Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Faith - Things I Want to Share

I chatted briefly with a very sweet young lady earlier today.  She had read the first few pages of The God Who is Love and said that she might want to ask me some questions down the line.  You guys know me; that sounds like an absolute blast.  Not really knowing anything about this young woman's faith as she grew up or what specific thoughts or questions she has, it got me thinking, "If I could share anything I wanted about God/faith with someone, what would it be?"  So here is my "wish list," the thing I most want to tell others who are serious about growing in faith:
  • Never say that you are "not holy enough" to start a relationship with God; that's like saying you're "too dirty" to take a bath.  God loves you now; and He will give you the power to change, to live like Jesus (aka, "be holy").
  • Faith is a relationship with a Person (or more precisely, with three divine Persons in one nature).
  • It is unlike any other relationship in your life; this is the Being holding you and everything you know in existence - your ability to think, act, and simply be are utterly dependent upon Him.
  • We live in a culture that, while it continues to have many positive points, has started down a path that contradicts God on some of His (and nature's) most fundamental truths.  If we grew up in this culture, then we're probably in for more than a little "culture shock" as to what God desires for our lives.
  • The Christian Faith is not a matter of individual interpretation.  We are not able to pick and choose which elements of it are appealing to us.  God became a man, Jesus, and He claimed, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life."  To reject some element of belief or morality is to reject Jesus.  It's all personal in Christianity; it's all relationship.
  • If you believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, then it stands to reason that you believe He is the greatest teacher the world has ever known.  No decent teacher throws his students a textbook and says, "I'll see you at the final exam."  When Christians try to go it with the "Bible alone," they're setting themselves up for mistakes.  Jesus never penned a book during his time on earth.  
  • Jesus founded a Church and promised to be with her shepherds, guiding them as they taught the world.  The New Testament came through them.  It was never meant to stand alone.  Jesus, the teacher, guards against misinterpretation of His words and offers us guidance in today's changing world through His shepherds, the Pope and Bishops.
  • God fills the deepest longings of our hearts.  Once you've come into contact with Him, nothing else will ever really satisfy you again.
  • I am a Catholic - but not because I wanted to be.  There were doctrines I did not want to believe in (seriously, who wants to go to Confession?); but once I understood that it was what Jesus taught ... there was nothing more I could say.  I want to live my life in union with Him.  And you know what?  As much as I might not want to go to Confession beforehand, it turns out that it really is good for the soul; Jesus knew what He was talking about! 
  • Faith = relationship = loving and trusting everything Jesus did and said.
So there you go, the things that are really on my heart to share with others - my Christmas wish-list.

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