templa la vida

living this life in the light of jesus christ

Month: May, 2006

Psalm 23

The struggle for purity rages in a scary place. In your own heart. In your own impression of yourself.

The world revolves around the popular culture of the day, and most people are motivated by whatever lustful pleasures they can get from the gluttony of daily living. They have no concept of the peace of God that pervades one’s heart, mind, and soul in the pursuit of purity.

Soldier

So you put yourself out there where everyone can see you, saying this makes you lust or that is immoral, and people look at you like you’ve got three heads. It hurts when people reject you for your beliefs – or think you’re a square or a geek or whatever. It hurts to stand up against what so many people think is cool. After all, you’re already busy fighting back your own urges – who needs to be thought of as an outcast with big ideas about moral issues?

Look in the mirror when you answer that question, and consider the alternative.

First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.Thomas à Kempis, 1380 – 1471

But we have an ally in Jesus, who possesses endless power. When you step up to the task God put before you, you tap into that power. When you cringe away, preferring the fickle, fake intimacy of the damned, you turn your back on the Holy Spirit, the gift from God that establishes peace within us – peace we can share with a hurt, confused, dying world.

Psalm 23 tells us Jesus will lead us in paths of righteousness. Green pastures. Quiet waters. A feast before your enemies.

Surely goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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Intimacy …

(… in which God allows us to choose to receive all that He is.)

Intimacy is like water. Like air. We need it to survive. The problem is that we flawed humans have a hard time discerning what exactly true intimacy is.

Is it sex? Is it cuddling? Is it friendship? Some combination of those? Why do the words we use to communicate relational themes fail to do justice to what intimacy is?

Because without God we can’t have true intimacy – we can only have sex or friendship or some emotional closeness or commitment. Intimacy without God is not intimacy, it’s something else.

In Christ, God: (1) shares with us all that He is, and (2) gives us an example of our emotional and spiritual selves. The picture of God’s intended relationship between Himself and man (1+2) is clear in His Word. God and His creation. Wholeness.

Now, He does not demand that we give ourselves to Him. Rather, He has revealed all to us in His Word and gives us the freedom to choose. This revelation can bring us to the place in which we decide to trust Him.

When we draw near to God, trusting in Him completely — that is, giving ourselves fully to Him emotionally and spiritually and inviting Him in – we experience all that He is to us. We experience true emotional and spiritual intimacy. We experience wholeness.

In our culture today, we speak of intimacy as if it were as simple as being physically or emotionally close to someone. But true intimacy, as God designed it to exist between humans, can only be obtained by combining (1) the nature of God in His example, with (2) choosing to give ourselves fully. (1+2)

Translate that concept into marriage. If God is absent, the equation cannot be proved. If choice is absent, the equation cannot be proved. So if a man hides his true self – that is, he keeps secrets or lives by lies – then he cannot access the nature of God. Thus the equation above cannot be proved.

If a woman gives herself to a man who has something to hide, then her choice to love is based not on knowing, but on a lie – true intimacy cannot be obtained because the equation is false.

In God’s design, true intimacy comes first between God and man, then again between a man and his wife in the marriage relationship. In either case it cannot come without the full disclosure of the full self – heart and mind and body and soul – to another.