Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Guest blog: Are you surprised? (Part 3)

I don't know about you guys but I've really enjoyed Thea's refreshing posts on being surprised, fascinated and 'simply' in love with God. This is the final instalment of her series. Let's hear your opinions loud and clear!

So in the midst of a desire to know God and putting that desire into action, there is culture - ever think about how it affects your relationship with God? Recently my husband and I were discussing how social norms so ridiculously affect our relationship with the Lord. We're supposed to be "in the world but not of it" yet we fight a constant battle to be relevant to our culture in an effort to “reach them” and be approachable. Our generation places a very high value on transparency. I believe this pendulum swing comes as a result of feeling ‘duped’ by the duplicity evident in so many ways, in previous generations. This effort to "be real" or "transparent" has so jaded us from things that are intrinsic to our faith and often times we don’t even see it… or at least I didn’t until recently. Think about it - when someone says they are "gut-level honest” and “real" it sounds attractive… finally! An honest person! But…do kindness, gentleness or self control spring to mind for you when they say that? Not for me they don’t. I think of harsh opinions, unsolicited advice and “saying what everyone is thinking but no one else will say” So where in all of that is there room for a changed heart… and for the values we say we hold dear?

The Bible says that people will know us by our is patient...kind...not envious...not's not self-seeking...keeps no record of wrongs...and the list continues. How is it that we live in a culture where kindness and hope is nearly always associated with insincerity or being overly optimistic? Or putting the needs of others before your own is seen as "martyrdom" instead of service... and again, insincere? I guess as I process through this idea and those in my previous two posts, what it boils down to is the intent of your heart. Asking your self the question "why?" "Why do I want to know Him?" I think most of us will find we truly love Him... and that simple truth has been overshadowed by past experiences, the opinions of others, and cultural influences.

So what’s my conclusion to the matter? Let’s seek God and let everything else begin to fall into His goodness unfold in our lives...and let the fruit of the Spirit that results from it spill over onto others with sincerity. Let's bring what God intended back into the picture...knowing Him and loving Him…because He is God. Loving your neighbor as your self... taking time out to be fascinated by who He is and all He does. The world would be a very different place if we could do those things alone... they seem so simple don't they?