Sunrises. Sun falls. Darkness sets in. The dawn breaks way upon the horizon. Days are rarely defined in those moments. What lies between provides the substance.
What are we to do? Failure crushes the few bones left holding us up. Foundations crack. Satan slithers as we run. Hills, valleys, mountains and impossible monuments. The unachievable stands in front of the fearful believer. What is there to do? Start the treck up, the wind knocks you back down. Sand covers the mountain. Traction gives way as erosion stands in the way of victory. We climb. We fall. Have we been defined?
Standing at the peak. The summit rests under our feet. Had you jumped you would surely sprout wings. No obstacle stands in the way of the obtainable. Peaks and valleys bow to the magnificence of this mountain. Your body creates an eclipse that captivates the world. For the world is in your hands. Your finger the axis on which the world spins. Each rotation felt at the friction of your fingertip. Reach up. Feel God just inches away. Who can rise above us? Have we been defined?
Two men stand in very different positions. One in a valley. One on a mountain. Who is the victor? Who is redeemed? Perhaps in achievement, the man on the mountain thought it possible to reach the peak that makes him a god. Perhaps the underachievement reminds the man in the valley the magnificence of God's creation. Nevertheless, neither man is defined by where they ended up. For a man at the top of a mountain is no closer to God than the man at the bottom of a valley. Nor is each man defined by where they started. For the man on the mountain may not have achieved any more than the man in the valley. No, it is the journey that defines the man.
Life is not defined by where it began and where it ends. Context renders assumptions fruitless. How can we define a man by where they are? Perhaps the road they travel is often less traveled? For did not the Savior of the world follow the narrowest of roads? Journey defines destination. Destination does not define journey. For many will end in a place having no remembrance of how their journey began. Those are men destined to fail. Yet, those who end in a place where they remember the beginning are those destined for eternity. For they remember the abundance of self that precluded achievement and understanding. They remember having no traction and the viper biting at their heals. They remember the guidance and love they received when darkness fell. They remembered as the sun began to rise the darkness would soon come again. It was never the achievement. It was the beauty of work.
Between. Our hope lies between. Perhaps victory has reigned in your life forever. Perhaps defeat is the only victory your life has known. Between is where your hope lies. Between is where God rests in everything you do. Guiding your success and molding your failures, God is working between. Between the first kiss and the threatening fight, God rests between. For those who have fallen to an extreme, remember that God rests in between.
"If you know that you don't know that much you know just what I mean." Andy Mineo
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The Passing of Time
Slowly and painfully I feel time chipping away at my life. Like rain eroding a mountain, my life crumbles away. At first, the damage seems minimal, almost unnoticeable, as if the rains comes and goes without doing any damage to the large mountain. But as days go by the rain comes down harder and what seemed like a harmless shower turns into a devastating downpour. There is no stopping the rain and the mountain is too big to cover. There comes a time when the mountain must face the truth: The rain will wash the mountain away.
You see there was a time the mountain stood proudly and considered itself colossal, unable to erode as the significant drops slowly descended down its face. Arrogantly, the mountain would cry out for the rain to challenge the mountain and bring on a storm so devastating that the mountain would have to concede that the rain was indeed too mighty. Yet, the rain remained methodical in approach, knowing in arrogance the mountain would stand tall and ignore the reality that it was slowly washing away. As the rain continued the mountain noticed something, piece by piece the mountain began to crumble. Nothing significant occurred. The mountain didn't split in two or crumble spontaneously; however, slowly pieces of the mountain slide away, each piece larger than the last.
As the mountain dwindled down to a hill, then to a pile, a man came and covered to minimal remains of the base of the mountain with a tarp. Now lowly and defeated, the mountain looked to the rain and asked how did the rain win. The rain responded that it was never a question who would win and who would lose. Rain defeats every mountain over time. Some are destroyed quickly by storms, hurricanes, and typhoons. Others erode slowly often not realizing how much they have eroded away. So the real question was how did the mountain utilize the pieces it had to be something great. Did the mountain stand as a beacon of hope? Did the mountain illuminate a bright light in a fallen world? Or did the mountain behave foolishly? Thinking that through ignorance and arrogance it would prove more powerful than the Creator of the rain.
The mountain paused for a moment and then responded to the rain. “I was unaware of what rate the rain would erode my life away. When I was young I assumed myself too powerful to be bothered. Foolishly, I ignored the erosion that was occurring and even added to my downfall. As I got older, it was even harder for me to stay together. Piece by piece I was falling apart and I was trapped between the arrogance of youth and the wisdom of age. So I did nothing. I let days pass by accomplishing very little and let myself slowly wash away accomplishing nothing. Sure, I was inevitably going to crumble. All mountains do. But it was the fact the impact I made was no impact at all and will be forgotten shortly after I die. That is what bothers me."
Each day is a passing time where the world will slowly erode the minimal time we have left. Some of us will face storms, others hurricanes, but those who ought to be afraid are those who do not notice time passing at all. For we are all merely a grain in the hourglass of time. Though slowly we descend to the bottom of the glass, quickly we are covered by those who fall after us. Few grains of sand make an impact that can be seen by the outside of the glass. Many wash away, covered by someone else until we all shall fall and the end will come. And at that time what will we have left to show? Will the Creator see an impact on the outside looking in? Will you grain be that against the glass such as Peter and Paul, whose works were not covered throughout time? Or will you merely stand in arrogance, ignoring impending death, and slowly life washes away a small window of opportunity and the grain falls with nothing to show for it? I hope for all we make an impact that cannot be washed away by the drizzle we never noticed.
A Crumbling Kingdom
Nobody can specify the reason we lack satisfaction from the world we live in. Run. Keep going. Keep chasing. Finish. Almost there. But there never comes.
We want money. Got a million? Not enough. We want cars. Two cars for a family of four? How about a sports car you wash and never drive? We chase and chase but never fulfill that yearning deep within that tells us exactly what we don't want to hear: You are nothing.
We aren't. Hate to break it to you. Everything we have built on this Earth is coming to an end. Non-believers can't even dispute this fact. The world is going to come to an end. Whether we go with it or die thousands of years before. It is the truth. This world, just like life, has an end.
That is why our pursuits in this world are futile. We are wasting our time. Would any of us build our homes on quicksand? Sure we could build a tower that reaches to the end of the galaxy, but nevertheless, the quicksand will destroy what we have built. That is why plugging that hole in your heart with some mud will never last. It is why we are chasing things hopelessly and painfully getting nowhere. Our foundation is rooted in an ending; therefore, we never have a beginning.
So why are we born again? Christians aren't infants twice. Valid. But this new beginning is more than a “do-over" in our past life. It is the beginning of something different. It is where our pursuits in this world are built on an actual foundation, one that doesn't devour what we have built. Because when our foundation is solid we turn our buildings over to God. We let him create the tower we never could. The one that extends throughout eternity and people marvel at as they go about their day.
Don't believe a foundation in God matters? Think what you build on this earth will last forever? You're wrong. Even with our ability to capture so many moments of our lives we still have historians taking wild stabs at what history looked like. We still have people waking up Sunday morning not able to remember a thing from last night. Our lives won't stand forever.
So then why bother? If we aren't going to be remembered why bother? Because the strongest foundations throughout history are still influencing us today. For starters there is Moses. Ever heard a reference to parting the Red Sea? Yeah, that was Moses (Exodus 14). Faith so strong he parted a sea. What about Noah's ark? Faith in God is the reason Noah is still talked about today (Genesis 5:32-10:1). Ever heard this verse at a wedding: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 3:4-7). Yeah, you can thank Paul for that one. Oh, and by the way, all these guys have been dead for 2,000+ years. Oh and I should probably mention Jesus too. The “alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Revelation 22:13). He has been talked about since the beginning of time.
So believe me when I say there is a reason for us to be chasing things on this earth for God's glory. Without God these pursuits are futile, but with him they are eternal. That is why Paul “pressed on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
Often I have pondered the idea that Jesus could be walking among us and we would have no way of knowing. Seems preposterous right? Because we know how He is coming back. Just like the Jews knew who the Messiah would be. Oh wait, I think they missed that when they were crucifying Him. So what happens if we miss Him again?
Earlier I today I was on Facebook and in the news section, I saw a man had used scientific data to create what Jesus looked like, and the result is pretty interesting. Much to my delight, it is nothing similar to the Jesus we portray on stained glass windows and in movies. This Jesus portrait looked very similar to an Arab or Muslim. Woah, that can't be right though because Jesus is white. I mean the Jesus I grew up with was white so he must be white.
Let us be real for a second, how many people come from the area where Jesus was born and spent much of his life and are white in our current culture? If our culture is any indication of what Jesus looks like then, simply based on geography, Jesus is not a white man strolling around in a white robe. According to the online depiction, he might not have had brown hair. Yet, I feel confident Christians are up in arms about how Jesus is depicted in this painting.
But let me ask you a few questions: How many of you have seen Jesus? How many of you have sought to see the real Jesus opposed to the Jesus you think you should see? Here is the hard one: How many of you are willing to accept that Jesus might not be white? Harder question: What if he is black?
You see that is a problem for people. People will argue, “That's not my Jesus" similar to how people argue a black Santa is “not my Santa." The issue then becomes the fact one is willing to throw away their faith in God because of the color of his skin. For those reading who might think race plays a factor in who God saved through the death of Christ let me highlight a few things. First off, every one of us differs in skin tone in some way. Some of us are as darker than the night sky, others so light they make Casper look tan. Secondly, we all bleed the same color. Whether you are White, Black, Asian, Latino, Indian or any other race in the world, we all bleed the same color. Finally, when the story of Christ is told through prophecies and testimonials, the focus is on the blood of Christ that covers our sins, not his skin. When Christ broke bread at the table it was His body He broke for all mankind, not His skin. Jesus did not sacrifice Himself and bear the sins of the WORLD only to be discriminated as the savior of a race. When Saul (Paul) had a divine encounter with Jesus, He sent Paul to share the gospel message with Gentiles. That would be similar to the God coming to a racist white man in the south during the 1960's telling him preach the good news to a black man. It seemed ludicrous because Paul (a Christian murder) was then converted to help redeem a nation whom Jews (who Paul Converted from) had said do not get a place in God's kingdom.
Jesus came to save more than just Jews when He died and now continues to save more than just white Christians.
Therefore, those out there who are weary to accept that Jesus might have a far darker pigment than we have been raised to believe, remember one thing: He is still the savior of the world, not just one race.
Proof ≠ Intimacy
Science has done marvelous things in our world and has been one of the many ways God has shown he operates in ways far beyond our imagination. No, science is not Satan's creation. God has used science to allow us to explore how truly amazing his creation is.
There are some issues I have found with science. The first being the way science is taught. As we grow up we learn in school what we are taught in science is what happened. Rarely do teachers preface their class with the acknowledgment that some of what they teach are theories, not facts. We often forget that many things scientists believed 100 years ago have been proven false. However, we tend to buy into the fact that we are the most modern society ever created; therefore, if we have a theory it is far more likely to be true than false.
One of my favorite Christian vs. Scientist arguments is evolution. There are arguments to be made by each side (whether you believe that or not) but it reminds me of a physics teacher I had in high school. He had just finished reading a book that provided evidence that validated that evolution is how Homo Sapiens were formed. He announced to the class he had finished the book and explained what the book claimed; furthermore, he told us that the author had later admitted that he falsified that data to support his claims on the existence of evolution. I will never forget what happened next. He picked up the book, threw it across the room, and said, “Don't ever believe in evolution because nobody was there to see it."
Another issue that I do not think science created, but certainly has magnified, is the need for proof in everything we do. Needing proof in science is necessary, but in our friendships and relationships, it causes a need that cannot be fulfilled. How many of us at one point or another desired for someone to love us? I believe all of us have that desire in one form or another; however, our society has grown an increasing demand for proof of love. Whether it is through flowers, hugs, kisses, texts or posts on Instagram, we desire to be shown we are loved. Here is the issue: we are letting it consume us and it leaves us unfulfilled.
A big issue facing our society, especially in the teenage community, is sending nude pictures. Many people have downplayed this issue by saying it is a way of expressing ourselves or showing love; however, nude pictures are expressing a lack of fulfillment and creates a culture that lacks intimacy.
People will question how showing your nude body could possibly downgrade intimacy, but let me ask this: Is it harder to get naked in front of someone face to face or miles away through a picture? Being in person creates a greater sense of vulnerability due to the risk of being rejected or laughed at; wherefore, sending pictures over the phone allows the sender the opportunity to deal with rejection on their own terms. The risk of rejection is lower, the sender is less vulnerable, and the level of intimacy is decreased immensely.
Now, the greater issue at hand is the lack of fulfillment pictures provide. Often, couples will desire to show their love in a more physical way as the relationship evolves and pictures seem to be the go-to for the younger generations. Couples think they are showing love to one another by exploiting themselves for the appreciation of the other. They think it is a step in a loving and trusting relationship. But that step wasn't around 100 years ago and those marriages lasted a heck of a lot longer than ours do.
We fail to realize we create a pattern in our lives when we send these pictures that go from a relational celebration to a demand, and when it isn't met we turn to someone else. Sin. It is a habit. And it is so easy to turn to the next best thing.
Proof isn't what we want. We want control. We want to feel like we are the ones who choose when we stay and when we go. We don't want to get vulnerable and commit ourselves to be bound to another person; therefore, we lose clothes and send pictures to whoever is willing to receive them and give us what we want in return. It isn't intimate. It is fear. Fear that in growing together we will be dumped and rejected. Ashamed. Proof gives us control as if we have something to hold over their head. Not to mention each picture sent gets easier and easier to send because you block your mind from thoughts of vulnerability and lose yourself in the idea you cannot feel pain. I have been there. In so much pain I feel nothing. And believe me, that is not a feeling you should long for. Control won't provide us with love, pictures won't bring relationships closer together, and “proof" is not a substitute for true intimacy.
Life's Complicated Simplicity
Growing up, one of my favorite television series was The Office. In the episode “Money," the main character Michael Scott takes a job as a telemarketer in hopes of earning more money. On a cold call, Scott pitches a product by asking, “Well what if I told you that I had a pill that could make you 50 pounds lighter in five minutes? How would that sound? Amazing, right?" It is assumed the consumer responds with an agreement to which Scott qualifies, “It won't be that fast but it will be that easy."
Christ is life. It is that simple; however, it feels as if it is not that easy. Living a life glorifying God is deep and difficult; nevertheless, it is also simple and beautiful. On the one hand Romans 10:9 shows how simple it is to love Christ and make Him the Lord of the life when we are to “confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead;" additionally, Jesus shows the simplicity of making Him Lord of your life when he forgives a sinner on the cross moments before his death. On the contrary, Peter denied Christ three times even after Christ had told Peter of his impending denial. Furthermore, the church continues to split hairs due to overblown controversies that make it increasingly difficult to understand what the life of Christ truly looks like. Moreover, with parables came the revelation of the mystery of God; however, it also brought an overwhelming amount of misinterpretation still plaguing Christians.
It is an amazing challenge God has set before us. On the one hand we can sign up and get a jersey and play on the team; on the other hand, we all know the beauty of a sport is competing at the highest level for a prize. As Paul puts it, we are all running a race and we are seeking to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Some will run slower, others faster; yet, as a family of believers, we should all be encouraged by one another to stay on track and continue to pick up our pace so more join in on the greatest race for the greatest prize of the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Hip-Hop artist Lecrae best illustrates this idea in his song "Non-Fiction" when he says:
“We may run at a different pace but let's continue the race
You runnin' yours, I'm runnin' mine."
That is the beauty of our life in Christ. It is as easy as letting Him take over everything and as difficult as pursuing Him with everything we have in our race toward eternal joy in His kingdom. Each step we take is not meant to fall on a path highlighted to glory. If that were the case, what would be the purpose of faith? The beauty of easily accepting a difficult life is that, while many steps will be taken blindly over a fiery abyss, we have a Savior setting our path that our steps might not be in vain. Though we may stumble, an eternal Savior will reach His arm out to catch us. Though we may head in the wrong direction, we have a Savior who loves us boundlessly working to lead us back to the Father. For it is not until our life has come to pass that we will realize the indescribable wonder of the way God shaped our path that we might be welcomed into a kingdom whose fortress shall never fall.
For all those plagued with doubt seeking a life that is easier, take heart for there is no life easier than the life of Christ. Although trials and tribulations will plague every one of us, the gift of freedom will last forever despite the difficulties of following in the footsteps of our undead Savior.
What is Love?
Perhaps the most maddening and confusing of all emotions displayed throughout humanity, love, is something everyone perceives differently but display similarly. For many, love is that feeling you get when you meet your significant other and cannot get them out of your head. Others see love as a feeling of trust and confidence that one can rely on the other. The problem with love is how we try and understand it through a moment-by-moment context apart from an eternal action.
How is it possible for us to love our spouse, family, dog, and Lord all at the same time? We are sexually intimate with our spouse, cannot rely on our dogs to care for us when we are sick, and even use love as a weapon to guilt family into accomplishing tasks. How do all those different things fall under the umbrella of love?
Truth is how we have used and abused love has caused our society to have a skewed view of the picture God intended when He gave us the gift of love. We have all heard the commandment “love your neighbor as yourself" and freely throw that in the face of those who struggle to love other people; yet, those same people are showing partiality in how they love and for whom they care. If you are convinced you love your neighbor as yourself, but also argue that you should not give money to the homeless because they will spend it on booze, you are not where you think you are.
Believe me, I am nowhere close to where I need to be in terms of love; however, I am calling my brothers and sisters in Christ to show the world the true depiction of love God intended for us to display. America often twists the idea of love, respecting those who love their families, hate their enemies and do good deeds. While loving your family and doing good works for the glory of the Father do hold eternal value, we also must separate ourselves from the idea of a prototypical human being. When Christ came to Earth He displayed love to everyone He encountered. In fact, He displayed love to those whom society deemed unlovable. Many of us think unlovable people are simply the poor in society who seem to have to no vision for their life or seem to have given up; however, Christ loved those whom people had written off as unworthy of God's love. Christ looked at those who seemed unlovable and unworthy and displayed through them the riches of His love. Unfortunately, many of us see Christ's love and say think that it is not too hard to love other people. When people ask, we tell them “I love all people" and do not use the word hate; yet, we have no issue with tossing the word strongly dislike out and actively seek to avoid people we “dislike" so we do not have to face the reality that our feelings toward one person may be separating us from a stronger relationship with God. Let us not forget, the Apostle Paul deems love the binding agent that holds the body of Christ together. Therefore, without love, we don't have a body in Christ.
As we enter a season riddled with false representations of love, I encourage you all to challenge yourself to love those whom you feel you could never love. Without adversity, there is little celebration for the reward; furthermore, without a desire to hate, there would be little reward for the triumph of love in a relationship that feels hopeless.
Men Don't Cry
The saying is well known by all teenage boys seeking to become men and they consider the phrase gospel. “Men don’t cry.” These three words cause millions of men to hold in emotions at movies, while stressed and at times when they feel lost. Well, I have a two-word phrase that is more powerful than that three-word lie: “Jesus wept.” The shortest verse in the entire Bible packs as much of a punch as any of the parables or sermons Jesus shared during His ministry. Is it blasphemous to say that a two-word verse where Jesus did not say a word is equally powerful to every word Jesus spoke? Absolutely not, because we learn from the way Jesus lived, not simply how He instructed us to live.
Yes, our Lord and Savior shed tears at the news that Lazarus, his friend, was dead. Often believers take issue with the fact that if Jesus is God and God is all knowing, why would Jesus weep about something He knew would happen? Why? Because Jesus loves us more than we can comprehend. Tears are not a sign of weakness nor do they reflect a lack of trust in God that we will be redeemed; however, when we lose someone we care for, it is difficult to deal with that trial without shedding tears.
The question that comes to my mind is when does our Lord cry? Because He is now in Heaven, does He cry or rejoice when believers die? Likely, Jesus wept because of the separation that took place when Lazarus was no longer on earth; therefore, would Jesus still weep at our death since He is no longer here?
I think to answer this question, we have to look at what separates us from Christ: Sin. Sin is the reason that Adam and Eve are not our neighbors and cemeteries continue to fill with bodies. Sin is the reason Jesus, God in flesh, died on a dirty cross as He bore our imperfection to instill hope for our resurrection. Sin, to be literal, is death. What would cause Jesus to weep now? It is the very thing that made Him weep while in flesh: Death. However, the death that now separates us from Him is made permanent through our sin. For those of you who love “The Walking Dead” or any other zombie-style show on TV, you can rejoice because we are living in a world where the walking dead are all around us. Sin causes us to live a life so far from God that even while alive in flesh, we are dead without Christ. And that is something that our Savior would weep about. That is something the men and women and our church should shed tears over.
As I write this, “Star Wars: Rogue One” is set to open in exactly a week. An unbelievably unique franchise that has a cult following even after it struggled to successfully create the prequel trilogy in the early 2000s. Frankly, Star Wars is much like the story of Christ. It is still unbelievable without the first three movies (I, II and III), but when the prequel trilogy is added, it gives the audience a new perspective on how amazing the accomplishments of the Rebel Alliance truly were. Without the Old Testament we would still have an unbelievable story of an undead Savior; yet, when you add in the prophecies, wars, and laws from the Old Testament, it sheds a light on the salvation story that no movie has paralleled (not even Star Wars).
I apologize for my tangent, but let me work this together for you. In “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” Admiral Ackbar provides the famous quote “It’s a trap!” as the Empire trapped the Rebel Alliance who was attacking hoping to catch the Empire off guard. Unfortunately, life does not always come with such obvious warning signs that we might be walking into one of Satan’s traps. There is simply no way around it when Peter describes Satan as a “roaring lion seeking someone to devour,” temptation can come at any time. People often think temptation is easy to spot and simple to avoid. Alcohol addicts should not go to bars, pornography addicts should not watch nudity in movies, drug addicts should avoid friends who use. The list goes on. Yet, the devil is described as one who is literally waiting at any time to devour someone any chance he gets; therefore, it is incredibly foolish of us to believe that we only have to be on guard only during certain daily activities.
Thinking back to what I learned in school about predator and prey, the predator does not try to kill its prey when the prey is on high alert; yet, it is when the Zebra is relaxing and taking a drink that a lion comes out of nowhere and devours its prey (it is quite a sight). Therefore, why do we, as believers, have a strong tendency to pull away from God when times are good and lean a little less on Him and a little more on ourselves? How quickly do we forget that all it takes is for one piece to be removed for the whole Jenga Tower to come crumbling down? When we convince ourselves that we are safe, have spotted all areas of temptation and are strong on our own, is when we are in the most danger.
So where does “It’s a trap!” come into play? Why did I even bring it up? Why don’t we have an Admiral Ackbar warning us of our impending death? All are great questions and have one great answer: God. God is our Admiral Ackbar who warns us when danger is approaching. God is the one yelling, “It’s a trap,” so that we know to run from danger into His arms. God is the reason I brought this up.
As you grow closer to Christ you will begin to understand how amazing His Holy Spirit really is. The Spirit is perhaps the coolest thing ever. It is God’s Spirit resting within us, guiding our words in times of prayer and public profession; additionally, the Spirit also has this unbelievable way of warning you when danger is approaching. It is something that is different to every believer, but it best described as that feeling you cannot ignore. Most know this feeling from becoming a follower of Christ as they realized the call that was put in them to follow God. The feeling is unique, powerful, and often indescribable. Yet, as great as the Spirit is, we have a tendency to follow in the footsteps of the younger son from the “Parable of the Lost Son” (Luke 15:11-32). Far too often we ask for our inheritance because we think we have a grip on our life. However, we always blow all our inhertance, and come crawling back to God having not learned our lesson. Glory to God for His loving patience and kindness that is shown unto us for our unparalleled arrogance; still, we must learn from our false confidence in ourselves and trust only in the true confidence in our Lord. Otherwise, every time we do fall dangerously into a trap, we will lose ourselves once again and be left trying to restore a relationship we did not have to lose. And for those who have put their confidence in the Lord: I advise you merely to trust Him. God will provide, guide, and protect you in your battle against the evil in this world. You will be victorious through His grave in whatever the evil one throws at you.
Monsters of Life
We used to check under the bed before we went to sleep and flipped on the closet light to make sure any monsters hiding would be exposed. Our overwhelming nightmares led us to sprint to our parents’ bed and hop in to stay safe. Funny thing is we never checked under their bed for monsters before we went back to sleep; however, we just trusted that whatever might be under the bed could never hurt us with our parents' protection. Christian universities are becoming monsters in our society and we don’t even realize it. Students pile in thinking that they will be protected from any of the demons that tempt students of public universities. Unfortunately, they forget evil doesn’t just skip over Christian universities, it often overcomes them.
North Greenville University was on the shortlist of schools I planned on attending out of high school. For some reason, I had convinced myself I had to go somewhere Jesus was. Honestly, I thought my faith could only be expanded at a school where chapel was a requirement and Jesus was the center of the attention. But in the fall of 2015 North Greenville was struck with a major scandal as their president was exposed cheating by his son. For many, it seemed as if they were unable to fathom that evil could strike their campus where Christ was meant to be the center.
Think about it for a second, when we got in our parents' bed were we truly safe? Sure they could protect us from something that isn’t real, but monsters under the bed were never the things we needed protection from. It was the evil that lurked outside the house in the form of an intruder, murderer, hurricane, tornado, flood, fire or any other devastation one could fathom. Similarly, we could sign up for these Christian universities and never truly be safe from the real issues. Of course, they could ban alcohol, kick out gay students, regulate and monitor our dates with the opposite gender, and even require we go to chapel every week; yet, that doesn’t mean we are protected from the evil at hand. Trust me, I spent my freshman year of college at a Christian university where students got drunk, watched porn, had premarital sex, lied, cheated, stole and dated the same sex. Sadly we were not safe from any of the real world issues, no matter how many Bibles were on campus and chapel services we attended. Truthfully, I don’t know if my faith grew an inch even though my major was Christian Theology.
Is that the universities fault? Absolutely not. It was my fault for believing that attending a university could protect me from the evil that is overwhelming this world. Each chapel I attended I hoped would change my life; consequently, I was left wondering why in the world I was at such a strict campus where I could still engage in any sin I desired. It was a living nightmare. I felt no true Christian could actually live faithfully and attend a non-Christian university; however, my perspective quickly changed.
As time has passed I have begun to realize that just because Christ is the center of the community, it means nothing if he is not at the center of your life. Jesus sat at tables full of sinners, yet he was the center. Paul, Peter, Barnabas, John, Timothy and so many others infiltrated sin filled communities but never wavered because Christ was at the center of their life. They went to areas where the bed they laid in had monsters lurking everywhere; nevertheless, they were completely protected by the armor of the God because God is all the protection we need. Sometimes I feel like if I locked myself in a padded cell and was sent to the bottom of the ocean I would be safe from the evil of the world. Although that sounds like it would keep me safe, evil will still overcome me without the protection of the only One that has overcome the temptation and consequence of our sin. We no longer have to check closets’ and under beds to make sure we are safe. No longer will we have to try and surround ourselves with false hope that offers lackluster protection against evil. All we need is the Father who has overcome the only thing that can end our life, and in protection He offers us a greater life that is eternally safe and allows us to smash the monsters that have haunted us for centuries. Have faith, our battle is against evil; nevertheless, with God we are protected and free to overcome the spirits that attack.