I wonder why it is sometimes hard to do the right thing. This has been echoing in my mind for a few days now. I keep thinking about the age-old battle of good vs evil and the war on Christianity. After listening in Sunday school today, I am certain that this should be the topic of my blog.
I believe there is a war on Christianity. I believe as Christians we are constantly under attacked by those who do not believe and want to end the hope and love found in Christ Jesus. However, I will propose, that while this is a very important battle, we also need to address the other parallel and equally important war. That is the war within us, often pictured as the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.
Here is an example of why sometimes doing the right thing, can be hard.
This week I visited a friend in the hospital. I previously wrote about this same family. This couple is watching their child die, and they have shown the most amazing faith and courage. I only had a few minutes to visit. I wanted to show God’s love, I wanted to pray with them, and I wanted them to know they have support. I walked into the hospital room, and was greeted with a warm smile from the mother. I gave her some chocolate because frankly, that is what I want in times of crisis. Then I felt this overwhelming sense of what do I say now? What do I do now? How can I really help? All these questions began flooding my mind filling me with doubts about my presence being there. This gave way to nervous small talk about irrelevant stuff. I prayed with her, and then I left. I left feeling as if everything I said and did was all wrong!
Now, as you read that paragraph, what did you notice? Once at home, I had an epiphany. The epiphany was two fold. First, there is way to much “I” in the paragraph above, not nearly enough God. Secondly, was that I let the “devil on my shoulder” convince me that what I was doing was not good enough, and unnecessary. You see, I think that we often don’t do good things because of the awkwardness of the moment. I believe that most people want to do good things, but often hear that voice saying, “No don’t do that YOU will look stupid or YOU will look fake.” When the truth is, God calls us to love one another, and to take care of those in need. Any small gesture is better than no gesture at all.
John 13: 34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Romans 12: 9-10
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
2 Corinthians 11
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
The verses are so convicting to me. Love sincere, honor others above yourself, encourage one another, and the God of love and peace will be with you! After my epiphany, I thought, regardless of what my own insecurities are I know I did the right thing. God calls us to love, to take care of one another, to serve each other, and provide needs when someone cannot meet their needs.
I believe we are in fact at war. I think that the devil creeps up on us in so many more ways than we even realize. He uses our guilt, our past, and our insecurities to keep us from moving forward. While we easily see the war on Christianity in the media, out of Hollywood, or the Middle East, it is the war on our shoulders that may be the biggest threat to our souls. In this season of Christmas, when the birth of Jesus is celebrated, I think it is easy to find myself on the naughty list. It isn’t because of an abundance of naughty deeds, it is because there are few sacrificing nice deeds where there should be an abundance. There are whispers in my ears from my shoulders telling me to show more love, give more fully, and live with more Christ and less me. These whispers are not just for Christmas, they are for all the time, when Jesus, the one who counts is watching.
As Christmas quickly approaches, I ask these simple questions, which shoulder are you listening to? Are you on the naughty or nice list? Where is Christ in your celebration? By your love, can anyone tell you are a disciple of the God of love and peace? The answers for me, if I am being honest, can sometimes change from minute to minute. My hope is that as I continue to seek God, my consistency will change from minute-to-minute, to week-to-week, to year-to-year.
This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!