It was suggested in a friend's blog yesterday the best avenue to reading the Word of God is to start in 1 John...so that's where I started this morning. It is a relatively short book (only 5 chapters), but packed in those chapters is a model to live by. For me, at this time, I need to go back to the basics. I need to remember the simple truths about God and my faith. You could simply re-title this book of John as "How to be a Good Christian" or, to steal from a chapter in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous "How it Works"...("Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path..."). In either case, John lays before us the foundation of the love of God and what it is we should do. The answer is quite simple, really. It brings to mind those memorized questions and answers I was taught in grammar school (the ones I had to learn for Confirmation - all 100 of them) but actually explains the answers (explanations I was never given). I'm sure somewhere, someone I went to school with has them tucked away (and it would not surprise me if they were still being used today). The first question was "Who is God?" - the answer was "God is a supreme being, infinitely perfect, who made heaven and earth." That answer is just a tip of the iceberg! God is so much more!!!
God's love is so great, that He has created in us a place for Himself. He has given us both body and soul...one will die, the other will live on into eternity. It is THAT part of us that He inhabits. It is THAT part of us that we must make every possible effort to nurture. Yes, we need to take care of our mortal body, our flesh - the instrument that houses our soul, yet in that nourishment, we must remember that our spiritual nourishment is just as important! Without food, the body dies. Without God's word, the soul becomes open to those seven deadly sins written about in Proverbs 6 (and contrary to some of the answers given in Yahoo Answers, they are not a) "not in the Bible - Catholic doctrine", b) not "from a short story by William Shakespeare or Geoffrey Chaucer called "The Canterbury Tales", or c) a "list compiled by Catholic theologians during the early medieval age".) And yes, some of those answers given terrified me!!! Those seven things that are detestable in verses 17-19 ("A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren") are a solid foundation of what to strive NOT to do.
So, what do we do? Well, quite frankly - we can do nothing other than continue to praise God and ask for forgiveness. All our good intentions fall under the free will given us by the Father. We must do our very best to ask for His strength to walk in the light of Jesus Christ. We can pray for the courage to be obedient to His word, even when that means that we may be shunned by others, looked down on as if we were idiots and lose face as being a pillar in a community of sinners. I think I would rather be a follower of Jesus than a pillar of salt.
These past four days have given me the opportunity to reclaim "lost ground" and remember who I am and where I came from (and enough insight to know that I don't want to return to that place of "earthly delights". My reward will be much greater (and last longer) than any other treasure here in this world. So therefore, I choose to NOT love this world and all that it in it! I choose to love God and praise His name (and quite loudly, at that). I choose to be one of HIS followers, not a puppet for those who do not fear Him and do not worship Him. I choose to belong to Jesus' group of misfits (who are, in fact, not misfits at all, but Saints). I choose to be His obedient servant, no matter what the cost. After all, the price He paid is far greater than any reward I could possibly receive on earth.
Now it's time to step up and stand firm! Now it's time to BE as opposed to uttering words with no meaning..."abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." (1 John 2:28). I choose Jesus!