 1946), University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D, 1950), whose employers included the Kaiser Foundation and even Harvard University! Dr. Leary MUST have the answer and the scholarly wisdom to lead us on the path…he had all the credentials.
Stumbling Block #5 and with all thy mind.
The mind… If you understand my first 4 stumbling blocks then “the mind” should have made you chuckle – especially in my case! Needless to say, This is the first and great commandment…was beyond serious consideration.
Time passes, searching continues and (by the Grace of God) a new healthy methodology begins to take shape, and be put to the test. The self-medicating draws to an end…looking at the world through rose colored glasses comes to an end…I finally figured out what love is! Ready?
The fact that Christ Jesus actually lived, taught, mentored, and was put to death for what He believed (knew) …regardless of all the opinions and theories over the centuries…even if one believes in no God….knowing that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, believed so absolutely He willingly allowed Himself to be hit, spit on, have parts of His beard ripped out, be beaten so severely that flesh was ripped away and internal injuries occurred because of the construction of the device He was beaten with. After hours of more torture and humiliation He allowed metal spikes to be hammered into his hands/wrists and feet…well let me ask again…how indisputably do you believe in something – ANYTHING! Add to Christ Jesus’ horrific crucifixion the thousands and thousands throughout recorded world history that were/are tortured, imprisoned, and murdered for their belief in the God of the Holy Bible. This man, Jesus, gave everything to show us that the world (humans) NEED the moral compass freely provided by the Holy Father.
Let me ask again…how indisputably do youbelieve in something – ANYTHING! In our secular society I can probably list all the common, sarcastic, cowardly, immature, self-serving answers to that question made by the vast majority of people! Think — even today’s secular scholars will admit that the very first Christians based their entire lives on following the great spiritual law — that being the Ten Commandments.
Where did I go wrong? Did mankind go wrong? For decades of my life I “lived” in the snare that most of mankind presently “lives” in. That snare, designed by Satan, causes one to lose all deep respect for law because the very source of all law and authority is forgotten. Perhaps forgotten is too forgiving a word. One loses all deep respect for law because the very source of all law and authority is denied and/or conveniently ignored and considered no longer relevant in our modern world. The world has yet to realize, believe, and put to practice the time-tested proven truth. “When you leave the true God out, there is no real standard of behavior left” (Meredith, 2012). I absolutely agree with Dr. Meredith when he posited in his booklet “The Ten Commandments”, “The result is spiritual chaos and lawlessness and wretchedness in the human heart” (Meredith, 2012).