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Faith, Community, Hypocrisy, Priorities, and Jesus

Life hasn’t been easy the past few months. In particular the past month or so.

Going back to school really threw a curve at how life was going – I think in more good than bad.

I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with different people – classmates, strangers, family, and those who don’t know Jesus and it’s been really awesome. Seeing that people who are not the church are not really much different from Jesus’ people other than we’ve been given grace to deal with our sin and that we know him and worship him. It’s a really humbling thing because you realize that we are all sinners, yet God pours out so much grace to everyone. In their strengths, personalities, perks, etc. 

In some sense, it’s been good being around people really different from you. You learn to not Christianize everything, but you see where the truth of the gospel truly intersects with the rawness of life. I like that about being in the world and not of it – it’s great. 

In another sense, I really miss community. Yet, another thing Jesus has been showing me is that community is still community whether or not I’m there. I can still reach out. I can still know how people are doing. I can still participate and be poured into. It’s great to not get stuck on that mentality that community is only Tuesdays. I keep forgetting and keep believing that everyday has opportunities for community. It’s encouraged me to not hide or keep things to myself, but rather to want to walk tough things I’m going through with my family. 

One area that has been tough is I think this smug sense of self-righteousness I deceive myself of not having. Seeing other Christians who aren’t theologically accurate or get caught up with good things and not God things sometimes annoy me, rather than break my heart. I do have a desire to see church growth and church unity, yet it is so easy for me to break down the body of Christ in having this type of heart. I’m glad that Jesus pointed that out and forgives me as I’m learning to walk in repentance of that heart and mindset. I’d want to be able to love, pray for, encourage, and equip the saints as I am able. I don’t know what that looks like now, but it is an aspiration for the future. Or maybe it should be something to start in baby steps now!

Another area that I’ve fallen short in is just setting priorities straight. Jesus, family, work, and then ministry. Often, my priorities looks like work, ministry, Jesus, then family. It’s so distorted! It makes no sense! 

Jesus first keeps my heart and mind close to him. He leads, convicts, forgives, loves, and speaks to me as I abide in him and obey as he leads. 

Family second helps me to love those closest to me, but are often the hardest to love. These are the people I can be real with and grind out life with. The challenge is to engage and love well consistently. I don’t do a great job of that. As a matter of fact, I often get in the way. I’m working on growing in it and I believe the Spirit is at work in my heart to remember the love of Christ as I desire to love my family.

Work & school third helps me to not slack off and steward the talents that God has given me. I haven’t done this with a stewardship attitude. Going back to school helped me to realize that my success was largely dependent on my identity being in my grades and working out of selfish ambition and coveting to dominate other people. Brutal, but glad I see it now so I can repent, steward what I got, and be encouraged and rejoice with others when they do well (as well as not be devastated when my studying hasn’t been great).

Ministry is last. After learning and while still in progress for many of the things stated above, God uniquely puts me in a position to serve others in the church. Because Jesus serves me, I can serve these people. Because Jesus has taught me how to love my family, he calls me to love the greater eternal family that he has redeemed. Because Jesus has taught me to steward my resources to bless my family and the world around me, I can also steward gifts to bless the church. I’m seeing ministry really as an outpouring consistency of what is already happening in my own life. To do something contrary would be hypocritical, but also a way to remind myself to go back to those previous priorities that God has laid out for me so that I can set that in order. It works both ways. 

I’m pretty exhausted. Full day of work. Full day of class. I’m not entirely ready for the quiz tomorrow, but I don’t think studying now will do much good. Better to get a good night’s sleep, lean into Jesus, and keep stewarding to the best of my ability tomorrow. Goodnight.

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