So, I’ve been thinking about violence in my life.
A post from my friend Shammah really got my mind going. Below is a quote from it, I know it’s a big quote… but it’s worth reading.
A 2nd-century Christian once wrote, “The evil demons … subdue all who do not put up a strong opposing effort for their own salvation.” (Justin, First Apology 14). Don’t think that it’s all about God’s call. There’s God’s call, but he only chooses those who take the kingdom of heaven with violent effort.
The answer God has given me is to ignore all those thoughts and feelings. Who cares if I’m insecure, shaken by circumstances, and my feelings are driven around by what others think about me? My job is to ignore all that and get about my business serving God. I’m too busy to spend time fixing inadequacies that are impossible to fix, anyway.
What would be worse is if I used them as excuses.
To this day the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. Maybe God will deliver you from your insecurities, but he’s never delivered me from mine, nor from the utterly ridiculous thoughts that accompany them.
There are a lot of things that are violent in our culture. People want things, and we want them now. No hesitation… I mean, think about it, the bulk of us can simply name an item, and take it. Our brains work this way. And this applies from everything to food, goods, sex… everything.
We are a people of quick and fast conquest. And for the most part, if it can’t be obtained right now, then it’s not worth it at all.
This has translated into our relationships too. We want the results quick. Few of us put in the work to be long term and solid friends. Romantic relationships are burned through at an incredible rate as couples storm through the chase, straight through to culmination, and then discard one another as refuse.
Everything is disposable.
You may not want to hear this. You’d hate to think that you’re this way. I know that I personally don’t like it about myself… but the hard fact is that it’s true. We live in a disposable society. Get it quick, use it, pitch it, buy a new one. It’s almost like it’s in our DNA.
This whole mentality, that we barely address or look at invades our relationship with the Eternal Father as well. We want quick fixes, not long term endurance.
That quote above from Justin Martyr, “The evil demons… subdue all who do not put up a strong opposing effort for their own salvation.” rings very true, and opposes the quick fix mentality. Paul said that the testing of our faith produces endurance.
If we want to know God, if we want to be close to Him, then we can’t be looking for quick fixes. We’ve got to violently go after Him. Cling to Him, don’t let go. Relentlessly knock on His door for revelation. As my friend Shammah says, “Assail the heavens” for His living Word.
The violence I’m talking about is a shameless intensity and tenacity to find the precious jewel that we’re looking for. It is no small thing to know the very author of life. He is not mocked. And these quick-fix-self-help books and movies that so-called Christians are pumping out are making a mockery of following the Messiah.
I can’t expect to grow into anything resembling God’s son if I don’t violently oppose my lazy and self-indulgent nature and focus on Him, all the time.
It’s the garbage in/garbage out principal. If I spend my time satisfying myself… I get just that… myself. But if I spend my days gazing into the eyes of the Almighty, guess what? I get the Almighty coursing through my veins.
I’m not saying this to be condemning… I’m saying it to inspire you to acquire a violent burning inside of you to not settle for less than the presence of the Living God.
There’s so many aspects to this. I’ll have to explore them more in later posts.
In the mean-time, check out the one that I linked to above, as well as a similar one from my brother Jeff.