No Other Option

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6, NLT)

no option b

Imagine you are getting married, right. And before your big (or small) wedding day, your future spouse comes up to you and says, “Well, if this doesn’t work out, I have someone else.” How would you feel? I know I’d probably be angry, maybe sad, but definitely doubtful because, what’s the point of marrying someone who is already thinking another?

All the times I have heard what Jesus told Thomas in John 14:6 has been in the context of Jesus is the only way to God. I completely believe that! There is no other way to God except Jesus. But, since yesterday, I have been thinking about something else, and this is something that I can’t claim credit to because I believe that it was the Holy Spirit who put this on my heart.

So, I was just laying on my bed yesterday and I was thinking: why do I still sin? I know that Jesus has saved me by His grace and mercy alone (Ephesians 2:8), I know that He loves me (John 3:16) and I genuinely love Him, I know that I am a new creation (2nd Corinthians 5:17)… you know, those things that Christians ought to believe when they are saved… But, even though this is the new reality I live in, I still find myself committing sin, be it lying, not reading His Word, not loving my neighbor, idolatry, sexual immorality, drunkenness, not obeying my parents, slander; any sin that the Bible talks about, really– because if you break one, you break all (James 2:10-11).

Anyway, as I was contemplating these things in my room, something told me: don’t make sin an option. It was as clear as hearing laurel! I kid you not. But I didn’t want to think too deeply about it at the time. So I watched Spongebob instead hahahaha!

The Holy Spirit has a way of communicating with us, you know, because I’m still thinking about it: why is sin still an option for me? Why do I still see lying as a possible means of getting what I want? Why do I still see manipulation of as a means of getting people to do the things I want them to do? Why do I still allow these thoughts to encroach on my space and I act surprised that I fall into temptation?

How do I not make sin an option? I know the answer is Jesus, but I don’t know how to make that a practical thing in my life. But I am thinking of Paul’s admonition to the Romans, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice– the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, NLT).

This is all new to me, so I am still learning it and internalizing it. But, I have been telling myself this: Jesus is the only option I have. When I want to pick up that phone and text that boy to come over, Jesus is the only option. When I want to cuss out my dad and not honor him, Jesus is the only option. When I want to go to watch another episode of Spongebob instead of reading my Bible, Jesus is the only option I have.

I thank God that my mind is being transformed by the Holy Spirit– it shows me that God is still working on me! This is a new way of thinking and I am excited to see how my relationship with God will change.

But, what do you think? How can I make Jesus the only option? How can I make sin not an option? Let me know what you think 🙂

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God, Faith, and TV: Representation

“All religion is ridiculous to the non-believer” (Law and Order: SVU). 

**DISCLAIMER**: I am not a TV or movie critic.** My thoughts below are simply my personal reflections on a specific episode I watched.

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Last night, I watched Season 18, episode 19, “Conversion”, of Law and Order: SVU, one of my favorite TV shows, on Netflix. The episode was essentially about a teenage boy who raped a teenage girl, calling it “curative intercourse”, because he believed it was God’s will, so that the girl’s soul can be saved from damnation because she was a lesbian; the episode is about the aftermath of that. I encourage you to watch the episode yourself to have your own insights and conclusions. It was a good episode, one I really enjoyed. What prompted me to write this piece is to process how my faith was presented.

It has been my personal experience that Christians are not portrayed in a good light on TV. I felt that this particular SVU episode had cult-ish undertones in the way people referred to God and His will; I felt that the people involved were looking more to their reverend for direction than to God and the Bible. That bothers me because it then puts Christianity in the hands of man and not Jesus Christ. And you know, you can’t have Christianity without Christ (haha).

Perhaps the deeper issue for me is that I’m tired of seeing Christians being portrayed in that way. When I watch TV, Christianity is never shown as being about the saving power of Jesus, or the immense love of God, or the comforting and guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it’s about people using their faith to abuse power, or people using the Bible to justify doing hateful things, or people in a cult where they have no autonomy. Where are episodes where the Christian shows unconditional love to his/her neighbor? Where are the episodes where the Christian does something that is not for underlying malicious reasons? Where are the episodes where the Christian is surrounded by mentors who encourage and admonish in a Godly way? I know it’s mainstream TV, representation will be different, but still…

“Curative intercourse” is NOT Biblical, but I wonder why the show chose to put that on TV. I’ve heard that some cultures support corrective rape, but that has nothing to do with God’s will. It is never God’s will for someone to be raped or assaulted. It should be understood that all perversion of sex and sexuality is wrong in the eyes of God! God DOES NOT condone rape, molestation, pedophilia, pornography, or any kind of sexual assault or wrong being done against other people! It is time that people stop using God or the Bible or religion or faith as an excuse to perpetrate evil! We cannot take salvation in our own hands because only God can save– and “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is not her name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV). Jesus is the only one through whom we can be saved; He is the only one who can change our lives and hearts… not a pastor, not a reverend, not curative intercourse or conversion therapy!

Another disclaimer: I am not an apologist. I understand that sexuality (and its expressions) is becoming more and more controversial in our country– it’s becoming difficult to stand up because it seems like any disagreement means you are hateful, and that is not true. As someone who believes in God, I believe in what the Bible says about sex and sexuality. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin– and it is not a bigger sin than adultery or drunkenness or greediness (1st Corinthians 6:9-10). And I think the disconnect between Christians and non-Christians is that we see homosexuality and all sin, not as an identity, but as a choice– sin is a choice. God does not create anyone a sinner, but our human nature makes us susceptible to sin (sin is simply missing the mark that was set; imagine missing the bull’s eye, that’s sin).  For me, being a believer in Jesus, my identity is not in sin, but in Him! As much as homosexuality is a sin, it should not be presented in a way that God has damned everyone who is homosexual! If that’s the case, then all liars are damned, too.

This disconnect that we have will always be there until we all see things from God’s perspective. I used to not understand God’s perspective, so I understand why Christians and non-Christians don’t see eye-to-eye; and I guess I can understand why the representation of God and faith in God on screen is a bit skewed. I am grateful that now I see things from His perspective, and let me tell you, the God I know is a good, good God of love, and grace, and mercy with open arms! He will not reject you because of your sin because He doesn’t want anyone to perish (2nd Peter 3:9), but He wants everyone to repent (this just means turning away from what you’re doing and turning back to God); and the more you are in Him, the more your identity is in Him alone. I am not ashamed to be on His side, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16, NIV). The way the world sees things will always contradict the way God sees things. Nevertheless, His love remains! He showed that by allowing Jesus to die (John 3:16) so that you and I can have a relationship with Him! He SO loves you! He SO loves me! This is God’s nature!

This is what I want to see on TV! My walk with God is not a religion, and it breaks my heart to see that that’s the way it’s being shown on screen. If that episode is an example that people see of Christianity, no wonder people don’t want anything to do with the true nature of God.

I want to clarify that I am not hating on the episode, it just stirred something in me. I give the episode props, though, for showing other aspects of faith, such as forgiveness and justice, which are also characteristics of God!

It is my belief that people’s view of God will always be skewed until they look at Jesus– this has been my experience. But like Paul said, “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2nd Corinthians 3:16, NIV). And only Jesus can take that veil away. You know, I’m just a girl who loves TV and movies, but I love my God more, and I’d like for the God I know to be represented. But, the task now is for me to show the people around me who God really is, with the way I talk, the way I interact with others, and with the way I live my life. This is cliche, but you and I may be the only Bible people read. What are they seeing when they read you?

As much as God does not need us to prove He is God– He was God even before the beginning of time– He wants to partner with us to let everyone know who He is. I want people to know Jesus, to know God, to experience the power of the Holy Spirit intimately. Perhaps, then, the way it is being portrayed on our screens will be different. But beyond that, the true nature of God will be known by everyone!

 

 

Late night musings…

I am trying to sleep. I have a long day ahead of me, but I guess my body is so used to waking up at anytime — I am yet to find a job, so all I do is pretty much wake up and let the day go however it wants to go. But I have to set my alarm clock, you know; hope I wake up on time. Pray for me.

Anyway, I’m just here thinking about what I should write for today. It’s freestyle Friday, as I’d like to call it, meaning I can write whatever I want. I was thinking about writing a poem, but I don’t really want to. So I’ll just jot a few things down and I hope it blesses you somehow.

√ The new Hillsong Worship album is great! It has been on repeat for 9 days now. Each time I get more familiar with the songs and I love them more and more. That should be my relationship with God.
√ I watched a movie called, The Loft. Talk about a twist! At the end, though, I didn’t think all the swearing was necessary. I enjoyed the movie overall, though — I love psychological thrillers!
√ People grieve in different ways, and some ways can be hurtful… I honestly believe only God can heal people the right way.
√ For some days now I’ve been wondering more than usual about someone liking my pictures on Facebook — I just really want that person to talk to me! Perhaps I’m developing a crush?!?! Oh no!!!! I can’t be in my teenage mindset again. I’ll keep my eyes focused on Jesus instead. As long as He likes me, I’m good!
√ I really hope and pray that these writings bless people somehow. I have dreams and visions for this blog! I hope God uses all for His glory.
√ I’ll keep my blogs shorter.
√ I wonder how many people will read this…
√ I want to write!
√ Too sleepy right now.
√ Goodnight and God bless!