Dear Christian: Starting Today – Starting With Me

Featuring Michael Stone

The words ring in my ears sometimes. “You need to write!” I cannot even begin to count how many times I’ve heard that over the past twenty five years. I probably even heard it a lot before that, but those years are so much of a blur that I wouldn’t recall.

From time to time I’ve actually tried to write, then lost focus and just quit. I’ve done it on paper in a spiral notebook, on our laptop while on the road in Kenya, and again in Kansas City, and again in Charlotte, and again in Orlando. I even copy and pasted what I wrote while in Orlando on an online message board. Every single time that I’ve tried to start writing, I’ve also abruptly quit writing. Now I’m inspired to try it here on the God In A Nutshell Project. We’ll see if I can be disciplined enough to follow through this time and actually write whatever else Divine inspiration brings to mind.

We all desire to see positive change in the world. What do we do about it? The Holy Spirit tells me that it starts in my heart, in my mind, with me – with me allowing Him to mold me into who I was created to be. I will be changing the world – starting with me.

“If MY people who are called by MY NAME will humble themselves and pray, and seek MY Face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (my paraphrase)

Notice that Scripture states clearly that GOD is calling HIS people to turn from their wicked ways, to humble themselves, and to pray. In this context HE’s not speaking to the lost, but to those of us who call ourselves by HIS NAME. “Christian” means “like Christ”. I don’t know about you, but I’m nowhere near like JESUS the CHRIST. I mean, I’m a man, I have a heart, a spirit, flesh and bones, and a desire to serve HIM but, like most of us, I believe, we sever more than we serve. We’re so spiritually dyslexic that we see the letters, transpose them, and cause more division than unity. 

Our first and most important commandment isn’t to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News…”, as much as we’d like to think that it is. Our first objective, and the only commandment that JESUS the CHRIST gave was to love HIM with all of our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our strength, then to love one another….AND to LOVE OURSELVES! 

We have this self-pleasing culture here in western civilization. I’ve even seen it in 3rd world countries, so it’s a human thing. We may see it as self-love, but it’s a poor substitute for love. It’s not love at all. It’s just selfishness. It’s pride. Pride in no way can be compared to love. The verse from 2 Chronicles that I mentioned earlier calls us to humble ourselves, not to be proud. When we are humble, we can actually receive all that the LORD has for us…INCLUDING HIS LOVE. The whole key to the world changing and turning right-side-up is for GOD’s people, people of THE WAY, “Christians”, to humble ourselves and fully receive HIS love. Only then will we truly love one another. The Bible even tells us that our love for one another is how the world will know us. Only then will we serve instead of sever.

I love how Donald Miller puts it in his book, “Blue Like Jazz”. “I AM THE PROBLEM!” We look at things in our republic, and in the world, that do not at all line up with TRUTH, and we attack those things in our self-righteous indignation. There’s no love in that. We have to deal with our own hearts first. We need to let the HOLY SPIRIT move in and clean house. We need to totally receive the LOVE that the LORD has for us. When we do that, HIS love will just naturally pour out of us, and things will change. It starts with me. The problem isn’t abortion. The problem isn’t the homosexual agenda. The problem isn’t anything but my heart. Attacking symptoms of the worldwide lack of love will not change anything. I need to start with my heart. We all do. Nothing miraculous comes from activism. Miracles come from love, and that’s an action worth taking. 

“Receive, receive, receive the love of JESUS. Wrap up in HIM. Wait on HIM. Become intimate with HIM. Get to know the true love of the FATHER. Let the HOLY SPIRIT speak to you. Be still and wait.” I just keep hearing those words in my spirit. I pray that I will finally be able to pick up that simple key of love. It’s not enough to know it in my head. I need to KNOW it in my heart…to intimately know the love of the FATHER. ABBA…Daddy GOD. I need to intimately know the fear of the LORD. YHVH is as terrible as He is loving. Like C.S. Lewis put it, He is dangerous, but He is good. In JESUS’ name, FATHER, please help me receive all that You are. I’m so empty and lost without the fullness of YOU!

You know, I could read an article by someone else, and totally want to write to that person and try to help them receive GOD’s love, the whole time not knowing it myself. That’s so sad. I honestly believe that, for the most part, the Church is in the same position. We all want to help, but we’re not fully equipped, because we rely on too many other things other than JESUS in our daily lives. Our jobs, our bank accounts, our cars, our pickup trucks, our hobbies, our “stuff”. All of that crap violates “have no other gods before ME” when we allow it to consume our time, our priorities, and our lives. Most of us would say we’d surely die for JESUS, but we fight kicking and screaming if we lose any of our “stuff”. How can we die for HIM when we are so selfish that we won’t even live for HIM unless we can have our “stuff”. What a total chaotic farce.

I want to lay it all down. Whatever HE wants to give back to me is fine, or if HE gives nothing back, I want that to be fine as well. HE knows what I need. I really only know what I want. I put GOD in a box way too much! HE’s not my little “jack-in-the-box” that I can crank up when I need HIM, then shove back down and close up when I want control. Why, oh why do IDO that??!!??

OK, this is the start of the journey. I need to be in the Light. We all do. We’ll see how this goes. I truly do purpose to intercede for the world… as well as for myself. JESUS is at the right hand of the FATHER always interceding for each of us. HE sets the example. I need to follow HIS example. I believe that we all do…starting today.

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One Response to “Dear Christian: Starting Today – Starting With Me”

  1. This truly was an excellent post! It spoke to me of just what I needed to hear as a Christian, a true and faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Many are the times when we will get it wrong, because we approach matters from our own self-will rather than seek out God’s way first. There are many things we “could” or “should” do. But God is the one who will do His work. Saving the world IS and WAS His job! We need to get out of our own way and let Him work in and through us. Love…. that is to be everything of what and how we are to be. Also we must live in Spirit (the life of God) and Truth (the devout sincerity towards God, others, and ourselves). I look forward to reading more articles like this. Timothy

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