Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who do you say that I am?

In Mark 8:26, Jesus asks his disciples the above question.  And lately, it's as if Jesus is asking me this same question. 

I have to be honest and admit, that sometimes when I read the Bible, it just seems like a bunch of fairy tales and fables.  Perhaps this is why I have so much difficulty reading it amongst other things.

Lately, I've been questioning everything.  I read a couple of verses and I immediately start dissecting it.  What does this really mean?  Why does it say this or that?  What does Jesus mean by that?  Questions flood my mind like a tsunami.  So, I get frustrated and stop reading.

However, the following day I try again, but this time I tell myself, try not to get so deep.  But no sooner I say that to myself, I'm back at questioning.  I can read the bible in a million translations and it is the same thing. 

I ask myself why can't I get this?  I see many Christians loving and devouring their Bibles.  However, I'm not having the same experience.  And that's with committing to reading it every day since last year. 

So then I think to myself, well then, what's wrong with me?  Why isn't the Bible alive and real to me... the way it is for other believers?

I guess it all comes down to the condition of our hearts.  How you think in life is how you will come to the Word?  Your experiences will cloud how you see yourself, the world and the Word.  It's all interrelated. 

Jesus whispers... who do you say that I am?  Do you love me?  Sure, that's easy... I can say I love Jesus.  But do I really?  I had to take a long and hard look at myself.  It's easy to sing worship songs and tell Him how much I love Him?  It's easy to love Him when everything is going my way?  But what happens when things don't?  When our prayers aren't answered?  When the heavens are brass?  When our world doesn't make sense?  When the Bible seems like fairy tales and fables?  What then? 

I'm sorry I don't have the answer for you.  I'm trying to figure it out myself.  Some would say I lack faith.  Perhaps so.  Others might say, maybe you have unconfessed sin in your life?  Could be.  Yet others could say, have you truly forgiven or maybe you aren't praying hard enough?  Who knows. 

All I know is that my love for Jesus isn't as strong or deep as I would like to believe.  My wise husband made a point... when he first met me... I spoke about Jesus in a warm and fuzzy way.  He said my emphasis was always on an experience, feeling His presence.  It was all about "feeling" good.  So again, it comes down to idolatry.  I want my flesh to feel good... I want Jesus to suit my whims and desires.  I want to pick up that Bible and it just be easy.  I want quick, easy and fun.  I want a feel good Christianity.  I only want to hear what's good, complimentary, wonderful and elating. 

Let me run over to this conference, so that I can experience the presence of God in a whole new way.  I'm not mocking or putting down those who do this, because I did it myself.  All I'm saying, is that going from conference to conference, seminar to seminar, meeting to meeting... didn't change me one iota.  I had a lot of stuff to talk about, however, it didn't change my heart.  It didn't change my core issue; my sinful flesh. 

My flesh wants to exalt itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  My heart condition is clouded by sin, the sin of pleasure... aka, hedonism.  I want to feel good... and feeling good can come in multiple ways; food for instance.  I'm guilty of going to food for comfort, to feel good.  When I feel empty, lonely, scared, anxious, bored or stressed out... I run to my quick fix... food.  My being overweight tells the true story.

There is a void inside each of us that can only be filled by God; not people, places and things.  However, our tendency is to chase after what is quick, easy and tangible.  In our culture, there is no such thing as delayed gratification or waiting.  We live in a microwave society.  We tend to chase after 'fill in the blank', instead of going to God.   So when we finally do pick up our bibles to read or pray, it is clouded by our own lusts.  We are so busy filling up the void, that there is no room for Jesus.  Basically, our hearts need a tune up.  I know my heart seriously needs a Roto Rooter. 

I was telling my husband the other day, is there any way God can just press a remote control and make me into who He wants me to be instantly?  Like Star Trek, you know, zap it into me or something?  Wow, wouldn't that be great!

I am ending this blog with a song that I identify with:



Sharaya said...

I liked what you had to say here, Pilar! I was wresting with the same exact issues of faith and love for Christ. I had to really ask myself how much do I love God when I don't trust Him to provide me with the things I need; I can't sleep because of anxiety. I get depressed from hopelessness, etc. I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pilar, as always, I love reading what you write. You are truly talented and open and giving. My only concern is how harshly you judge yourself. Isn't God the ultimate judge? Why not leave the judging to him? Why not do the best you can with what you have but leave the self judgment out of it? I mean, whats wrong with questioning things? Isn't that how we as human beings learn and discover new things, by questioning? I personally interpret your questioning not as lack of faith, but rather as a hunger, drive and commitment to your faith and to God to learn more, to understand more, to get closer to God... Remember, God blessed us all with love not only so that we could love him, but so that we could love ourselves and be kind to ourselves too. After all, we are His children... So maybe take it a little easier on yourself and accept and love yourself even if/when you have tons of questions... Remember, God can see through those questions, He knows your heart and he sees that its full of love and devotion (as I see it):). Thank you so much for sharing of yourself so openly and courageously. You always continue to inspire me. I love you Pilar.

Mr.B said...

Courage , courage , and more courage. Oh yeah, you just wrote what I think most of us , in some way shape or form ,are contending with or bound to. Thanks for your willingness to address the truth about your journey and assesment of your spiritual walk. Who does that? Not me. Lol. And my wisdom , by the way, is Not originated with me. As our good friend Pastor Socier best said it " All my thoughts were His first, I don't even want my own thoughts" Keep it coming P.

Anonymous said...

In a time where tsunamis are becoming the topic of the day, I guess I kind of expect to hear about spiritual tsunamis. It seems as if God is revealing what we are really made of. I don't believe that what you share is very common either. You may be criticized. The truth is God is doing a lot of shaking. "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words once more indicates the removing of what can be shaken - that is created things - so that what cannot be shaken may remain." (Hebrew 12: 26-27) I am hearing only of a handful of Believers that are questioning their faith, who have began having personal dialogue that is very telling. We have all of us become a part of the fabric of materialism. We want what we want and we want it now. God tells us several things that seem to contradict what we believe about being blessed. Words like poor, mourn, meek, hunger, thirst do not conjure ideas of blessedness (Matt 5). Yet, in God’s economy these characteristics pay big dividends. God word declares that being blessed is not limited to material gain and satisfying lives. These may be part of the blessed life, but you can have all these things and not have the character to maintain them. God's greatest goal for His children is to have us transformed into the image of Christ. How often have we seen Christian come in to great success and then in a matter of time, find themselves involved in a very public scandal that ruins their lives and the lives of their ministry families and their personal families. To whom much is given, much is required. It is possible to get things before we are able to handle them. Depending on what is our deepest desire, it is possible to not get things until we are able to handle them. I believe and have believed for a long time that you my dear are destine for greatness. It is time for the belly of the prophet to be clean out and FYI if a faith cannot be question, is that a faith you an depend on? God, in no way, will shrink back from our questions. He can more than handle it. We have to be careful though that when we question we do not allow the evil one to take us on a ride away from the one who can answer. God tells us if we lack wisdom, we don't have to remain that way. We can come to the one who gives liberally. I love your heart Pilar and I am always impressed with how God does the exact same thing with you at the exact same time He is doing things in me. We are not alone. We are in good company. Rest a sure that God wants you to prosper as your soul prospers. He will not give to you before it is time and it seems that our time is approaching. Love Audrey

Oscar said...

Pilar - thought provoking, inspiring and a challenge for all to look at our lives and see what we really yearn for. Thank you for these words.

Brother said...

This walk with Christ ant no Joke, but glory to God He has promised to be our strength!! You know my sister sometimes I have to just pray to the Lord and ask Him to increase my faith because I too have gotten week in the knees and can hardly speak for Christ at times where I have felt that I should have!!! The tricky thing about faith is that it requires us to trust God for a increase, but when we feel weak or doubtful thats the hardest time to trust!! So we have to pray for God to remove our fears and doubts that he can increase our faith first, so that He can then give us the faith increase we need to grow our spirits to the next level thus making us better equipped to be used by Him!!

Josef Arsenec

Live For Jesus He Died For You.

Greg said...

Hey Pilar, funny that you should write about this questioning kind of attitude. I've been reading some history and found that this attitude actually corresponds to a sort of tradition within Christianity. Sort of a Christian skepticism. It isn't fatal to one's walk - it can actually lead to stronger faith. In the early 1500's, there was a cultural crisis when Protestantism began. Catholics and the new Protestants began to try to refute each other - trying to show how the other side was wrong or heretical. This led some people to despair of all the facts, logic, argumentation and reason - and better to let the love of God sink ever deeper into the heart and go by faith. Erasmus and his "In Praise of Folly" (first published in about 1509) is a good example. He makes fun of all the high-falutin' folks who claim to know stuff, and comes out in favor of faith. Brother Lawrence with his "The Practice of the Presence of God" (17th century) is another great one. So simple and so inspiring! This book fills my heart even when I just think about it! Thanks again for your wonderful writing Sister P!