I have been working through a lot of things about my spiritual walk and there are things that most will say that are things to let go of if I am to be a “good” Christian. In Ephesians chapter four beginning at verse twenty-two Paul writes: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” What does this consist of?
During my Christian walk I have come across a lot of pitfalls and traps that I have personally fallen into and been delivered from by the grace of God, and there have been controversies that I have stepped right into the middle of that happen with-in the Christian community. As an Orthodox convert I fell into the sin of pride, pride in my own intellectual understanding of the Church and pride in my understanding of life. This is nothing new for anybody struggling to make it through these times, and the same arguments have been going on since we were created. Yet it can get very confusing real quick, especially when dealing with those who are well versed in the art of rhetoric.
I have been studying, reading and praying and stretching my mind around the complexities of my faith in Jesus, striving to be perfect as my Father in Heaven is perfect. There are distractions in this endeavor, some caused by others, some caused by nature, most caused my inability to let go of my understanding. I have a deep desire to know everything about God, and I refuse to accept that this is impossible. How can the finite encompass and know the infinite? Those that demonstrate more wisdom than me accept this limitation and strive to do what they can to understand Him with what they have, and they do this by means of avoiding sin, praying , submitting to His will in everything and loving Him with every ounce of their being and a willingness to work towards Him. I want to do that too, and yet I hold on to this world because I am afraid. This world can be a very scary place, it is full of horrible things, monsters that wish to rend you apart unless you submit to their will, those that selfishly take and give nothing in return, and when I am honest with myself I discover that I can be just the same or maybe even worse. Yet I also realize that this world is a beautiful creation, that God was no slouch, that He did a very good thing in creating the infinite universe.
So I struggle day by day, seeking His will for me, and also asking Him if I am ready to have the answers that I seek. I am thankful that he has an infinite amount of patience because I know that I am using quite a bit of that with my constant “am I there yet?” like an impatient child in the backseat of a car going to someplace special. How many of us wish that theosis would just happen at a snap of a finger? Yet it doesn’t, and there is a reason for this and in figuring out that reason I come one step closer to being ready. The reason is that I have to let God be fully in charge!!! That last statement is really scary when I think about it, especially when I know that I am unsure on exactly how to do that. What will happen if I get it wrong??? There are those that will be quick to tell me that I will be sent to hell, to forever suffer because I didn’t make the grade. The fear of hell has brought many to Christ, yet the threat of hell has also turned many against the Church. Sometimes the fear of God’s punishment causes Christians to behave in very un-Christian ways, and I have to ask myself “What am I showing to the world, am I delivering the Gospel or am I doing the work of the adversary?”
I have to remember the example that Christ gave, His VICTORY on the cross and turn to Him again and again, as many times as it takes, to put on the new man. The example of the cross that I see is that Christ obeyed His Father, He had the power to turn away, He was sorely tempted to do so, He could have at any minute removed Himself from the situation, He could have rained destruction down on those that were hurting Him, yet He did not. Jesus Christ obeyed and through His obedience He opened a door for this worthless sinner, a door that many would slam in my face as they try to slam it in the face of those that they do not agree with. I must follow this example and realize that by His victory, He has indeed sent a Comforter, I must open myself up to this Spirit of Truth and allow Who is everywhere present and fillest ALL things to make me worthy of what I will never be able to be worthy of my own efforts. I also have ask the patience of those who share this race with me, please help me to see what my pride blinds me to, don’t let me slack off, be quick to remind me of His Undying Love.