Act Immediately, Act Radically
This chapter was pretty much all about never underestimating your feelings. Sometimes we brush it off and think that pushing aside our emotions will fix things. That’s not true. The more we push aside our emotions, we put them in the risk of being destructive instead of instructive. No, we should not solely base or decisions and actions of feelings, but we have them for a reason.
For example, when we feel hurt or offended by someone, we should deal with it immediately (not rashly, but immediately) or else it will only worsen. Some people think that hiding one’s feelings of pain or bitterness will help, but it won’t. If it has not been dealt with, it will only manifest in one’s words and actions.
Now, these things that we allow into our hearts is “serious business”. The things we let ourselves feel is serious business. And because of that, we should never deal with heart matters (no, not just concerning boy-girl relationships) lightly. Whatever it is that’s in our hearts will manifest into our actions.
"…For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."
I think this verse can apply to our actions as well. What we do shows what we live for. Do we live for ourselves? Do we live for other people? Or do we live for God?
As children, we, of course, should all be living for God. So the moment some desires, big or small, that aren’t pleasing to God enter our hearts, we have to cut if off immediately. This is what Tom Holladay calls acting radically.
If we really take our hearts and feelings seriously, we should act radically enough to do anything to make sure that our hearts are in the right place and in the right condition.
"If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."
Often times, we brush off the little things that actually end up becoming big, complicated problems. We need to start taking our hearts and feelings seriously by acting immediately and acting radically.
This was for yesterday’s reading. I’ll read and post for Chapter 13 later after I get more school work done. :)
God bless you all!
Man. I’m lagging behind already! :(
Chapter 10 was all about how it’s hard to get into the habit of loving when we’ve become so accustomed to dealing with things the way we do. Sad to say, we’re used to doing things without love. But God commands us to do so anyway. It’s hard. It’s impossible! But with God, nothing is impossible, especially when He commands us to do it. He won’t command us to do anything without empowering us to do so.
When I read the title of Chapter 11, I kinda laughed. Just cuz it seemed (and turned out to be) so relevant to me.
"Feelings Are Important!"
Haha! I’m quite the emotional person, and there was a time before where I was discouraged about that. I had this impression that being emotional was bad or weak probably because of what my friends and mentors thought and said about being emotional. This year, though, I learned to deal with my emotions better (HOPEFULLY HAHA) and I resolved in myself that being emotional is not a weakness (but how one deals with one’s being emotional is what determines if one is weak or strong).
This chapter puts it differently, though. It says that to Jesus, His emotions were actually important.
"Consider the way Jesus is often pictured in movies - wandering through the countryside in a kind of daze, as though he has no feelings whatsoever about what’s going on around him. The false picture causes us to equate spiritual strength with being emotionally distant The message many of us hear is, ‘The more you deny your emotions, the more you will be like Jesus."
"The example as we look at the life of Jesus is clear: Jesus did not deny his emotions; he denied himself by not always bowing to those emotions."
This reminds me of the song Hosanna. The part that goes, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause…”
It’s all about channeling those emotions in the right places toward the right actions that are all about God’s bigger picture.
This will be short. Today’s lesson was simple.
Today’s chapter was about love being an action not a feeling.
"You cannot command an emotion, but you can command an action."
That’s just so true. Often times, we think that we can’t love a person, especially one that hurt us, yet, cuz it’s we think it’s not in our hearts just yet to love and forgive them because we don’t feel it.
With love, we don’t wait for the emotions. We do something about it now, because God commands us to love Him, our neighbors, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s hard, because we don’t feel it. But Tom Holladay made an interesting point.
"Do you think Jesus felt like dying on the cross? Of Course not. Jesus didn’t face that morning thinking, ‘I feel like going to the cross today. I feel like experiencing the most excruciating pain, the most anguished disgrace, the most wrenching burden of mankind’s sin.”
God commands us to love with action. More than feeling love, He wants us to act in love. After reading this, I don’t think that God wants us to wait to feel like we love a person before we actually show that person love. We shouldn’t wait for the feelings. We should just love.
In the previous chapters, it mentioned loving God and loving our neighbors. Today, it was all about loving “one another”. I had never noticed the difference between the command of loving our neighbors and loving one another. I never noticed that it was a “new command” to love “one another”.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
This command specifically talks about loving one another, meaning brothers and sisters in Christ. To love, in itself, is hard. To love fellow believers, is surprisingly harder, I guess because we expect more from each other.
But Jesus commands us to love one another, just as He loves us. One of Holladay’s points in this chapter was that Jesus didn’t command us to love one another as best we could, but as He loves us.
When I read that, I was just… dang. HAHA. I guess this whole time I thought that to love as best I could was alright because, you know, I was doing my best and all. It’s not like I wasn’t trying.
That’s not what Jesus was asking for, though.
"Jesus doesn’t want you to try your hardest; Jesus wants you to learn to trust in Him"
This doesn’t mean that we stop trying our best. This just means that we should not depend on our own strength to love as He loves because we are incapable of doing that without Him.
Hai. This lesson came right on time, I must say. Haha. Lord, Your timing is impeccable as always. Hope this message strikes you as much as it struck me. :) God bless!
Today was the first day of school. I only had two classes today. One cancelled and said we’d start next week, allowing me to pay my tuition in the morning, and the other was pretty much just an orientation.
While waiting in line to pay, I found time to read RPOJ. More than enough time, actually. I wanted to stick with the pacing (one chapter per day), but I really just had nothing else to do while waiting in line. In an hour’s time, I was able to read four chapters. It’s an easy read din naman kasi.
Since I’ll be posting about 4 chapters, I’ll keep my reflections for each short.
Chapter 4: Love God With All Your Soul
When we talk about soul, we’re essentially talking about what makes you… you (I think). Because it’s hard for me to explain it in my own words, I shall quote Pastor Tom:
"At essence, your soul is your LIFE - life in capital letters because we’re talking about the kind of life that only God can give - the Creator life. Your soul is the passion with which you’re living, the personality you’ve been given, the path your life is taking, the power in your being."
So to love God with all our soul is basically to love Him with everything that we are. Pastor Tom mentioned three ways to do so: 1) seek Him passionately, 2) love Him personally, and 3) decide to do what He wants you to do.
I think it basically just goes back to understanding that surrender is unquestionably a part of having a relationship with Him. If we are really able to grasp the concept of complete surrender, I believe that we can’t help seeking Him passionately, loving Him personally, and deciding to do what He wants us to do.
I have some surrendering to do.
Chapter 5: Love God With All Your Mind and Strength
The loving-God-with-all-my-mind part hit me here. Recently, I’ve been having a hard time surrendering a certain desire. HAHA. It’s quite stupid of me, actually. Haha. And the thing about it is, it’s been consuming most my thoughts. So, right there, it’s obvious that I haven’t been God-centered or haven’t been loving God with all my mind.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Those are the things that God wants our minds to be consumed with. Of course, and to really know what is true, noble, right, pure, and etc. in God’s eyes, we can only look to His Word. And when we go to His Word, we will be able to “combat”, in a sense, those thoughts that battle against the thoughts God wants to fill our minds with.
Now, loving God with all our strength, actually does not involve our strength. It does involve our weakness and our inadequacy to do anything of eternal worth without God. To love God with all our strength is actually to acknowledge our weakness and inadequacy.
That being said, I suppose that to love God with all our strength is to love God with complete humility. Check out 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
Chapter 6: Love Everyone as Your Neighbor & Chapter 7: Love Someone as Your Neighbor
To love everyone as our neighbor, we shouldn’t limit who we show our love to. Remember Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan?
To love someone as our neighbor, we should realize that we will not be able to show love to literally everyone all at the same time. God can do that because He is ever-present and all powerful. To love someone as our neighbor, we should be alert for any opportunity that God brings in our lives to show love to someone, anyone.
To sum this all up, God wants us to love everyone within our sphere of influence, regardless of their background or how society tells us to treat them.
This week was all about realizing the importance of developing relationships, first with God and then with others (because of our relationships with God).
I find it kind of funny (and maaaybe a little frustrating) that it was this week that I started to feel discouraged about how some of my relationships with others have been going. But, hey. I know God’s going to do something great with this. Excited to see what He’s going to do. :)
Today, it was all about loving God with all your heart. When we talk about the heart, we talk about feelings and emotions. Take note, Mark 12:29-31 says to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. So it does take more than feelings and emotions to really love God.
Anyway, in the chapter, it mentioned how David would pour out his heart to God in several of his psalms. He would express to God his emotions (from his frustrations to his joy). But at the end of the psalm, he would always end up with peace in His heart, reminded of God’s love, sovereignty, and faithfulness despite the problems he might’ve been facing. He would always end up refocused on God.
I read this chapter at just the right time. I’ve been feeling pretty down since Saturday night, but I hadn’t really talked to God about it yet. Sure, I’ve told others about how I knew God was in control and stuff, but I hadn’t actually expressed myself to God. Of course, even when we express ‘ourselves’ to Him, it should never be self-centered. Take note, it does say in Mark 12:29-31 to love God and not ourselves. Haha.
(for yesterday’s chapter)
This chapter really hit me, because it talked about priorities. I’d like to think that I prioritize my relationship with God and my relationships with others.
But when I actually look back at the attitudes I’ve had and decisions I’ve made with regard to developing my relationships with others, I don’t think I prioritize it as much I prioritize other things, like school work and stuff.
"Relationships Are More Important Than Tasks," says one heading in the chapter.
Agh. Right when I read that, I said to myself, “You’re such a workaholic kasi.”
For a time in high school, I would go home right away after school to do my homework (and another very wrong reason), whereas my batchmates would normally hang out at the school’s canteen or lobby.
Ever since fourth year high school or first year college (I can’t really remember), I’ve regretted all those times I chose to go home instead of hang out with them.
Recently, though, I’ve been allowing gimmicks and other forms of bonding or fellowship to interrupt my plans. It was a little hard for me at first, but I saw that I wasn’t giving enough time for rest and fellowship.
But, after reading this chapter, I have to ask myself what my motives were. Last semester, I think it was more for me to get away from my school work than it was to develop relationships. Sure, it was an afterthought and all. I really did miss the people I hung out with. But the motives were more self-centered than God-centered.
In Day 1’s chapter, the main verse to ponder on was this:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
The most important command is to love God with everything about us, which means that we would surrender everything about us, our whole lives, to Him and His purpose. And since we know that the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor, or anyone within our sphere of influence, our love for God should motivate us to obey the second greatest commandment.
If I really prioritize my relationship with God, I would prioritize developing my relationships with others as well.
And if I really prioritized them, I would be much more intentional about it, too.
Today, meaning yesterday (November 6), I started reading Tom Holladay’s Relationship Principles of Jesus. I already started last week, but I reread it from the beginning again today because I wasn’t able to read it consistently enough last week for me to really reflect on it and do something about what I had just read.
This book will take me 40 days to read. One chapter per day. I initially planned on reading this in less, but it was said in the foreword that it would be better to go at the pace it was intended so that I would really be able to reflect on the daily lessons.
Day 1’s chapter talked about the importance of relationships and how we should prioritize them. In the Gospels, you can actually see that Jesus Himself prioritized relationships. He didn’t come down here on earth and shove in people’s faces that He was the Son of God. He actually developed relationships with the people around Him, regardless of their background.
I never thought of it that way. Today’s chapter reminded me that God is a relational God. He expects us to value and develop our relationship with Him as well as our relationships with others.
The next chapters are all gonna be about how exactly this should be done. I’m really excited for this!