“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24)
Let me explain a little bit more about by spiritual journey. As a child, I have been taught so many things about God and Jesus. I was taught to obey the Commandments, go to church, recite the Lord’s prayer, and give offerings. Simply because I was told to do so. The same way that children are taught to look both ways before crossing the street, study for a test, share toys, and finish a meal. Simply because we were told to do so. Then there was a time in my life when I started to make my own inventory of things. Is it true that I should look both ways before crossing the street? Well there is a car coming fast and I don’t want to be hit, so the answer is yes. Does it really matter if I study for a test? Well, I don’t want to fail, so the answer again is yes. Should I really finish my meal? Not if I am full. How about sharing my toys? If I want others to do the same, maybe. But…. how about what they have taught me about God, Jesus, and the Bible? Well….
In my teen years, I started to ask these last questions, and the doubts were bombarding me. To make a long story short (and you can learn more from other posts in this blog), I came to the conclusion that I must experience God in order to genuinely believe Him, not just because I was taught to believe Him. So this has been my journey. This is why sometimes some of my comments do not seem like the typical Christian view. Because they are not, but that is ok. My goal is not to conform, or to make anyone happy, but to live as it is lived in Heaven. So by questioning and doubting , I started having a more honest and profound spiritual encounter in my life that I never had, which was introduced to me in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). I started to experience God in a more profound way.
Now I understand that “no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.” means that I must stop being the selfish and self-sufficient person I am inclined t to be by nature and start relying on God and serve others (blessed are the poor in spirit). I perceive “turn the other cheek” not as simply tolerating but as a way to show the power of making peace (blessed are the peacemakers). I am now having a new appreciation about “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Mt. 22:39), not because the Bible says so, but because it describes how I now feel we should treat each other regardless of differences (blessed are those who fight for righteousness). I view “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” not as a nice way of describing a romance with Jesus, but describing how we must rely on what Jesus represents and not on our own selfish ways (blessed are the meek). When Jesus taught about forgiving 70 x 7, having faith to move mountains, being light of the world, and denying the self, it wasn’t to give us a ticket to heaven, but they are ways to experience Heaven. These and many more scriptures started to make more sense to me, almost as if I started to actually live them instead of just mentally understanding them. It is almost as if trying to learn a new language by memorizing words, but never fully understanding them, and then I start doing things that are described by the new words I just memorized, and the new words become meaningful to me. Almost like experiencing God from the Inside Out. I have gradually started living the Kingdom of Heaven from the inside. It is hard to explain. It is looking at the Gospel with new goggles. It is tasting the Kingdom of Heaven, not just hearing it and nodding my head in agreement. I hear music and can appreciate it, but I don’t fully live music until I pick up a guitar and create music from inside the guitar. The same way, I don’t just read the Gospel, but pick up myself from the selfish lifestyle and live this Life from inside my soul. I don’t give myself credit for this change, but to God alone. I have learned to praise God, not just with words, but by reaching out to others in need of service .
Please enjoy the following music video by Hillsong’s “From Inside Out”. It’s one of my favorite.
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James 2:14
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” James 1:22