In reading the Bible cover to cover, the biggest change of my life is that it freed me from this world. Life is so much more fulfilling now…now that I know my purpose and the blessings that’ll come from simply enduring until the end.
My relationship with human beings…it’s a love/hate relationship. I have so much compassion for them as my brethren and God’s created children. But I also feel the same indignation any brother would feel when you see them walking down a path of destruction, especially when you know what our parents told us. And just like any brother when everyone’s all grown up, you have to accept that your siblings are free to make their own decisions, they’re own choices.
Imagine this…Everyone’s on the Titanic and we’re told the ship is going to sink at some point. You look around and everyone’s having a good time but because you heard the captain, you know the Titanic is going to get hit by an iceberg. You don’t know when. So you’re told to remain awake. If you accept the captain’s orders and do what you’re told, your place is reserved on the lifeboats. But everyone else…they’re going down with the ship.
It hasn’t happened yet. And because it hasn’t happened, despite being told to stay awake for so long…the people lack faith. They stop believing. They say the captain’s orders don’t make sense. They begin to think they know better than the captain. They criticize and make fun of you for following the captain’s orders instead of indulging in the fun inebriation they lose themselves in. Even the ones who believed in the beginning start to fall away. They see everyone else having a good ole’ time, sleeping and partying, so they think to themselves that maybe the ship won’t sink after all. They stop following orders. They ignore the captain.
Then the inevitable happens. The ship hits an iceberg. The massive Titanic that everyone had so much faith in, that they believed was unsinkable…it begins to list. Chaos and panic ensues. Just as the captain warned, the only ones who will be saved on the lifeboats are the ones who obeyed his commands until the end.
Jesus Christ teaches us to love our brothers and sisters, to love our fellow neighbors as we would ourselves. If I was in one of those lifeboats watching as the ship went down…I imagine I’d be clenching my teeth in grief and frustration. I’d wish I didn’t care…but God knows I do. Those are my brothers and sisters on that ship.
This was how I felt when I read the Book of Revelations. I remember I cried one night. There’s so much death and destruction that’s going to happen, the likes of which no one has ever seen. I know without a shadow of doubt that the end of human existence is coming. Jesus Christ will return. Those who didn’t believe, those who continue to do whatever they want, those who lack faith will be destroyed. What kind of brother would I be to know this is going to happen, and not do whatever I could to make sure others find their places on those lifeboats.
The New You:
In Matthew 13:57, Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
When you read the Bible in its entirety and fully commit yourself to Christ’s teachings, you become a new person. It’s a new life. You’ve shed the skin of your former self. The ones who will have the hardest time accepting this about you, will be the ones who knew you from the past…or peers who blanketly believe in the notion that everyone is equal at everything no matter what you do or how you live. They weren’t there during your transformation. They didn’t see the work you put in. They didn’t witness to your trials and tribulations. They haven’t read the “Truth”.
And so…I suspect they struggle with the idea that you could possibly be something different from what they thought you were. My birth name is Reggie. By the time I turned 23 in 2009, I started going by the penname of Rock Kitaro and began my journey as an author, ever seeking enlightenment and knowledge, years before I picked up the Bible.
“Yeah, I’m not calling you, Rock,” they would tell me. Almost as if to say, “you haven’t earned a new name.”
I don’t blame them. The Reggie they knew was impulsive, immature, short-sighted, lacking comprehension and knew very little about the world or the way people think. The Rock I’ve become is something quite different. If they’ve remained the same after all these years, or if they’ve fallen for this world’s deception only to see how much I’ve grown, of course they’re going to have a hard time believing it. Mainly because they don’t want to.
Then there are the relationships you have with people during your transformation, while you’re being set free. Because it doesn’t happen over night. It took at least two years for me to shed off my former self. When this happens, your relationships are at-risk to get tougher because so badly, you want to share what you’re learning but you don’t want to ram it down their throats. They’re good people. Otherwise you wouldn’t have befriended them in the first place. But in the end, you can’t serve two masters. The truth becomes clear. You have to make a choice. You can choose to do what’s good in God’s eyes, or continue to be plugged into the system, a world that’s dominated by the influence of Satan.
These friends are the ones who believe you can do both. They don’t understand why you have to make a choice in the first place. And thus, some start to feel betrayed by you. Some believe that you think you’re better than everyone. And because they don’t want to move forward, they’re good where they’re at, deep down they start to resent you for thinking they’re not good enough. They’re oblivious to the fact that even I don’t think I’m good enough. That it’s by God’s grace alone that I’ve received salvation. And that I read the Bible every night to remind myself of his grace, of Christ’s teachings, of his dying on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven.
You’re Wiser About Choosing Your Friends and Associates:
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. You’re only as good as the company you keep. Sound familiar? This isn’t about being hive-mind or keeping yourself in an echo chamber. In this final entry of Ways the Bible Changed My life, I’m going to explain why and how those common sayings are so important to a Christian who’s striving to do what’s good in God’s eyes…while having to survive in a world controlled by Satan.
Living by Christ’s standards is freedom. I know that sounds ironic, but think about it. Ephesians Chapter 2 explains how before we accepted Christ, we were dead in our trespasses of sin. We walked and followed the course of Satan’s world, living in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body. How many times have you been told what you must do or how you must think, based on your race or gender?
I know… Already, I can see people screaming about how the same can be said of religion. Already, I can see the Feminists reaching for their pitchforks because of the traditional “woman’s role” preached about in the New Testament.
But what if I told you those standards weren’t meant to oppress Christians…but to free them. Notice how I said “Christians”. Not “people.” It doesn’t make sense for anyone who’s not a Christian to try and live by Christian standards if they don’t believe. Once upon a time, I also rejected and hated religion. For non-believers, it is a form of oppression to have anyone try and impose those standards onto them. And that’s why non-believers are indeed lost and ensnared.
I no longer reject religion. By my own freewill, I voluntarily submit myself to the Lord, Jesus Christ. To anyone who was forced into the religion, I apologize. That’s not how God wants us to come to him. I ask that if it was your parents who forced you, please forgive them. As parents, it’s their responsibility to guide you.
But once you hit adulthood and leave the nest…the decision is yours. Too many of us merely inherited our religion, our beliefs, without fully understanding what it means. That’s why, sad to say, a lot of Atheists seem to know more about Jesus Christ than a lot of self-proclaimed Christians do. It’s our responsibility as adults, not to just “say” who we are, but to “be” what we say we are. No one can force you. It has to be something you want to do. Faith is something you choose to embrace.
I had to get all that out of the way, because if you’re not a Christian, if you don’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word, his form of communication to us…then none of this is going to make sense to you. You will likely call our “freedom” an illusion. Sort of like when we were kids and told that America is the land of the free. You can’t just freely walk into a grocery store and take a candy bar without paying for it, so what gives?!
What Do I Mean By “Freedom”?
As I made my transformation over the two years it took for me to read the Bible the first time, my priorities changed. I was freed from the pursuit of money, status, and resources all in an effort to please other humans and potential spouses. I started seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven, and as such, my life became much more simple…or boring, depending on who you are.
For instance, if I had a dating profile and you asked me what my hobbies were…I’d tell you, that I love to read biographies and about historical events. I love to write. I like hitting the gym. I like boxing. I like playing basketball. I like going to my spot by the Gulf of Mexico to listen to music and reflect. And I definitely like working, producing something for a purpose, a cause. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I’m a virgin who’s waiting for marriage to have sex and I’m not ashamed to say that, even if it’s on the first date to let the woman know she can let go of that expectation and all the stereotypes associated with what she thinks the “modern man” wants.
“Okay, Rock. But what do you like to do for fun?”
I just gave you a list of it.
“But Rock. Those don’t sound like fun.”
They are to me. They have been for a long time, even in my mid to late 20s. Which was why I was super glad when I turned 30-years-old. I thought, “at last, people can stop trying to get me to do what they think a normal 20-something year old to do.”
“But, Rock. You gotta ask yourself. What woman would want to be a part of your life if you do things that are only fun to you?”
Absurd question, but glad you asked. If you lived your life based on what other humans think you should do in order just to have relationships with them…how free are you? Not to mention, just because these things are boring to you, doesn’t mean they’re boring to everyone. And I think that’s one of the biggest problems with our generation. Is that we see representations of ourselves in music videos and TV shows, and think that all men/women are like what we see. And instead of just being yourself, you change yourself in an attempt to attract the kind of men/women you see on TV. You get tatted up. You change your hair color. You learn to twerk. You post provocative photos.
And then when a man like me passes you by in the gym or in the store, seeing all the hallmarks of a person who’s still plugged into this world, you wonder why I’m not paying any attention. You attract the energy you put out. So when you hear these women talk about how there aren’t any good men…it’s not surprising. You’re still stuck in the matrix. I know you are, because if you were free…then you would endeavor to do the right thing despite the lack of good men, despite being single and alone. Instead, you live your life chained to the whims of what you think men want…instead of God.
The first thing you need to understand is that God made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. I talked about this in the point: The Bible Explains Why Humans Are the Way We Are, but in reading the Bible in its entirety, you come away with a greater understanding that God has created everything for its proper place, order, and structure. That’s wisdom.
That’s why it’s understandable why my generation would be as confused and frustrated as we are…Because progressives have done their damnest to move away from God’s traditional standards, that proper order and structure. And because so many “Christians” don’t know what the Bible actually says on the matter, they’re swayed to the pressures of the herd’s overwhelming emotions and popular opinion.
Consider this: In the Old Testament, God presented Moses with laws by which the Israelites should obey. He didn’t do that for tyrannical purposes or just to make their lives difficult. He did it because he knows our human nature. It’s for the benefit of society as a whole that people don’t commit murder, that they honor their mother and father, that they don’t steal, that they have no other Gods, that they should not covet their neighbor’s wife or commit adultery.
And when I say “benefit of society,” I’m talking about the consideration of others. If you steal, while that may be what you want, you’re taking away from someone else. If you kill someone, it will severely damage the surviving loved ones whose natural inclination is to seek some form of justice. Look at Lebanon. Look at the Middle East. Look at the Wild West in the late 1800s. Or the gang-infested urban areas of Chicago and Baltimore. Even with the rules about not coveting your neighbor’s wife or committing adultery, the hook-up culture; we see the disastrous effects of children being born out of wedlock, or children raised in single-parent households. The effects trickle down and society suffers.
We need rules. We need some kind of code or constitution by which everyone abides by in order to avoid harmfully affecting others.
When Jesus Christ took human form, he established a new covenant (new laws) in the New Testament. Many (not all) of the Old Testament laws were abrogated with the establishment of the New Testament; such as eating unclean foods and keeping the Sabbath.
When Jesus was crucified, he presented his perfect life, free from any blemish or sin, and suffered God’s wrath, the punishment that was meant for us. It would be like, if your name was signed on a death warrant. And instead of you being the one to go up to the gallows to be hanged, another man who was completely innocent voluntarily gave himself to be hanged in your place. So you could live.
That was Jesus Christ. The Messiah. The Son of God who atoned for the sin that was brought into this world when Adam (the first man) partook of the forbidden fruit and thus passed that sin down to all of us. This is my savior. My hero. My role model. Who’s yours?
All you have to do is believe. Have faith that he died for our sins and you will be saved. This is freedom. Freedom from the old ways of sacrificing animals at the alter. Freedom from the concept of “works righteousness,” where it was believed that you could only be saved by your merit, or the actions you produce. All you need is faith, knowing that salvation is through your belief in Jesus Christ alone.
But still…I can “say” I have faith all day. What does it truly mean?
If you believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, wouldn’t your life reflect it? Why do you think he’s called Lord? It isn’t just a title. But for us, it’s made to illustrate the power and influence he should have in our lives.
Think about an actual Lord, a King. If this King spent three years walking amongst us servants, teaching us how we should live, what we should be striving for…and furthermore, anointing Apostles and giving them authority to teach us how to live life…what kind of servants would we be if we only “said” we believe and have faith…yet we ignore his teachings, disobey his commands, or think we know better than his chosen apostles?
Let’s dial it back and make it personal. How would you feel if your friends and family only “said” they believed and supported you…but not once have they ever shown an interest in who you are, what you do, or celebrated your accomplishments? They claim to know you but don’t know a damn thing about you. When they talk about you to others, it’s always wrong. It’s always a confected image of what they think you are. So in effect, the real you doesn’t even exist in their world. How would you feel? Especially when you see them showing all kinds of affection, support, and celebration to others.
That’s what’s going on now, as it has been for a millennium. When the Apostle Paul was founding the churches around the Mediterranean, people were still engaging in Pagan worship, participating in orgies, and bowing down in huge temples dedicated to the Greek Gods.
People so openly worshiping false Gods while those who worship the true Living God are oppressed into silence.
“Wow, Rock. You need to check yourself. There’s a difference between simply having fun and worshiping someone. And I find it funny to hear a Christian talk about how Christians are oppressed in this country. There are more Christians in the US than any other religion, but they’re oppressed?”
Ask yourself…when’s the last time you saw anyone in the mainstream media criticize Islam? Now how often do you see them criticizing Christians? I digress.
What I’m about to say now is going to sound very offensive and condescending. It’s going to “sound” like I’m saying I’m better than you. Or that you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do. So I pose this question…
If God views homosexuality as an abomination, but the World is telling you it’s okay to be gay and you should accept and celebrate all lifestyles…what will you do? If God tells you it’s wrong, but the world tells you it’s right, who do you believe?
If the World tells you to keep your religion out of politics and law, but Jesus teaches you to put God first and love him with all your “heart, soul, and mind”…what’s more important to you, doing what humans want just to please them? Or doing what’s good in God’s eyes to please Him?
In this world, our biggest tests of faith essentially boils down to these choices. No different from the choice Adam faced in the Garden of Eden. Will you choose to do what’s good in God’s eyes…or the Worlds? You can’t serve two masters. I know…you’ll hear Christians tell you it’s okay to do both. You’ll hear Christians say Jesus Christ loved and accepted everyone, but that is an incredibly deceptive statement. That’s why it’s important for you to read the Bible for yourself, or you’re left vulnerable to that deception.
In the book of Luke, Jesus gave the parable about the physician. Does a physician seek out those who are already healthy, or those who are sick and in need of medical attention? In the same sense, Jesus Christ was seeking out the sinners to get them to repent…not to celebrate and “accept” their lifestyle, but to accept them as individuals. Love the sinner, hate the sin.
In nearly every one of Christ’s healings, his parting message when it came to those he healed was, “Go…and sin no more.”
To the woman who was about to be stoned. Yes, he said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Then he told the adulterous woman, “Go, and leave your life of sin.”
Does that sound like he was encouraging her to keep committing adultery? So why do self-proclaimed Christians encourage you to just “do you,” that you should just “be yourself” because God created you and thus you embrace your desires and impulses?
These were the false teachers Jesus warned about. And because your hearts are wicked, you voluntarily choose to listen to those who tell you what you want to hear. If the world is calling for the end of “traditional” roles between men and women when the Bible clearly states in multiple books that the man is the head of the household and women are to be submissive to their husbands…what will you do? (1st Timothy 2:9-15, 1st Corinthians 11, Ephesians 5:22-33)
God sees what’s in our hearts. We demonstrate our love, faith, and belief in Jesus Christ by the way we live our lives. It’s demonstrated when we resist temptation. It’s demonstrated when we forgive our enemies even though we may be overcome with the impulse to lash out. It’s demonstrated when we choose to do what’ good in God’s eyes, even when the world’s telling us that it’s pointless and that “nice guys finish last”.
In Matthew 16:24-26, Our Lord said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?”
That’s what our King has said. Now, what is the world telling us?
Celebrities and influences speak from the pulpits of their platforms about empowerment, of casting off the old traditions, of abolishing gender roles…roles clearly lined out in the Bible. Were inundated with commercials about what to buy, what to strive for, how to live, what’s acceptable, what’s inappropriate. You’re told that you have to go to college, get a degree, get that career, to never get stuck at a dead-end job, but to keep climbing that corporate ladder. You’re told you have to be a man with money, status, and resources to get the kind of woman you desire. You’re told you have to be more open woman, liberal with your standards and go with the flow or get left behind.
I don’t think I ever truly fit in with the world. And I tried.
From 2009-2014 (age 22-27), I was very much a Liberal. I believed in Feminism, Gender Equality and Social Justice. In 2008, I was so happy that Obama won the White House, not because of anything he stood for, but simply because he was black. I was for stricter gun control. I hated the idea of religion influencing our laws, education, and culture the way many Leftists still hate it to this day.
But there was a problem. My quarrel was never with God or Jesus Christ, just organized religions like the one I grew up in. The internal conflict came from the fact that I still very much a Christian at heart.
The Christian foundation in me conflicted with the mainstream popular opinion of what was right and wrong. I saw how the same people calling for tolerance and acceptance didn’t tolerate anyone who disagreed with their views on race, relations, or politics.
And when I was 27, one of the biggest revelations that hit home was a conversation with my aunt. At this point, I was still a big believer in equality and the breaking down of traditional gender roles. I had ended a relationship with my girlfriend months earlier and talked to my aunt about the dating struggle.
“I don’t know, auntie. Things just don’t make sense. I’ve been trying to follow what people have been telling me. Don’t catcall. Treating women as my equal. For the longest time, I’ve literally believed in finding a woman where I’m not looking to be led or followed, but someone who I can walk hand in hand with. Together as equals.”
That’s when she told me… “Well, Rock…as Christians, we’re taught that the man is supposed to be the head of the household. Husbands are supposed to honor their wives, but wives are to submit to their husbands. Men are supposed to lead.”
Boom…like a brick through a glass window. From there, the dominos toppled. I began to ask myself…Could it be that my frustrations came from the fact that popular opinion and Christianity don’t mix? How was this possible? I thought “most” Americans were Christians. So if “most” people were Christians, then aren’t the Christian standards…popular opinion?
It took two years to read the Bible cover to cover after that…And I came to the realization that calling yourself a Christian and living a Christian life are two different things. And if you’re response is, “it’s not our place to judge who is which”…I’m sorry, but I’d have to disagree.
I don’t believe it’s our place to judge who will be saved or not. However, whether or not someone is living by Christ’s standards…we have absolutely every right to judge. And by judge, I’m talking about the ability to discern, recognize, and perceive what’s going on. In fact, it’s our responsibility. 1st Corinthians 5:11 teaches us to disassociate ourselves with those who claim to be Christian but have a consistent pattern of sin. This requires us to use our judgment.
This is extremely important because striving to do what’s good in God’s eyes in a world heavily dominated and influenced by Satan is very difficult. Think about it. If you weigh over 300lbs and made up your mind to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle…why would you continue to hang out with people who are constantly going to fast food restaurants, drinking beer, and getting blazed. How do you think you got up to 300lbs in the first place?
Or what about if you get married, choosing to leave behind a sex-filled playa’s lifestyle of hitting up clubs and taking home a different woman every night? Why would you continue to hang out with friends who are still doing that? Friends who are constantly bringing new scantily clad women around you every day.
Remember the Lord’s prayer? At Matthew 6:13 he says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
What sense does it make to ask God not to lead us into temptation…but by our free will we continue to allow ourselves to be tempted?
By associating with people who don’t live by Christ’s standards, or worse, people who claim they do but clearly indulge in sinful lifestyles…it has a way of influencing you to do the same.
I’ll give you a personal example. I used to have a “best friend” who claimed to be a Christian and honestly, was one of the most humble, kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. One of my biggest hardships in life has been loneliness. Being a writer is a solitary occupation and most of my closest friends are decades older than me, not the type I can just pop in and hang out with.
But this Christian friend was my age. I hung out with her quite a bit and, if she was 60lbs lighter, I might have developed romantic feelings for her. She almost had the same struggle as me when it came to the loneliness because we don’t belong to any church or congregation…but the difference between us was that she was very accepting and open to embracing any and all lifestyles.
Even after I talked to her about the Bible and showed her scriptures about how God feels about things like homosexuality or sexual immorality…she was still open and accepting to others who indulged in all that. She’d willingly go to Gay Pride events and celebrate with them. She attended a funeral where idolatry was practiced.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m a better Christian than she is. She’s a grown woman, free to make her own decisions. And just like she can choose what she will or won’t do…I can choose whether I want to continue hanging out with her.
“I don’t understand, Rock. What’s the problem? What does her going out to pride events have to do with you? She’s not forcing you to go with her, is she?”
As I said…my chronic pain is loneliness. But God, in his love and grace has blessed me with the wisdom to avoid that pain. I know how to be alone without feeling lonely. I know how to be alone and yet, be happy, joyful, and at peace. Staying productive and keeping your mind focused is one way. Avoiding situations where you’re forced to see what everyone else has but you lack is another, like weddings, parties, dances, and so forth.
And perhaps the most detrimental effect of hanging out with her was that it caused me to question my own standards. Whether it was good to have standards in the first place. When I saw her, as a proclaimed Christian, attending events and having fun with others of indulgent worldly lifestyles, I began to think:
“If she can do it and still call herself a Christian, maybe I can do the same. It’s not like I’m abandoning my faith by simply going to a hockey game organized by a gay pride committee.”
All for the sake of fun, being involved, and not being alone, I was contemplating lowering my standards.
“Wow, Rock. You’re basically saying your standards are higher than hers.”
Why is that so shocking? First off, the “standards” we’re talking about here is just the bar by which I’m expected to live my life. If you know more about what’s right and wrong, you’re going to be judged by a higher standard, than say…a child, who doesn’t know. My friend has not read the Bible in its entirety. I even bought her a study edition of the MacArthur ESV Bible. That DOES NOT mean I’m a better Christian than she is…But unlike that friend, I can’t claim ignorance because I know the Truth.
I can’t say, “I never knew how God felt about this” or “I didn’t know it was wrong to do that.” Because I’ve read the Scriptures. So naturally, our standards would not be the same.
“But Rock…if you cut out everyone who has a different standard than you, you’ll always be alone.”
I don’t think that’s true, but I understand why you’d say that. Though I’m no longer close to that friend anymore, I still care about her. She’s still in my thoughts, clearly…hence my typing about her right here and now. Not to mention, it’s not like I don’t have patience. That “friend”…I held onto her for at least two years before I finally said enough was enough. The keyword I like to use is “endeavoring.” If I see you at least making an effort to do what’s good in God’s eyes…we all fall short. But if it’s a consistent pattern, where the effort doesn’t seem genuine or you’re trying to take advantage of my forgiveness and kindness…
And when I’m talking about “association,” I’m talking about people I consider to be my real friends. I have hundreds of acquaintances from all walks of life, all different races, creeds, genders, and religions. I can chit-chat and laugh with all of them, embracing them with love and kindness.
But the ones I keep in my heart are different. They say you can’t “pick and choose your family,”…but I do. If I see you as a friend, you are as family to me. And the problem is, my heart’s not that big or strong. There’s not enough room for everyone. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to kick people out of my heart, because having them inside just hurt too much. Like my aforementioned friend.
Jesus Christ himself told us at Matthew 18:7-9, that if the eye causes you to sin, to pluck it out. If Jesus is telling us to do that when it comes to our own bodily members, however painful that may be, how much more so should we do towards the influences that aren’t even physically attached to us?
Also…another big reason why people tend to fall away after you’ve read the Bible…it’s not because you won’t tolerate them…but really it’s because they can’t tolerate you. Now, these peers won’t ever go so far as to say, “Rock, we can’t hang out with you anymore.”
Instead…they did their damnest to hinder me through their language, shaming tactics designed to get me to submit to the world’s way of thinking, to let go of my standards and chop me down to their level. To this day, if I had to break out the numerous examples to most of my peers, they wouldn’t believe me. They’ll try to gaslight me and say it’s all in my head or it’s not that big a deal. Or they’ll ask, “Why do you care what they think?”
Finally, I realized something. This was back when I was still in my late 20s. It was only my peers, people my own age who tried those tactics. Everyone else, especially the older people and professionals, completely understood and accepted what I was trying to do. They encouraged me and said I was doing exactly what I was supposed to do. I didn’t seek their validation or gravitate to older people because they told me what I wanted to hear. At same time, I couldn’t ignore the coincidence.
So why weren’t my peers like this? I believe it’s because I put them to shame. Not just with my religious standards, but also my work ethic, my mental and emotional growth, my discipline, the fact that I was able to lose 178lbs and keep it off.
It’s the fable of the ant and the grasshopper...except that in this story there are more grasshoppers around me than ants. When my peers talked about their weekends, it was always some fun activity or special event that they were going to. When they asked about my weekends, it was full of endeavors meant to better myself or working towards a goal or accomplishment. The way we spent our time was different and to protect their self-esteem, they subconsciously attacked.
It’s the same for Christians endeavoring to live their lives according to the Bible standards. Even if you have a lot of friends who “say” they’re Christians or that they’re accepting of all worldviews and lifestyles…the moment they see you practicing those Bible standards or openly praising God for his marvelous works…cue the eye-rolls and start the timer on their patience running out.
Even with these essays…before I promoted them on my Facebook page, I wrote a post along the lines of: “Hey everyone, just a heads up. I plan to post a series of essays I’ve written about the top ten ways reading the Bible has changed my life. I’m letting you know because I don’t want anyone to think that I’m shoving religion down their throats.”
I suspect some will think that “Facebook isn’t a place for that”. But it’s who I am. It’s what I am. If a person who’s all about PRIDE can post pictures of rainbows and flags…if a person who’s all about their Marvel and DC fandom can post animations and posters…if a person who’s all about their love for football can cheer and boast of their teams…why can’t a Christian post about their love and knowledge of God?
“Because Rock! Not everyone believes! It’s offensive.”
Therein lies my disagreement with the world at large. One of the main reasons why the world is so out of sorts is because people refrain from speaking the truth out of fear of offending people. We’re so concerned with hurting someone’s feelings that we’d let them go on walking the straight path to destruction. I’m not just talking about their spiritual destruction, but physical and mental destruction as well. Looking at the fat-acceptance crowd there.
Not to mention, who gets to pick and choose what’s offensive? Those who are crying the loudest? What message does that send to others? Aren’t they the same ones calling for acceptance and tolerance?
Listen…The Bible tells us that we need companionship, to reject isolation. We are social creatures. I believe there’s even a scripture that flat out tells us that how selfish it is.
But what I’m saying, is what the Apostle Paul taught in scriptures like 1st Corinthians 7:17…where he says “let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.”
That’s an important scripture because I don’t want you to read my essay and think that reading the Bible in its entirety means you’ll end up alone. There is a great multitude of Christians who have read the Bible in its entirety and they are blessed with friends, wives, husbands, and children. They are surrounded by companionship and they know the Scriptures.
But personally…speaking of myself…You’d be hard-pressed to find another person on earth who was raised the way I was, look the way I do, and overcame the adversities I have. Even my brothers, who were raised in the same house, all went down separate paths after leaving the nest. And in my journey, Jehovah has molded me to be a man who can handle being alone. Some people can’t.
While those other Christians who are blessed with the opportunity to preach to the masses in person…I use my gifts and abilities to ministers to others who are like me…alone physically…but not spiritually. To those brothers and sisters, we are connected in thought. Like you, reading my words right now. You’ve welcomed me into your mind for just a moment and, to that end, I am trying my best to be a courteous houseguest.
Also, just because I’m alone physically right now, doesn’t mean I’ll be like this forever. For now, I benefit from the “joy” Paul talks about in Galatians Chapter 5. It’s funny because I actually wrote an essay about the “Blessing of Being Content” before I fully grasped the concept of what Paul meant when he talked about “joy”.
In Galatians 5:22, Paul mentions that one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is joy. Pastor John MacArthur notes, this Joy “is the sense of well-being experienced by one who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. It’s not the result of favorable circumstances and even occurs when those circumstances ae the most painful and severe. Joy is a gift from God, and as such, believers are not to manufacture it but to delight in the blessing they already possess.”
Astute, is another good word for it. This is the notion of assessing your situation and turning it to your advantage. In reading the Bible, you’ll find all kinds of prophets, messengers, and apostles who God used for his purposes, all coming from different backgrounds, yet their commonality was their strong faith in God.