The Hope of Glory
I can only say what I’ve seen in my own life, that every thing you touched you made better, and that wonderful can never be remembered apart from your fingerprints. And if you continue on this path for even just one more day, the world is made better one more day. If you touch just one more life, the world is made better another life. This momentary wasting away has a purpose. – This Momentary Wasting, I Found My Blue Sky For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. – Romans 8:19 Get Ready for a Long Post I have not been able to sit down and write a full post due to the business of juggling my work and involvements. It is truly a blessing to go home exhausted, knowing that the day was not wasted, and knowing should I not wake-up from the evening’s slumber, there is peace in my heart that I have served my loved ones and the people around me, and that I continue my journey with God. I didn’t always think nor feel this way. Not very long ago, my after-work routine was to throw my clothes to the side and lie down naked on the floor as soon as I got home, not knowing what to do to save my businesses, or unable to deal with the emotional roller coaster of the time, and feeling the effects of responsibilities, of guilt, of shame, of love, of hope deferred, of failure, of promise, of frustration, and of the many conflicting emotions that come with simply being alive – even more, with being involved in leadership. I still remember the feeling of the wooden floor of my bedroom and how I would stare at the fire sprinkler on my ceiling, and I would pray over and over without making much sense, “Please God. Please.” It seems there was always something to ask for then. There still is. Even as I do my best to serve others, to live generously, my life does go on, the bills continue to come, the targets continue to grow, and it doesn’t ever really become smooth sailing but that’s life. That. Is. Life. It was good for me to learn that, to accept life for what it truly is, to surrender my fantasies, and start fighting, struggling, for what I truly valued. I learned that we’re not entitled to anything, that life is about knowing your values, that we get what we choose to fight for, not what we think we deserve, and that success is about doing whatever it takes – not waiting for someone else to act. I learned that it’s not so much about who is at fault, but about who will be responsible, who will answer the need despite not being at fault. I learned that loving someone meant loving them for who they are and letting your love for them translate into transforming service, that many of the struggles we face are divine opportunities from Heaven to love one another, so we must see them as such, not God being unfair, but trusting us with an opportunity to hit a home run for humanity. And I learned what it means to be Christian – and how far I was from being a Christian. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” He didn’t say, everyone will know you’re my disciples because you’re nice. Or because you’re successful. Or because you’re rich an you tithe. Or because you’re smart. Or because you’re virgins. Or because you’re righteous. Or because you’re beautiful. Or because people promote you. Or because you’re famous. Or because you’re part of a big church. These are all great but He never said they would be what identify us as His. He said, everyone will know if you love one another. In John 15:13, Jesus goes on to say, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This is His standard for love. This is how He will judge the love we claim to have. “David, did you lay your life down for him, for her?” So the EVERYONE will know that we are God’s if we LOVE, and to love is to LAY DOWN our lives for our friends. And what is a friend? Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” A friend is someone who loves you, not just entertains you or is fun, but loves you, meaning, lays his or her life down for you. Over and over, this theme of love – true love – is stitched throughout the Bible. And it talks about what happens to us and the world we live in when that love is absent. Verse 20 of Romans 8 says this, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it…” When we rejected God’s love in Eden, we submitted ourselves to the mastery of sin, and where there is greed, and laziness, and injustice, there is poverty. Where there is excess, there is waste. Where there is pride, there is envy. Where there is anger, there is hate. Where there is lust, there is perversion. Where there is hoarding, there is lack. Where there is sadness, there is grief. Where there is sin, where love is absent, all sorts of evil are welcomed. But I like the verse that precedes verse 20, it goes, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God, Christians, people who love, who lay their life down for others, to be revealed. And all of this to say one point: START WITH YOURSELF. Responding as a Christian I wrote this on my last post: Two of my favorite quotes from Aristotle are incredibly relevant today. They are good reminders for me, and have seriously caused me to repent and focus my energies on serving others more. 1. “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” – The first talks about the importance of distinguishing between good anger and bad anger. Bad anger is impulsive. Good anger has higher standards and stricter parameters, that’s why it takes a better man or woman to be patient and think through facts and the big picture. Good anger leads to the fulfillment of right purpose in the right way. Bad anger leads to destructive behavior. 2. It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – The second talks about the importance of education. The definition of the word educate was never simply about people going to schools and getting grades. To educate means to “lead forth” or “bring out”, to “train and prepare”, so education can happen beyond academics. To educate a person means to bring out the best qualities of that person. You know a person has been trained when circumstances bring out the best in him or her. They can look at things without reacting, they can hear a view and not have to choose a side right away, they can even be opposed and can debate without being disrespectful or insecure because they understand each person’s right to their own opinion without wavering in their own conviction. Now for those who call themselves Christians, we have an even higher standard, and that is this, that in all circumstances, the fruit of the Spirit be on display. The fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So an educated Christian is one that can get angry, hear opposing view points, yet in both situations bear the good fruit of the Spirit in his or her response. It’s easy to point at people and say, “They weren’t prepared.” and it could be true but… – Let me ask you, “In your life, in your business, in your finances, in your purpose, are you prepared?” It’s easy to point at the government’s waste, and it could be true but… – Let me ask you, “Do you waste your time? Are you late for work? Do you give 100% in your activities?” It’s easy to point the wrong things said by the media, and it’s true but… – Let me ask you, “Do you always say things right? Do you never gossip? Do you never dishonor? Do you never lie?” It’s easy to point at structures and say they’re inefficient and not doing their job, and it’s probably true but.. – Let me ask you, “Do you your job as excellently as possible? Don’t you think that if you were maybe more excellent than maybe you’d be in a better position to give, to help, to serve?” It’s easy to say that the politicians are snakes and selfish and should go to hell, and IT’S TRUE, but… – Let me ask you, “Don’t you and I deserve hell as well? Do we not live selfishly on a daily basis? Do we live daily thinking about our neighbor?” And all these questions are not to absolve the guilty of their responsibility but I’ve learned a long time ago that I can’t control a lot of things, I can’t control how other people respond, but I can control my actions, my decisions, my thoughts, my response. And I need to respond as a Christian, with passion, yes, but bearing good fruit that constructs and heals. These Present Sufferings Also in Romans 8, we find this verse, ” I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Here we see this idea of suffering and glory laid side by side, and Paul is saying, “It’s not worth comparing. Whatever you’re suffering now, something much better is going to be revealed through that suffering” And what is that? We said the verse earlier, verse 19, that the children of God will be revealed. When we start with our own hearts, when we humbly say, “Correct me first, God. Please fix my heart first. Make me truly like Christ.” We are able to face suffering in a special way, we are able to love amidst suffering. How? Because in us is Christ, and as Colossians 1:27 says, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” When Christians become Christians, not political commentators, not observers, not comfortable successful people, but humble, wise, life-laying servants, then Christ is evident in our life, the hope of glory that is in us comes shining through. In All Things There is a popular verse in Romans 8, a commonly quoted favorite verse of many, and it’s verse 28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. I love this verse. It always encourages me that God is in control. But there are two parameters, two parameters I’ve practically ignored. I say practically because in-practice I’ve quoted this verse but have not held myself to the parameters. The parameters are: To love God, and live according to His purpose, His purpose of redeeming people through His love. Here we fulfill fulfill the greatest commandment of loving God and loving others. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40 This leads me to my final question: Am I, with all my heart, my soul, my mind, with every thing that’s in me, loving God and loving others? Or are my thoughts, my concerns, my creativity, my ideas, my energy, time, and money going mostly to pushing David forward? I’m guilty of the latter. I need to change that.