Do you ever just look up to the sky and think, “How awesome the sky can be with it’s blue hue?” Don’t get me started on the sky’s amazing colors once the sun sets or rises. Over here in China there is smog. When I see the blue sky at different parts of the day or after a couple days of gray skies, it is brief, but the clouds roll back and give way to that blue heaven. It’s the small things in life that remind me of America and how I took it for granted.
I know everybody is created differently. Ha! Now in China, I’m actually starting to appreciate my personality and way of thinking and seeing things. My inference and thinking is not always to the code of “Christiany” but even I need constant teaching and correction. God is definitely renewing my mind. Being here feels like everyday you are able to sit at His feet and just learn or hear from Him clearly. How I needed this season, since I missed out during college.
Now don’t get me wrong there are times where it is hard: Chinese restaurants mess up your order, you and the moto guy just speak at each other knowing neither is understanding, or just simply wish you could have hot water and that the repair guy would actually show up!! We went a month without hot water haha, God is present during those times. He just as present as in the bad times as in the good times. We just simply ignore Him and focus on ourselves or the world. “The world is fun and luring. We need to find that high paying job, go experience life, create the stories.” I know I have these foolish worldly thoughts engraved in my head. Out at the bar with a couple of drinks those worldly thoughts are way more present. Fortunately the Lord gives counsel to combat these thoughts:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17
That’s it. If you believe in God and follow God’s words then you’re good right? How I wish it was that easy. We are constantly messing up this way of living the “perfect” Christian life. I mean read the Old Testament and you can see how over and over that the people of God are blessed by him, rebel and turn to other idols. Lord allows them to be given over to their desires and get oppressed; then they cry out for Him. Then like a loving Father, He sends them a less than ideal deliverer to free them from captivity. I take great comfort in knowing that I don’t have to be nor will I be the perfect follower of God. Why? He already sent the Son who is our deliverer, Savior, the Messiah! The freaking reason we celebrate Christmas y’all! Emmanuel – God with us, has come! Just because we will never be Jesus doesn’t give us the freedom to live this life how we see fit. Believe me. This is coming from the dude who used to base his life on pursuing happiness. At the end of the night, rubbing one out or clicking the next show…you still feel empty and unsatisfied.
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If you’ve never read ole Dietrich Bonhoeffer you missing out!! This dude gets what the Bible teaches. What it means to be a Christian. We are some messed up people. The smallest sin you commit, when compared to a holy perfect God, keeps us from being able to enter His presence. Instead of sending us to Hell and living this life alone in chasing our empty, worldly desires He gives us a way out. Freedom in our Savior who He sent to be born in a manger, to be raised by 2 poor parents, and die the death we all deserve… even ole Pope Frances and Mother Theresa. Nobody is perfect and holy once compared to the Creator. So we’re doomed huh?! We just party on because, “Why care about the next life?” Why limit our freedoms to being celibate til marriage, not getting drunk, or heaven forbid not even masturbating… because those worldly desires are meaningless and temporary when compared to the blessings, pleasures, and riches that awaits us following God.
In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes about a demon uncle, Screwtape, writing to his demon underling, Wormwood. He tells him how to keep his patient away from the Enemy (God). Remember it’s backwards:
“Desiring their freedom, He (God) therefore refuses to carry them, by ther mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to ‘do it on their own’. And there lies our opportunity. But, also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.” – Screwtape letters, C.S. Lewis
The days when I started following God were tough. My mind was being challenged, and now a year later, it deals with the same temptations. But as you pray, read the Bible, and chase after Jesus, you begin growing that relationship. As it grows temptations can change, but they become easier to overcome with His spirit. We don’t see where He is leading us, but we can rest soundly it is fulfilling.