Two days ago, I wrote a post about faith. https://fencingwithink.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/ka-pwing-why-a-brain-is-important-in-christianity/ I mentioned how we should welcome challenges and trials because they show us where the weaknesses are in our shields of faith so that we may know them and God may fix them.
Today, my shield cracked. And I figure that if I’m going to tell people what to do, I need to also be vulnerable and show where I fail.
I was reading a post by a fellow blogger who was making a joke about the movie “Magic Mike” and how Christian women shouldn’t go see it since, you know, strippers. One woman was rather upset and said that the author of the blog was judging her and other Christian women who saw “Magic Mike.”
And, oddly, my blood boiled. It wasn’t my post or a response to me, but I was still livid. What does she mean, judging?! The Bible tells us to tell our fellow Christians where they are wrong! He wasn’t mean or cruel, he was just saying the truth! And he did it in an enlightening way that showed you wouldn’t want your husband to see a movie about strippers, so why should you! You’re just mad because he said you were wrong! And you’re taking the not-judging thing out of context anyway! I’m sick of that stupid argument, people just dismissing anybody telling them they’re wrong as “judging” and therefore evil!
Bile, filth, and vomit.
Shortly after, I realized my heart rate had increased and I was clearly unhinged. So, I asked myself why, and I didn’t know. It’s a recurring problem with me: people bashing Christians. But then on Thursday, as noted in my last post, someone bashed Christianity left and right, but I didn’t get angry, upset, or anything. I was calm because her arrows bounced off my shield of faith.
So why did my shield fail me this time? I decided to read some more upbeat Christian posts and came across this one: http://wordsbyrobin.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/how-to-run-towards-the-giant-in-your-path/ It’s about taking on the giants in your life, and while I heard something like this before, I found it extra soothing today. I realized I was facing a giant today, and at first, I thought it was the world. But like I said, the world did nothing to me on Thursday, so it must be something deeper. I read my Bible and prayed and God revealed that problem.
My giant is my image.
I’ve struggled with horrendous self-esteem my entire life. For reasons too lengthy to explain here, I felt worthless, weak, like I was nobody and nothing, and that I could do nothing. It led to masochistic relationships, heavy depression, and it was even the core reason I was bound by pornography.
So what does this have to do with a shield of faith? This isn’t about God, it’s about me, right? I thought so, too. But God gently showed me something: I find it very easy to believe what God says about himself. I find it much harder to believe what he says about me.
It goes back to that same problem: belief. Believing that what God says is true. It’s a “subset,” if you will, of faith, one I didn’t realize was part of my shield, and therefore neglected. So when it’s been attacked over and over again in life, it’s always hurt me. The Devil knows he can’t scratch what I think about God, but he can shatter what I think about me. When he does that, he robs me of what seems like an insignificant part of my faith. After all, I’m not questioning God, I’m questioning me. That’s not wrong is it?
But my faith says that God is truth, complete truth. Therefore, what God says about me is also true. If God says that I am valuable and I say I am not, I’m calling God a liar, or at least saying that he doesn’t know everything after all.
So, Michael (me), does God know everything or not? Does he know who I am and what he has planned for me? Is he the King of Kings and Lord of Lords or not? Is what he says final and authoritative or must he check with me first?
Like I said on Thursday, when my heart wonders, my brain has the answer stored away already. Yes, Jesus is the final authority and yes, he knows everything. He says I am valuable, loved, cherished. Everything in the Bible says that God loves his children, every single one. He loved us so much that he gave his life for us (John 3:16).
He says I’m qualified through Jesus to inherit God (Colossians 1:12)
He says I am called of God, not because of how great I am, but how great He is (2 Timothy 1:9)
He says I’m the apple of his eye (Psalm 17:8)
He says I’m sealed through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
He says I am accepted (Ephesians 1:5-6)
If I continue to preach the gospel, people will say I’m judgmental. They will say I’m hateful. They’ll say I’m homophobic, heartless, misogynistic, archaic in thought, and I know in my heart that I am none of these things, and if I am, then the love of Jesus is not with me (1 John 4:20). But even if they’re not true, people will still say them. Why? Because the world is against Christ because the Bible goes against all the world knows and stands for. Jesus even reinforced this by saying “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.” (John 15:18).
There will be mud-slinging, name-calling, and venom-spitting, but every single one of those is one more arrow I can block with my shield of faith, as long as it has been strengthened by my belief that God knows who I really am, and it’s His opinion that truly matters to me.
One more trial, one my flame to temper my shield. I pray that you all will continue to grow as well. It hurts sometimes, but a stronger you awaits you on the other side.
God bless you.