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Old 12-09-2013, 12:54 PM
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Ricky T Ricky T is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Age: 57
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10/14/2012 - from the m4carbine.net forum:

Do I believe in the God of the Bible, His plan for mankind, and the redeeming work that He accomplished through the sacrifice of His Son? Yes, I do, though this ultimately this speaks more to my relationship with God -- through Christ -- than it does with any particular expression of organized religion in society. I do try to attend church, and I do have an interest in the doctrines of the faith, but I do not look to the denominations, conventions, councils, or boards formed by men to discern this truth: instead, I rely upon careful reading of the Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal what I need to know, and I try to devote some time to discussions with Godly men who I know have no agendas aside from becoming more consistent followers of Christ.

Like most anything else man organizes (even for the noblest of purposes), there are many inherent flaws in contemporary concepts of religion. Too much of it has become a duty, a performance, a social obligation or some kind of financial cause. Little wonder that there are so many out there whose foundational beliefs in God has been shaken, or even destroyed, by those who would seek to substitute Christ's message of simple belief with a littany of their own expectations, rules, and -isms. Jesus Christ did not go to the cross to provide us with -isms; He went because it provided the atonement necessary to restore access to God, even in our gravely flawed states. We've taken the simple and made it difficult ... and it's wrong.

In this case, because my focus is upon walking faithfully with God Himself, rather than being right with a church, I have absolute confidence in His ability to work in my situation. It may spare my life, but I have zero expectations of that, nor am I praying to get out of this. What I am praying is that I will serve the purpose He has called me to, and that I will do it faithfully. If God needs me to be his barrel wrench right now, then I will find fulfillment in that calling, period. Again, I'm talking about a relationship with the Father that is anchored to the simplest and earliest of Christ's teachings: believe that He did the work necessary to save my soul, follow His example, carry the message of eternal salvation, and care for one's fellow man. It is not a cultural phenomenon. It not based upon traditions or opinions. It is not something that will change 200 years from now during the next big doctrinal/social/end-of-the-world shift.

This is the real source of my peace, even the the challenge for me is to carefully consider how faithful I actually am being in my daily walk. Sometimes I am a complete lunkhead. Sometimes I am slow to listen. Sometimes I still just want to do things my way. Still, when is all is said and done, more than anything else, I want to be found faithful.

In a much larger, more philosophical sense, I think it is a very natural thing for thinking men everywhere to ponder the question "do I believe in a God who might actually be in control of all of this, and if so, who might have some actual purpose or direction for my life? My sense is that this is hard-wired into the souls of most, but we learn to ignore it after years of seeing jaded versions of "Christianity" play out that bear little resemblance to the Christ that they are supposedly seeking to emulate. Either way, this doesn't make the basic questions any less valid, and something as simple as the "Roman's Road" in the New Testament can provide some exceedingly simple -- if profound -- truths on where we stand before God, and what can be done about it. Now, it's true that the right church at the right time can also be helpful in helping a new believer find a few consistent keys to growth, but the church is not the vehicle by which God offers the gift of salvation. So, where does that leave me?

Adherence to a formal religion? No, thanks.

A meaningful relationship with God? Absolutely -- I would be in total despair without it.

I'm admittedly on pain meds meds right now, but hopefully this helps to shed a bit of light on where I'm coming from, without putting anyone into an uncomfortable position who might have very different views -- or no views at all. I appreciate your support just the same either way, but thought a word of explanation might be useful as to why I'm not allowing my situation to remove the joy from however many days I might happen to have left. I came into the world a pretty light-hearted, optimistic guy, and I plan to go out in very much the same way.

AC
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