Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Redirecting Emotions and Joy

Jonathan Edwards; the old school theologian is widely regarded as an ambassador of the faith. He was a well studied thought leader that many of today's prominent pastors draw their concepts from. I was recently reading a book about Jonathan Edwards and it covers many of his concepts that are extremely deep. Edwards depth came from a developed relationship with the Lord so deep that you can smell his desire in his books. This man relentlessly pursued Jesus.

Now a concept that caught me recently was this idea of redirecting our emotions and joy from the world to things of God. We all have affection for things of this world because we equate these things with something of great value. Usual that value is identified with being able to provide us with satisfaction, happiness or joy. We rarely stop to challenge our beliefs in regards to affections such as money and recognition. Edwards would call these "false affections". Then we have affection to things not of this world, the things of God and His kingdom (fellowship, ministry, prayer, reading the Word). These are things that we hear about in church that pump us up and make total sense but loose value because the pay out is so far away from us. However if we were to really unpack these affections we would find that they satisfy our desires not only now but into eternity. Edwards called them "true affections", claiming that they are worthy to be pursued. The understanding of this concept would not only provide us satisfaction and happiness but it would bring us joy. Joy is on par with true fulfillment which is what we all so desperately want but so few of us ever really experience. Many of us can feel happy and satisfied but joy is rooted in the Spirit and we only can experience this when we are pursuing things of God.

On an evangelistic tip don't you think that non-believers would be more open to hearing about Jesus when we explain that it's not about repenting of your sin and correcting behavior but it's about acknowledging your sin and redirecting your efforts (emotions and joy). Redirecting from things that don't last, that don't satisfy, and that don't bear fruit to things that are of the Lord that do provide every good thing (true fulfillment).

Proverbs 2:4-7 "and if you look for it as for silver ans search for it as hidden treasure then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God... He holds victory in store for the upright".

Monday, April 11, 2011

Self Evaluation

Hey everybody. So, for those of you who don't know, six weeks ago I had Tommy John surgery on my elbow. Just before my surgery I wrote to y'all about how God had given me peace and how my identity didn't lie in baseball. Well, I'm pleased to tell you that I believe that more than ever now. My God is still good enough. Oh, and everything is going good with the rehab. Anyway, the past few days I got a chance to spend some time at Augusta National watching the Masters. What a place. I think if God were to come down and play golf He would probably go there. I was so captured with the sheer beauty of that place that I caught myself several times just looking around (not even watching the golfers), marveling at what God had created. I went home and started thinking about some of the blessings that God has given me. One of those blessings, I think, is the ability to self evaluate. I wonder what my life would look like if I was looking on from the outside... like watching the movie of me. What would that movie be about I wonder? Would it be a baseball movie with some family and a few prayers mixed in along the way? Would I be the main character, director, producer, and writer. Sadly, I think in my life up to this point I have put me first, then family, then God. So many times I have been asked to rate where I keep my priorities, and I know the right answer to that question. Have you ever met someone who didn't answer God, family, career, friends in that order or pretty close? I haven't. And that's how I've answered every time. That doesn't make it true though. All those other people might be answering truthfully, but I can only speak for me. Do I spend as much time with God as I do my career? Not even close. Do I spend more time watching tv than hanging out with God...yep. Let's just cut to the chase. I haven't picked up my cross and followed Jesus like I should. See if you can relate to me here. Sometimes I'll go to church or hear a great podcast or something and get all fired up. Then I'll make a bunch of empty promises, and a few days later I'll be back to that stagnant, luke warm lifestyle. This time on the disabled list has given me a chance to feel the luke warmness that is my life. There is no doubt I was given this time to become stronger. Physically, and spiritually. But, there is now way I will become stronger spiritually without an honest assessment of exactly where I am on my walk with Christ. I'll wrap this up by saying that in my time of reflection I had wandered off the path on that walk with Christ. If you were watching the movie about you....would you be proud of it? Better yet...would God be proud of it? Thank you God for the mirror that you have provided me with. And thank you God for the gift of injury.