God's been maturing my faith in loving people who don't know the Gospel. i've been listening to an amazing artist named baths. he is super talented and really gifted in making beautiful electronic music. i've been listening to him non-stop in my car and on my laptop. thuy even got me tickets to see him in december! but recently i found out something about him that kind of turned me off to his music. it was something that has turned me off to people in general when i find it out about them. and in general and short, it was sin. and i was like, "man, i shouldn't be listening to this guy's music anymore." and God convicted me. i didn't want to listen to him because of this thing. but i'm able to listen to countless other artists who are in the same boat as baths. what should make this guy's sin any different from other artists'? more than that, what should make this guy's sin any different from my own?? we're all on the same side. the human side. the side that messes up and ends up being far from God. in the end, baths is just like a lot of other artists that i love. in need of Jesus. they need to meet Jesus. they need to learn about how much God loves them and cares about them. how he wants them to come home. how much God is chasing after them.
these past couple of months have been of tremendous growth for me. just growing up in faith and in life, which are kind of intertwined haha. but learning that i can't have the same kind of life that i had when i was a teenager. so free from responsibilities and dreaming about the future. i'm living in that future now! i'm set to graduate this coming spring and get a job and start saving money to get married, to grow up. it's been sad but good haha. sad knowing that i'm leaving an amazing chapter or section of the short book of my life and turning the page onto a new, exciting chapter. =]
i've been praying for a lot of professors and classmates at school. if you didn't know already, csuf is a pretty secular school and especially so in the sciences. at least for psychology, anyway. there's lots of opposition and kind of a stand-offish attitude when christianity or religion in general is brought up. and this has been huge in building up my faith. learning that i shouldn't be surprised by the persecution. learning that people will be turned off to the Gospel, some will be open to it, but there will be people that just don't like the message or like me because of it. been beefing up apologetics and prayer! praying for God to soften and open up hearts. praying that i could be a disarming person in being able to engage them about faith and life. and just have real, authentic, non-threatening conversation about Jesus. =]
i've also been learning to keep my eyes on Jesus. seems redundant to say. seems repetitive to say. but a constant reminder that i need in my life. especially when school, work, friends, ministry, distractions come along. it's hard to keep Jesus at the center when i've got so many things that are piling up on my plate! learning again to look to Jesus first before looking at all the problems or just things to do in general. for example, i have a research paper due this coming thursday. usually, i would look at it and dread. knowing the amount of time i'm going to have to spend cooped up in a library working on this thing, worrying about whether it will be good or not, complaining that the information isn't even going to be used by me, writing and re-writing pages, etc. but if i look at Jesus first. well, it becomes a different story! i look at Jesus and i see my purpose on this earth. and particularly, right now in college. i want to help people. these are just some of the things that i have to go through to get there. it becomes necessary on my road to helping people to know about Jesus Christ! it becomes something that i'm not really "glad" to do, but know that the result doesn't end there. in the form of a 5-6 page paper that's due for my learning and memory class. it's an investment in a life that blesses others in my work and life. that blesses the people i come in contact with at the office, friends that i'm able to bless with an income, family who i'm able to take care of, and those who i don't even know that i'm able to bless because i finish this paper. =]
the verse that i've been fixating on lately is from colossians 2, verses 6 and 7. "and now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." i've just been learning to remember that it's not through works, through ritualistic prayers, through just feeling sorry for myself that i get salvation. i'm coming back to the 19-year-old me. coming back to the basics. that everything that i do is a response to Jesus. i overflow with thankfulness. and that thankfulness comes in the form of loving people in my speech, my thoughts, my actions. but i've been focusing so much on the "overflow" that i forget about what i need to do first! i need to let my roots grow down into him, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior! i need to let my life be built on him! not on actions. not on ideals! i need to be connected to the true vine, the giver of life, the savior of the world. i need to be connected to Jesus! and the thankfulness comes naturally out of that.
it comes back to the basis of the Christian faith. we don't do things because it's required of us. we do things as a natural overflow of our love for Jesus. we do things because it's God's heart in us. because we see what he sees. because we're connected with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do things differently. we live differently. we have hope differently. we have joy differently. we die differently. we die to ourselves. because we're made alive in Christ, who sacrificed his life for us on the cross. who rose from the dead and by this action, lets us know that God is here and he is on the move and is coming back again. in the meantime, we want to let people know about this good news. Jesus died, rose, ascended, and is coming back. God loves us and wants us. and even though not everyone will want to receive it, just like we learn about a great new mediterranean restaurant, just like we see an amazing movie, just like when we just got hired for a new job, just like when we're head over heels in love, we want to let the world know. =]