Monthly Archives: August 2011

Extremes are foolish.

No matter how much I struggle with my faith in God… no matter how much I tend to use my limited reason and knowledge to try to find a logical explanation for things, no matter how I try to be a fool by relying on my own wisdom, I always end up going back to asking God for his intervention and mercy.  There is always the realization that my human knowledge and reasoning is only a limited ability in this limitless universe.  We are great beings, but not the greatest.

I recently was clarified by some friends in the blogging world that according to James and Paul in the New Testament, If we claim that we are Christians and have faith, but continue to live sinful (selfish) lives, it does not mean that we have faith and simply need works to be justified and be “saved”.  It actually means that we still don’t have faith in the first place.  Having faith in Jesus and the Gospel is equal to living a life of genuine surrender to what Jesus commanded us to do: love our neighbors as ourselves.  If we claim that we have faith in Jesus, but continue to cheat, steal, lie, hold grudges, discriminate, create war, etc, then we really do not have this faith, and we simply have faith in our own strengths to be “good”, even though we might try to say we are doing God’s will.

Faith involves a genuine surrender, a profound change of life, not a superficial or self pleasing change of life.  Let me use an analogy.  If the mirror says that it can reflect my face, but I do not see my face in it because it is too dirty, then it has no reflection of my face even if it says it does.  The mirror’s claim that it reflects is false.  The faith that it has that it reflects my face is false.  It is dead faith.  But if it truly and genuinely decides to clean itself, and then it says it can reflect my face, then it will have true faith, because I will see my face reflected on it.  The mirror’s faith is proved by the reflection. My true faith will be reflected by my genuine lifestyle.

Now, we can engage in religious debates about what does it mean to be “saved”, if hell exists, whether non-believers go to Heaven or not, and so forth…. while the rest of the world suffers from hunger, injustice, wars, corruption, greed, and other selfish and sinful acts.  We are still distracted with doctrinal debates and romantic relationships with an ideal Jesus, while the reality of the injustice of this world continues.  The real Jesus, I believe, commanded us to fight for righteousness, to make peace, to be humble, to have clean hearts, to mourn, and to be poor in spirit.  Jesus taught us to be perfect as God is perfect.  This is salvation.

Driving down the road, I came across a sign in front of a church that read “God: And you think it’s hot here?”  What exactly is this message supposed to do?  Encourage people to turn to God for fear of burning up in hell?  I rather feel intimidated by this sign instead of encouraged or ministered!  This is being extreme.  Foolish.

So my thought is that it is a matter of balancing my life between being too rational to the point of denying the existence of God, and being too religious limiting my spiritual growth.  Either way would be foolish.   But staying in the middle, by maintaining faith and still use reason, is the best way to grow spiritually. I must avoid being too rational or too religious. Either way would separate me from God.

” For merely listening to the law does not make us right with God, it is obeying the law that makes us right in His sight. ” Romans 2:13

“The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God'” Psalm 53:1

“Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

— Matthew 7:24–27


Can Faith and Reason Coexist?

More on faith.  I was reflecting today more on the story of Jesus when a follower asked Him to increase his faith, and Jesus said “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain to move and it will move”.  I reflected that Jesus was teaching that whatever faith I have, it should be enough to be able to do great things.  I don’t have to try to have more faith in order to be able to do things, whatever faith I have should be sufficient.  Accepting my doubts is ok.  Accepting my limitation is fine.  This will allow me to let God do the rest through me.  One of my wonderful visitors confirmed this in her comment to my previous post.  Maybe I have been losing faith in my own effort, losing faith in my own strengths.  It is a matter of letting go, rest in Jesus (“come to me all of those who are tired, and I will make you rest”) and allow God to give me the will and the faith to continue serving in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I have also noticed other blogs where people are talking about the importance of faith.  Is it a coincidence or God trying to tell me something?  I have  encountered situations in my current life where my faith has been tested even further.  I have felt a few times to simply get on my knees (which I have not done in a while) and simply cry out to Jesus.  I have felt sometimes that maybe God is allowing me to go through difficult situations in my personal life, job, and external family  members’ lives to give me the opportunity to turn closer to Him. I have been asking for a more profound spiritual life.  Not a more religious life, but a more transcendent, genuine, and profound approach towards spiritual growth.  But, of course, I did not expect to go through difficult situations and worries as part of this growth.  But at the same time I ask myself, how else am I supposed to grow spiritually if it is not through tribulations?  I am reminded of Jesus’ words “In this world you will have tribulations” but he promised that He was going to send the Spirit.

But while I am reflecting on all of this, my rational side of the brain starts questioning again.  My reasoning starts turning its wheel which makes me think that I should not go back to the “superstitious beliefs” and “fantasy world” of waiting on an invisible God.  And this is what I have been living for the past year or so, a non-traditional spiritual lifestyle, but a different kind of spirituality. And it worked for a while, or so I thought.  I have learned to serve others as the way to live the Kingdom of Heaven, and I am starting to so this more at work.  And I sometimes question why did I ever follow a doctrine that kept me away from living the Kingdom of Heaven.  But my reasoning tries to dominate and tells me “Because you were blinded by wishful thinking”.  My faith and my reasoning are almost combating.  But then I question myself, should they be opposing each other at all?  Can’t faith and reason coexist?  I have a mind that questions and reflects.  Why should it be wrong to do this?  It is not the same as lusting, hating, or lying.  Questioning and doubting is simply my mind’s way of wanting to learn and to experiment.  Why should it be regarded as a sin?  But at the same time, why should believing in an invisible God be considered a fantasy or fairy tale?  Don’t we believe in the government, what the newspapers say, and other entities without evidence or proof?  I think there should be a time for faith, and a time for reasoning.  I am afraid of going back to useless religious doctrines.  But I am also afraid of slowly drifting away from God.  I simply want to find the Truth.  I recognize it is a journey, and it takes time.  I just hope I am in the right direction.

Am I losing faith?

losing faith

I am not the person I used to be.  I used to pray to God frequently.  I used to regularly attend church.  I used to read the Bible a lot. But not anymore. Does this mean I am drifting away from God?  Does this mean I am less Christian?  Or worse, I am not Saved anymore?    For those of you who have followed my blog ( and thanks for visiting and commenting), know that I am not a traditional believer.  I was raised Catholic, then turned to a Pentecostal, and now I consider myself a Reflective Christian.  Reflective because I have learned to welcome doubts and questions as a way to grow spiritually.  Christian because I strongly believe in the message that Jesus taught us about the Kingdom of Heaven.  But I have found myself not having a close contact with God.  However, I am strictly talking about the traditional kneeling down and praying.  What I have been doing is reflecting more, reading the Gospel with a different perspective (when I have time), and trying to serve the people I live and work with with more compassion.  But lately I have been so busy and so tired, that I have forgotten to reflect, or pay.  And I have felt more stress and more fatigue.  I can imagine people of “more faith” suggesting that probably I need to seek God , attend church more, and so forth.  I can appreciate these suggestions, but I have tried those things before and did not work for me.  It might work for others.  I am not sure what will work so that I feel closer to God.  But God himself is a mystery to me, which I long to know more about.

This is why I have started with the simple message of “loving my neighbor as myself” by serving others unconditionally.  I guess I am doing some of this by working with the mentally ill people at my job.  But it is truly exhausting.  But at the same time, who said that living the Kingdom of Heaven was going to be easy?  I try to pray that God somehow brings me extra strength to continue to work with these people.  But I remain careless about reflecting (or praying) more about this life. I know I am rambling here, but I just wanted to express my thoughts in this post.  Maybe I have already turned closer to God and I have not noticed it yet.  Maybe I am actually growing in my faith by reflecting more on how to serve others, instead of thinking about when to read the Bible and figuring out the next time I can attend church.  I am no longer a religious person, like I used to be, but I can safely say that I have become more curious and reflective about the spiritual world.  So the question remains, am I losing faith?  I rather say that I have a different faith, and that I am growing in a different way.

Am I not Saved?  Salvation is rather a complicated word, to me.  I used to believe that it involves being saved from eternal damnation in a physical hell.  Now I believe differently.  Being saved is more like being free from the selfish habits that keep me away from living the Kingdom of Heaven.  Being saved is no longer having to ask if I am saved. But it also involves a process that takes time, not a single event.  So turning to God, being saved, or whatever you want to call it involves a step towards the lifestyle of serving other human beings with genuine care and concern.  It is showing love and compassion without expecting an immediate reward.  It involves putting my own selfish tendencies aside and reaching out to others.  It is living the Kingdom of Heaven.  But it takes time and effort, and I think this is probably what I am going through.  Thank you for reading.