We are constantly trying to improve ourselves. Whether what you believe is actually better or worse, this pursuit is a fact for everyone. We want to be a better person or get better at something. And for Christians, this is especially true. But, even when you’re seeking something as good as God, your motivation might be twisted.
Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should simply be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing others to Him, it is not the right kind of holiness; it is only an influence which awakens undue emotions and evil desires in people and diverts them from heading in the right direction. A person who is a beautiful saint can be a hindrance in leading people to the Lord by presenting only what Christ has done for him, instead of presenting Jesus Christ Himself. Others will be left with this thought— “What a fine person that man is!” That is not being a true “friend of the bridegroom”— I am increasing all the time; He is not.
To maintain this friendship and faithfulness to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful to have the moral and vital relationship to Him above everything else, including obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey and our only task is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, seeing that nothing interferes with it. Only occasionally is it a matter of obedience. At those times when a crisis arises, we have to find out what God’s will is. Yet most of our life is not spent in trying to be consciously obedient, but in maintaining this relationship— being the “friend of the bridegroom.” Christian work can actually be a means of diverting a person’s focus away from Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends “of the bridegroom,” we may become amateur providences of God to someone else, working against Him while we use His weapons.
This made me examine my heart about what I was doing. I recognized that many times, I do things out of selfish reasons. Even when I want Christ to be known, I admit that I sometimes want people to see how God has changed me or how I’m growing spiritually. Or, they may be good reasons but not necessarily be the best by focusing on the things that should merely be the by-product of drawing closer to Christ, such as being obedient, serving others, praying, etc. To think that I could be a hinderance from God being known or that I’m taking some glory away from God? Yikes! I know that I have to constantly remind myself and keep myself in check.
So, what is your motivation? What [who] are you trying to prove [improve]?
If you’re tight on your budget and want to get a wireless, hands-free headset, then this is the product for you! Available now at your local home drawer or your office supply closet. Hunk not included.
Here are some (much-delayed) photos from our anniversary trip to New York. Due to a couple conferences, dinners with friends, networking events, and church stuff, I have not had the time to post anything until now. And even now, I must keep this brief since I need to get to bed to get ready for a full week of work, which I haven’t had in awhile.
We kept very busy during our visit — we left our lodging (studio apartment in the heart of Little Italy) in the morning only to return at night to go to sleep. To sum of our trip, we ate a lot and a lot of different foods, walked a ton and my feet cursed me, and got to see as much of NY as we possibly could. We had a blast!
I hated the month of July this year. About 3 weeks were spent with Jason away from home, and our communication was pretty minimal. But, one of the things that got me going was the thought of us spending time together in September. I’ve always loved September; it’s one of my favorite months of the year. The first reason why I started liking September is that it has the perfect weather — not too hot and not too cold (“all you need is a light jacket”). Then later on, I got married in September, which not only makes it a special month, but we always do something special and fun to celebrate our anniversary.
This September, we have some funness planned. Particularly, we are headed for New York to celebrate our five year anniversary later this week! It’s exciting on multiple levels because we are celebrating the big Five, we’re traveling together — with the heavier emphasis on ‘together’, AND, we’re going to New York, which neither of us have been to before. ‘Never?!’, you say?? Yes, I know, I’m a country mouse…
There’s so much to see, so much to do, and so much to eat, though those are pleasant dilemmas I don’t mind worrying about Thanks to Jason’s organizational abilities, we have our tentative itinerary down of where to go and what to do for each day, including where to eat, but we’re open to suggestions, if you’ve got some. What are some of your favorite places? restaurants? things to see?
I can’t believe it’s finally day 16! One more night until I get to see Jason again. It feels almost surreal. Had it really been 16 days, because some parts of it are a blur, and I’d even been counting the number of nights every single day (must be due to my aging memory)!
So, I’m going to the airport tomorrow, and I am stoked! It’s actually kinda strange because there was never a moment of doubt that I loved him, but honestly, especially being married, you don’t realize this intense longing until they are out of your grasp everyday (See previous blog about absence making the heart grow fonder (Day 8). Okay, I will stop sapping you out.
As hard as it was, I am thankful for the time we had apart. I got to spend quality time with my family and some old friends that I had not seen in awhile. I was able to experience my friends meet their child for the first time through adoption. And I learned about myself, other people, emotions, faith, and grace, among many other things. Well, I wish I had more time to explain about those things, but the sooner I go to sleep, the sooner it’ll be tomorrow so I shall wonderfully drift off to sleep…
It has been over a week since Jason left for Cambodia. Time is on my side and the days are moving faster than I had thought. yay~ Though it could go faster, I think it’s more important that I use this time to really seek out the things God wants me to learn.
I woke up to his email yesterday which was wonderful and couldn’t wait to see him online later on in the evening. Work was rather emotionally draining. With great reward of seeing children be joined with their forever families comes the emotional work of bringing families to that point, sometimes having to jump through the hurdles on demand. Yesterday was one of those days. I wish I could just bring and place the child in the family’s arms.. But I digress.
After work yesterday, I headed over to Jason’s brother’s house to watch my nieces and nephew b/c Kelli needed to attend a meeting. Had my first homemade pot roast for dinner (yum~). I did see and talk to Jason online but only for a few short minutes. That was a bit disappointing and I found myself wanting to reach out and hold him. Absence does make the heart grow fonder..
I had a good time talking with my sister-in-law when she got back. One of the thoughts I had last evening on my drive back. I saw a nurturing side of Kait when she helped me (attempt to) put Felicity to bed. I saw the love of an older sibling and thought about what my oldest sister did to take care of me and Sora while my parents worked. Bora was about Kait’s age but she went above and beyond what even older siblings typically do. She took care of us, fed us, washed us, cooked, cleaned… This wasn’t new information, but realizing that Bora was as young as Kait when she did all that and how hard Bora must’ve had it brought me to tears and gratitude. It made me dwell on this thought for awhile and realized that being the youngest, I never really had to be responsible for anyone but myself. I think God was showing me just how very selfish I still am and have so much to learn about love and sacrifice (and a bonus lesson on parenting). It’s awesome, nevertheless, because I know that He is preparing me for something great to come.