You Have To Struggle Man, You Have To.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to struggle. Now raise your hand if you’re still alive.

It’s my birthday week, but it’s also my 10-month mark in my walk with God. I went through a season of ligaw, as you probably saw from some of my first writings. I went through a season of “this is how Christians are, pala, Wow.” As you saw in my succeeding writings. I went through a season of MAN, I am so broken for the world. As some of you violently reacted to in a particular writing. I went through a season of doubt and confusion…it produced no writing, but a lot of time praying through my circumstances and God’s deafening silence.

So what’s my point?

God is sovereign.

That’s it.

I’ve learned a little about His character of love, I’ve learned a little about His character of justice and holiness, I’ve learned a little about his character of favor; and I say little to all of these, because let’s face it, we’ve barely touched the tip of God’s greatness and glory. We barely know Him yet, and that’s why we continue to seek Him.

But you have to struggle in order to do so, you have to.

Whoever said Christianity was easy, is probably meditating in a New Age center right now, because they most likely took two months to figure out that God doesn’t solve all your problems in an instant and rarely lets you go through things without a tough lesson.

And why?

Because He loves you.

That’s why.

He will bring you through the ups and downs and allow the hardest things to happen in your life as a way of saying I love you, therefore I want the best for you, and in order for you to get the best, you have to persevere and trust me.

Romans 5:3-4

But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. 

Have you suffered? Yes. Have you persevered? Great. Did it build your character? Awesome. Now, do you have hope?

There is an image of God that I gave a friend of mine who I’m guiding now in her own personal walk that’s like this: God is like the dad who’s teaching you to ride a bike, and when he knows you got it, he’ll let go for a bit and watch intently from a distance, until he sees you getting shaky, then he’ll come running to catch you.

As you grow and mature in faith you’ll realize that, or if you’ve never known God and how He is, well…He’s that. He’s Dad.

He allows the struggle and the disappointments and the angry WHYS that you scream at yourself so ultimately, you’d have hope. That by his grace, things will get better, not in an instant! but that things will turn around for your own good according to His will; and that even if you come out a little dented or scratched, you’d also come out stronger and wiser.

You have to struggle man, you have to.

Peace is preached, but we are called to Make Peace. Love is taught in all religions, but we are called to Love the hate out of our enemies. Justice is talked about in society, and yet we are called to Speak Up for the ones with no voice and Put others before ourselves all the while standing for the Truth. It’s faith in action. It’s the great struggle. It’s ugly and beautiful but when you see God, even BEFORE YOU SEE God working, your faith tells you his plans will still come to pass, no matter what! You are simply expected to follow.

So embrace the struggle.

And let me leave you with this last image of God as a dad. Through your struggles, whether that’s with a personal sin, maybe a sinful lifestyle, people around you, fights and false accusations thrown at you, provoked and despised, God is the dad standing outside your room as you cry into your sheets, wanting to knock and come in so he can comfort you, but also waiting for you to say, “Come in, dad.”

To my fellow activators in faith (ha ha), don’t you love it? When we struggle, that means GOD IS WORKING SO HARD ON OUR CHARACTER AND HIS PLANS FOR US, MAN, COME ON!!!

Persevere. Grow. Hope.

Love,

Julz

7 Things Christians Should Really Stop Doing 

To the church and anyone online that might have stumbled upon this blog, together with all his holy people, I am thankful for how God has set you apart for his glory through the grace of Jesus Christ. Your lives have been made righteous by his blood, and your faith has been ever growing in the times of testing.  I am encouraged by your devotion and persistence, and admonish you to continue working out your salvation. But fellow Christians, let me just say, that you sometimes, can seriously be so annoying. 

At my 7-month mark, I think I can safely admit by witnessing the church community that these are 7 things I am so guilty of but I really think Christians alike should stop doing, too:

1. Stop saying you’ll pray for someone, and then you never do.

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By this time, I’ve noticed that when someone asks me to pray for them, I usually seldom to never actually do. My response in group chats to a request is always, “Praying for you!” Really Julz, you are? Maybe you’ve jotted down in your prayer notebook to include that as one of your points for quiet time later, but maybe you’re like me, who…just forgets. I think it’s important, friends, that when a brother or sister asks us to intercede we should stop what WE’RE doing, and find two minutes to lift up their concerns to the Lord. Not only have we actually prayed for them, we took time out of our day. 

2. Stop making spiritual comments ALL. THE. TIME.

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Or quoting the Bible every chance you get. We get it, you always read the Bible. And good! But I’ll be honest, I’ve been told that there were times someone desperately needed my help and they couldn’t believe they were being sermoned at. And it’s true! I tend to feel inadequate too when a Christian goes, “Well, it says in the Bible…” Hey, I want to hear what the Bible says, believe me.  But how about some solid advice ACCORDING to the Bible? Because if the Word has truly been invested into our hearts, anything we say will have the knowledge and wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Dropping a verse at every person’s woes and then standing up and OH MY GOSH, saying “I’ll pray for you,” just isn’t as sincere as lending an ear or hand. Your memorization of Scripture will go a long way if you can apply it more so than recite it. No one likes a spiritual smartypants! 

3. Stop telling people how to live their lives.

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Because let’s face it, you never had to go through anything quite as sinful or severe as them, huh? We got to stop doing this guys. 

I mean it’s okay to judge a brother’s circumstances and decisions appropriately, but unless you’ve taken that plank out of your eye…yeah. You know recently, I kind of got hurt but convicted at the same time when I joyfully reported to a sister about how happy I was for a common friend we have who came to my small group for discipleship. You know what her response was? “Tell her she needs to stop going out and drinking.” 

True. I mean, yeah, true. We all should probably stay away from the night scene and booze too, but you’ll never know a person’s struggles until you walk a day in their shoes. Maybe you’ve been delivered from a certain kind of lifestyle and no longer see desire in it but some friends are still fighting their way out. It’s not to justify it but the best we can do is pray for them to fully surrender their bondages and be there for them. We can’t dictate what they should and should not do. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in gentle correction and calling things out kindly, but anything said without love is just a waste of breath, and it really makes you look judge-y.

4.Stop debating over being a Calvinist or an Arminian.

calvinist joke

I got a joke. An athlete, a vegan, and a Calvinist walked into a room. Guess how I know? They told me in the first five minutes.

Now for some reading this, if you don’t quite understand these terms, these are schools of thought within theology that yeah, I think you should be aware of, but no, I don’t think you should stress over. It just came to my attention that it’s frequently debated about and I noticed how big of a deal it was to certain groups. Like an almost, I’m right, you’re wrong, life or death situation. 

A lot of the times, we get so focused on our love of theology that we don’t see it’s drawing us away from our love for God. And that’s sad. And honestly, it causes a lot of division in the church. My prayer for my fellow Christians is to always be gospel-forward. And I really do encourage you to study the WHATS, but not so much that you forget the  WHO.

Last.

calvinist joke 2

5. Stop saying your church is better or “right”

my church is better

“Man, that church that speaks in tongues, they’re just…weird.”

“Man, that church is really strict about a lot of things, I feel like I’m going to a seminary.”

We can all learn a thing or two from each other, right? Wherever God has led you to attend and possibly serve, I strongly believe that’s where he’s planted you and that’s where he intends for you to grow. So many churches nowadays compete for the bigger congregation, the cooler worship, the better series, the more “correct” doctrine. If you’ve been attending and serving for a while, you probably know this and have made your choice as to where you fit in. If not, I suggest you church hop. You will see a lot of similarities, but you will also see a huge amount of differences. And guess what? I really don’t know that there’s a right or wrong, except for the maybe extreme. So go where God tells you, and for those of us Christians who are already planted, please stop selling your church like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. 

6. To the girls, stop tripping out over being a Proverbs 31 woman. 

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Oh man, I’m going to say it, I’m going to say it…here it goes: You’re not a servant. You weren’t simply created  to do a man’s bidding. Your essence isn’t only to birth kids and take care of the household. You are some of this, sure, as gender roles go, but you are so much more. I am so burdened by sisters who just want to give up their dreams so they can find a good, Christian husband and iron his shirts and make him dinner. Praise God for your heart of service, but by golly, if you have a vocal gift and powerful calling, please stop being brainwashed by this idea that you can’t teach, that you can’t lead, that you can’t have a platform to advance His kingdom. And if you truly think marriage is going to keep you from fulfilling that, revel in blessed singleness.

The right man will also support you and God will make you ready for those things in his time. A Proverbs 31 woman is strong, honey. Let’s remember too, that this is a book of wisdom…and it’s just not realistic to do all she does in one day. She’s a representative of many women in different callings and of different seasons. 

6 1/2. Stop looking for Boaz

You know who’s better than God’s best? 

God. 

7.  Stop being a Facebook Christian.

Facebook Christian

 There is such a beautiful thing as zeal…then there’s being overly zealous and misplaced. I see this primarily, in those new to the faith. It’s awesome dude, really, but sometimes I cringe and want to throw out a lasso. A Facebook Christian just HAS to make a “Christian” comment on everything, HAS to make sure you just read his latest devotion, HAS to show you all the Hillsong she listens to…and again, these are great things but they’re not necessary all the time. Facebook, IG, Twitter are useful platforms in sharing the gospel but they can also be very misconstrued by others. We can’t just put Christ out there for face value, and expect people to get it. It goes so much deeper than that. If social media is the only way of of expressing your faith, there’s something wrong, my friend. Silence, is a beautiful way to respond. There’s wisdom in it, too. But your walk doesn’t match your talk, this is going to sound harsh, you’re insulting God. Plain and simple.

 

I know that was a pretty heavy load to drop but writing this is just in the hopes that we as Christians can learn to be a little, less annoying. Legalism, spiritual pride, unloving knowledge can get really, really ugly. And I pray we always come to our knees first before presenting ourselves to the world. Grace and peace, brothers and sisters in Christ.