Here is the second half of the things I have learned being a Christian. This one will be a tad more theological heavy
#6 the Matthew 5-7/ Galatians 5 prism
Matthew 5-7 and Matthew 23 were the first verses I read after being born again. Matthew 5-7 is the Sermon on the Mount, one of Jesus’s first and most famous sermons and Matthew 23 is part of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ sermons that He gave the week He was destined to die. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5-7&version=NIV
If one would ask me, what does a Christian look like. I would show them the Sermon On The Mount. It has everything. It has love thy enemies, don’t worry, turn the other cheek and you can’t serve both money and God. If someone claims to be Christian but goes against these tenets, I know He does not love Jesus with his heart. Because Jesus says if you love Him you will follow His teachings.
Galatians 5 is one of my favorites because in it Paul is discussing the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. I call it the Goofus and Gallant section of the Bible because it clearly shows what a saved person looks like and what a wicked person looks like.
Goofus who thinks he is a Christian but is not.
Galatians 5: 19-21 the acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
This describes a certain president, does it not?
Gallant the true Christian.
Galatians 5 22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law
Now, I am no perfect Christian, there is no such thing. We all fall short now and again. And some people are stronger with some of the fruits than others. Me, for example, I need help with forbearance and self-control. But I know these shortcomings and I am working on them with God’s help.
#7 The No True Scotsman fallacy fallacy
Most of my blogs I upset the religious right but I know I will upset any atheist readers with number seven. Whenever I tell an atheist friend that Trump, Franklin Graham, congressman Steve King and all the other religious fundamentalists do not represent true followers of Jesus, they throw this at me. It makes me want to scream every time I hear this. I believe the No True Scotsman fallacy is a fallacy in itself.
The fallacy goes like this.
Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person B: “But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge.”
Person A: “But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge
Now I have never read a Scottish government document declaring that no Scotsman puts sugar on their porridge. But there is a book that shows how a Christian lives. See my number 6. The New Testament shows what a Christian is like. A Christian supporting Trump is like a vegan eating steak or a communist supporting trickle down economics. It goes against the tenants of the core belief system. Logically, the No True Scotsman does not apply when you talk about followers if Christ or Christians.
8 My Spirit is willing but my flesh is very very weak.
If I would have to list my major flaws they would have to be laziness and procrastination. I checked out a book on how to fight procrastination, I just haven’t read it yet. I want to write 3 blogs a week but instead of doing so, I watch TV or do something else that is time wasting.
I want to go back to the state capital and preach but I don’t. There was a vigil for those who were murdered by that anti-Semitic psychopath in Pittsburgh a couple weeks ago. I knew I wanted to go. I knew that I should go but instead I watched a couple of Murder She Wrotes. This then leads to spiritual guilt that just leads to more fear, paralyzation, and laziness. For example part two of this list comes months after part one.
While Jesus was praying in Gethsemene, Jesus’ closest disciples said that they would stand guard but they fell asleep 3 times. They wanted to stay up in Jesus’ time of trial but they couldn’t. That is when Jesus said to them “the Spirit is willing and the flesh is weak. This is not an excuse. But it is an explanation.
9. God loves and forgives.
The Religious right speaks of God as a deity that punishes those that don’t believe Him with hellfire and gives goodies to those who do. Yes God is a God of justice. He hates sin. He hate greed, he hates violence, he hates pride. But we are all sinners. God forgives us as long as we are humble enough to ask, he will forgive us. I know that I am a sinner saved by Grace. I once was terrified of not being save, of being beyond redemption and a friend of mine told me “ because you have those thoughts that shows that you are saved. If you were beyond redemption. You wouldn’t care. The Quest for holiness is that a quest. Some people are farther in their quest than others. The Holy Spirit guides us at our individual paces. But we will never be totally free of sin and temptation until the second coming. But we don’t have to be slaves to our sins.
10. The more you use the more you get.
The Parable of the talents https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A14-30&version=NIV
That verse always confused me. Why would Jesus take away what little that man had. Jesus was talking about the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit. God gives us all gifts. Gifts to teach, gives to speak out against injustice. Gifts to be a prophet , gift to heal and others. But if we do nothing with them we waste them. For example when I am lazy and afraid, I write less, I feel less strong. I don’t make videos, I feel alone. But when I use the gifts that God gives me I feel fully alive. When I make my YouTube videos I feel fully alive. I am confident, strong, and eager to serve God. The more of God’s strength that I use the more it multiplies. That is true with Love, empathy, healing powers and any other gift or fruit of the Spirit.
The third man in this parable did not do anything with what God gave him, so God took it away. That is the danger of not following the path that God gives you. I pray that I will use the gifts that a God gave me to my best ability.