You are not your own

1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You are not your own, you have been bought with a price.”

Lord God,

I read this sentence today and, being honest, I must say that I do not like it. Right now, the thought of surrendering myself to you means that I will be losing my identity – who I am. It doesn’t seem like I will be gaining enough or more to replace “me” if I give myself over. Who am I left with if I give myself up? What happens to “Andy”? Am I just like everyone else? I want to be unique.

Knowing all this, still, where is the profit in keeping my identity if I don’t have you? But the promise of having you seems like it won’t fill up the void of losing myself. If I have myself on the last day and the end of the earth is before me, where will I be if you are not looking upon me? But I don’t want to be just another one of your children. I want more. I want something special and unique. I want there to be an extra twinkle in your eye when I see your face the first time. If I don’t get this, then I’m not sure it’s worth it.

But that’s the point isn’t it? It’s not about me and it’s all about you. I admit that I still don’t like it because it makes me feel equal, less important, average. So how do I become humble enough to allow you to take over? I think I have struggled with this root issue my entire life though I’ve rarely realized it. Perhaps the next phase in my growth is the realization that not only are you responsible for my salvation; not only is it solely through your power that faith itself lives in me; but perhaps, you are also the source of my humility. Maybe even humility is a grace. Maybe I can’t even do this on my own. This must be, else I could claim it for myself.

So at the end of this prayer, I ask you O Lord to impress upon that I am not my own even though I’ll struggle against it. Create in me humility since I cannot create it myself. Use your sovereign power to rule over me and transform that which I have not the power to transform. Be thou still my strength and shield because I have no other and cannot do this myself.

Amen

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Eastern and Western thought fusion

If western medicine is the epitome of truth and the best know approach to medicine in the world (as many westerners think), why is eastern medicine still around? This is just one question that has been working its way through my head lately. God has been progressively opening my eyes to new things over the past decade or so and I have learned that I should not dismiss ideas that are foreign to me just because they are different. Rather, I should make room for such ideas and the people who believe them because God is much bigger than the mental allowances of my mind. Additionally, it is useful for me to think of God as an alien – he is SO different than me, that even though he shares all the same feelings and thought processes I have, he also exhibits vastly more “ways” (feelings, thought progressions, behaviors, etc.) than I can even comprehend.

So, in meeting Van Tran, I’ve been introduced to a true Eastern intellectual. Only in part is he intellectual according to the western scientific definition. Van also embodies a rich oriental history rooted in Buddism, Taoism, Ying Yang, natural and alternative medicine, and spiritual, mental and physical disciplines of Aikido.  His life is a testimony to the effectiveness of eastern thought.  He is a vegetarian, is highly conscience of all the substances that go into his body and is a real practitioner of a holistic life. He is a computer scientist and yet aggressively believes in Ki as the prime life-giving energy of the body and surrounding environs.  Astoundingly, he is a Christian who professes the diety and lordship of Christ.

How does one reconcile these seemingly contradictory ideas in his head and not be willingly blind to supposed obvious truths?  This was the original question I asked.  But the Lord, in his grace, bestowed curiosity upon me. I think that Van has stumbled upon a great truth that has largely been undiscovered by the west – more precisely, western Christendom.  Van told me that he believes that God has revealed the balance philosophy of Yin-Yang and the existence of Ki to the oriental world just as he revealed other things to men elsewhere.  I was shocked by this statement at first, but then adopted it as my own once I saw the brilliance of it.

What if God did sprinkle out portions of his wisdom on different world cultures over time?  Yin-Yang is an oriental philosophy that still provides the foundation for the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese cultures (and any other culture of oriental decent).  When God reveals his wisdom what happens?  Big changes occur.  Entire civilizations are transformed by the message and the effects are lasting.  Think about the effects of Christianity on the western world.  The eastern world, composed on half the world’s population is built on these foreign philosophies that, interestingly enough, harmonize very nicely with Christian philosophies.  Why not consider that God could and did do this in the eastern world as a compliment to what he performed in the western world?  What would we be risking if we fail to consider and investigate this – possibly a deeper understanding of the mysteries of God and his will for us.

Angering the God of grace?

For so long, I have not been concerned with the concept of angering God (though it once very much concerned me). My lack of concern has stemmed from my emergent knowledge over the years that God is full of grace and patience. He is not easily angered.

On a seemingly unrelated note, quiting my tobacco use has so far been successful. I give credit to God for this. I have been attempting to explore the concept of a more holistic life of overall health. Michael Roach told me a few weeks ago that the Holy Spirit told him that God has big plans for me. This made me think a great deal. I could have discount Michael as a quack or I could choose to believe based on my intuitive impression as to the “rightness” or truth of what he said – the ring of truth. I chose to believe. 

Around this time, I was preparing to teach another lesson for the Quail Springs Wednesday night class on the Expressions of the Christian Faith. That week’s topic was the Evangelical tradition. I read about Aurelius Augustine’s struggle with lust and sexual indulgence. While imbibing on these thing Aurelius also sought the higher good and right and moral things. He realized his contradiction and also his inability to conquer his vices on his own. Soon after he was introduced to the Gospel and realized that it offered his a power that he had never been offered before. In Christ, Aurelius saw a power that could rid him of his vices – which he could not beat through his own power. Therefore, through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, Aurelius was transformed into the image of Christ.

This transforming power is the manifestation of God’s grace through the Spirit. It is the Spirit within the believer who uses his divine power to rid us of uncleanness. Perhaps a better way to say that is that the Spirit heals us, injects us with the essence of life, and transforms us in spirit, soul, and body ever closer into the image of Christ – to be more like God. This is the plan of God that he begin implementing the first moment after Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden.

Back to the original thought… it is because of concepts like this that I have not been concerned with God’s anger – primarily because I think that God is so patient that forbearing that he is rarely if ever actually angry. And this brings me to my vice – food.

Food. You must have it to live. After years of developing and enabling myself through bad eating habits, I am struck down by my inability to control my eating. This is truly a situation where the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Interestingly, while I report success over many things through the power of God, I am having a much more difficult time dealing with my eating addiction.  On the days that I fast (cold turkey) I can stay pretty focused on keeping my will in control, but on regular days, this is much more difficult.

Why can I not allow myself to rely on God’s power to heal me if this affliction as well? Why am I not “waiting on God” to give me balance in spirit, soul and body? Am I angering God by being out of balance? I ask that as an honest question – not out of fear that I am angering him. I’m going to pray more and take it one day at a time. Praise God for his greatness and mercy. I love God and thank him for his revelations to me.