Today has been interesting. There is hunger, but it is small and on the bottom of the stack. What bothered me more today was drinking water. Any of you that have known me for any length of time will know that I hate water. I don’t drink it often of my own volition. Last summer I went on a water only liquid kick for a while. It was an attempt to see if I could be healthier. I felt pretty good while drinking water only, even felt slightly nauseous at the thought of drinking soda again. I remember the first time I had a soda, I did not finish it. So today sucked because I only had water. Next time I am definitely doing juice instead ;). But back to the hunger. I have a good analogy for how I feel. I am not sure why I am spending so much time on this, other than I find it highly humorous in my own head. Here we go, laugh and point fingers if you must.
Over Christmas break I read the entire Twilight trilogy. I can hear you snickering! The movie intrigued me, and most of the junior highers I work with were reading them too. If you do not know what Twilight is, it is a vampire story, but not normal vampires, these vampires are ‘vegetarian’. They drink the blood of animals only, in stark contrast to the rest of their kind. One of the vampires falls in love with a human female and the reader learns a lot about how these vampires work. Vampires are always thirsty for human blood, but these vampires have mastered control over their thirst in a way that enables them to be around and interact with humans. Thing is, the thirst is always there. Whenever they are around humans they must recognize their thirst and put it in the proper place. I am feeling the same way with my hunger. It is there, and I recognize it, but when I am around food I control it enough that it does not bother me.
Ok, all the silliness aside, today has been wonderful. Jeff had fun dreding his hair, but had to sit through the baking of cookies to get it done, and it did not help when I texted him that I was craving pretzels either! We read over Galatians 2 today. Chapter 2 is much easier to get something out of than chapter 1. There is actually something going on. I will try to sum up what Jeff and I talked about this evening here.
I like Paul. I like Paul more today than I did yesterday. Why is that? Yesterday I learned how awesome Paul is. In chapter one, verse 14 I found that Paul was incredibly smart. Top of his class. I bet that he was on the deans list and the most sought after tutor. Not to mention the teachers pet. He probably could get an A in class simply by signing up he was so smart! Then later on I saw that Paul went and started preaching and teaching immediately after he became a Christian. I don’t know about you guys, but I have been a Christian for many years now, and I grew up in a Christian home, but I often balk at the thought of preaching, even for those close to me. So that is in chapter one, now we know that Paul is an amazing brainiac that jumps in feet first with his convictions. He couldn’t get anymore awesome could he? Yep, he can, and he does. In chapter 2, verse 2 I see Paul, back at Jerusalem, with a revelation. Now remember how awesome Paul is. Don’t you think that with this new revelation he would be out there spreading it around? He had people everywhere eating out of his hand. Holding on to every word like it was a life raft and they were drowning in the rapids. But he didn’t go around spouting his mouth. Instead he went to the leaders of Jerusalem to make sure his message was not in vain. Let me tell you. This shows some pretty awesome humility on Pauls part. On of the most respected men of his time, and in the Bible period, and he defers to the wisdom of the leaders. Always has Moses been my favorite person because of his great humility, but Paul shows he has great humility too. I continually beseech God that I might have the humility of Moses, and it helps me with every new example that I see.
Next, in verse 6, we see that Paul has no regard for those who ‘seem’ important. I just thought that was so cool the first time I read it. Jeff and I talked about this verse for quite a while. It is so common in our society, and in our churches, to automatically listen, agree with, and do what those around us who seem to be leaders want. Need an example? The whole reason I am at NNU! A piece of paper. I have struggled for years with this idea. My major is computer science, and I am good at it. Already, before NNU, I excel at computer stuff far beyond what most bachelor degree holders do. I do not say this egotistically, I, and others around me, have simply seen it, yet the person with the degree nine out of ten times gets the job over me. Why is that? That person ‘seems’ to be better because they have a degree. Doesn’t sound quite right does it? Let me introduce another example that will have the church people shocked, especially those in the group I will talk about. Most churches have some form of leadership by the people in them. In my church, and many others, it is called the Board. Board members are elected because they ‘seem’ to be wiser, or more in tune with God, or , or , or. Are they? I doubt it. I have seen people on church boards that I know are not pillars in the church. I also have seen many cases where these supposed pillars have caused severe rifts in the church. But what usually happens? The Board is looked at as the highly spiritual group, the ones in charge, connected to God. They ‘seem’ like they are leaders, but in reality they offer nothing of substance that in any way furthers the mission of the church. Paul saw these people, and while I am sure he was respectful to them, he also knew that nothing they had to say would make any difference in his relationship with God, nor would it help him teach others.
Confrontation is good! Huh? Most people avoid confrontation, however when Peter was doing something contrary to the will of God Paul did not hesitate to call him on the carpet for it(verse 11). What could Peter, one of the most respected founders of the church, possibly do wrong? Sadly he did what I am all to guilty of doing myself. He lived and acted his life how he felt God wanted, but when people came around that might possibly judge him in a bad way he began to pull back away from the life that God had given him. This seems to be a strange curse on all humans. Whether for religious reasons or not, we tend to have double standards when someone comes around that may not approve totally of what we are doing. We pull back and limit ourselves in ways that cause us grief. God did not intend us to be limited in our relationship with him, rather he wants us to become more all the time.
Here is some craziness for you. The law in the Bible shouldn’t be followed! I can hear thousands of Christians turning in their graves right now. It is the truth though. Paul, one of the most learned men when it came to the scriptures said it himself. Check out verses 16 and 21. Pretty intense stuff. Many Christians today argue that we should still live by the law. Well…that is impossible. If we try to live by the law we will never make it into heaven. I do not want to jump ahead too much, but later in Galatians Paul tells us that if we believe that one law must be followed then we must follow them all. Great, that means I am not going to heaven at all. The cool thing is that verse 16 also tells us that we are justified in Jesus! At this point you all should be rejoicing because you do not have to met all the requirements of the law. And check out verses 17 and 18. Just because we are following Jesus does not mean that we no longer sin, nor does it mean that sin is ok. Following Jesus means that you begin to recognize what your sins are. Jesus gives you a changed heart and mind! You will realize more than ever when you are in Christ that you were and are a horrible law breaker. This should lead you to scream out praises to God that he sent his Son to pay the penalties for you that HE might become your justification. Laws only break down and kill. Jesus builds up and gives life!
I am totally stoked about this fast still. I have been learning so much by giving up so little. God truly is amazing. I would love to hear your comments below, both good and bad.