Friday, July 08, 2011

Why I’ve been a lousy Christian

It’s been too long since I last wrote. I really should have never taken a hiatus. Life, on the other hand, doesn’t always give advance notice of stuff that’s going to affect yours. Stuff’s been going on, and for that reason, my little piece of internet real estate has gone untended. That, and the fact that I threw a grand-scale pity party for myself. But as a quote I read today by Henry Van Dyke goes:

Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang but the best.

For a little while now, I’ve been listening to Andrew Wommack and Keith Moore (I resumed listening because God used a friend to ask for Brother Keith’s messages), and their individual ministries have been a great blessing. I was talking with my girlfriend about some things they said in some of their messages a little while back, and it dawned on me that I hadn’t been that excited in a while about anything.

In particular, I was listening to Brother Andrew’s series titled Discover the Keys to Staying Full of God (free MP3 downloads here) yesterday, and he began talking about esteeming, or valuing God. I realized that despite all my posturing and talking, I didn’t really value God.

When you value a person, that person’s opinion matters. What they think, what they feel, their company and total person — all of that weighs a lot when things are thrown into a mix, for instance, when a decision has to be made. Now that I’m thinking about it, “weight” is an excellent word to describe how much value a person (or thing) has (to someone). As an example, once when my girlfriend and I had a disagreement, I really felt bad. She was ticked off at something insensitive I’d done, and it was looking to ruin my day. In other words, my girlfriend’s opinion of my actions weighed a great deal when added into the mix of the (decidedly unconscious) decision of what attitude to maintain (don’t look at me like that; it is/was a decision. You may like it or not, but that’s the way it is) on that particular day.

How I knew I didn’t value God when I analyzed my life? Glad you asked (I know you didn’t, but work with me here, ok?):

  • I didn’t want to spend time with Him (this is a relative thing: I did my church routine, regular as clockwork, always on time and all that, but He — God, the Person — took a back seat to church — the system). Basically, I didn’t value His Person.
  • I didn’t value His words. One of the things I do deliberately is tell my girlfriend I love her at least once every single day. Sometimes, I don’t feel like it. I’m learning to (I haven’t arrived, but I’ve left, to steal Brother Andrew’s words Winking smile) go over things we’ve talked about, read her text messages over again — giving her  (and specifically, her words) “mind time” (as Brother Keith calls it). I realized I didn’t consciously give God – or His words – mind time.
    Also, I valued other people’s words over His (this, again, is a matter or relativity: When words are frapped in your mind as though in a blender – food processor for readers with a US bent – whose words tend to color and flavour the resulting mix – this is also known as your decision – the most?): Here where I live, intellectual property piracy (and flagrant disregard of copyright law) is pretty much a normal thing. Ephesians 4:28 (King James 2000 version) says: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.
    That verse has itched in my head for a while now. I’ve suppressed it several times, talking about the relatively high cost of legal copies of intellectual property (for software, monetary cost, for other kinds like books, music, movies, that, and sometimes simply the trouble of getting it at all; if you’ve ever tried buying stuff over the internet in Nigeria, you’ll understand my point – I once got a catalog via mail from a company that claimed they didn’t ship their free ebooks to Nigeria! Why ship when you can provide a download?), talking it over with people, trying to rationalize what God was saying away. And that’s just one example.
  • I didn’t value His actions. One of the most touching things my girlfriend did before we starting our relationship as it is (sorry, but I really dislike the word ‘dating’) was call me when I was suffering from a cold. It doesn’t seem important until you realize she was a student in another country at the time. I still treasure the thought. She said it was to hear what I sounded like with a cold, but (goofy smile moment coming right up) I know better. She cared about me, and it made me feel loved and very special.
    God’s given me so much, and I’m pretty much never grateful in return, relatively speaking. I’ve complained about my job, my boss, my family, my leaders, my friends, humanity in general – it’s a wonder He still loves me.

So, what’s happened since? I’m working on it. I haven’t arrived, but I can say I’ve left. I’m deliberately giving more weight to God (meaning right now I’ve to stop blogging and get to work – see Colossians 3:22-23). What about you? What will you do with God?

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