Our faith, however, is not based on hollow rituals or oppressive rules. It’s based on an encounter with the person of Jesus, who changes everything. Our relationship with Christ connects us with the origin of our life and the meaning of where we are going. He desires us not to be weighed down but rather to live life to its fullest potential (John 10:10).
When He calls us to live a holy life, it’s because he knows what we are capable of and is drawing our potential out of us like any good sports coach does.
So here we are. Lent 2013. Another 40 days of no caffeine, cookies, soda, candy, the snooze button, Facebook/Twitter, gossip, video games, complaining, showing up late, secular music, texting, TV, or homework (just kidding . . . don’t try it, it doesn’t work).
There could be a lot of different motivations behind those sacrifices – like a desire to lose weight, or to get attention . . . but that’s not exactly what Lent is about.
All you have to do is listen to a lot of popular music to hear about marijuana. All you you have to do is watch TV or movies to see marijuana. And just attend a concert if you want to stand around inhaling it secondhand. It’s everywhere. Marijuana is even legal in a couple states and even where it’s not – I know you still see it. It’s a topic that always seems to spark a ton of debate. Is it a sin? Can it be used in moderation, etc? I want to take a step back from the legality Read more [...]
It takes you from the powerful, inspiring, and awesome person that you are to a mere object of lust. You are already beautiful and deserve better than that. When you show cleavage and your legs with mini costumes, it is those parts of your body that are emphasized (by design). It sends the message that the most valuable thing about you is the body parts you’re putting on display.
As a result, “loving your neighbor” has become more of a general accepting of someone for everything they choose to be and do. This idea is summed up as the great “virtue” of tolerance. On the surface, it seems like a great and honorable ideal. Everyone can do what they want without being judged and nobody hurts anyone else’s feelings.
Yet we find something radically different in the biblical vision of love. In the gospel of John, Jesus says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Be yourself. So many people think that holiness is unattainable, and that to pray we need to look like a statue of St. Francis with our hands folded piously. The reality is that we were created to be in communion with God, and He desires to be in a relationship with us. He doesn’t want you to be a carbon copy of a past saint. He created you with your own gifts and passions, and wants to shine through you uniquely in them. Come to him as you are and let Him transform you into the saint He wants you to be!
In Matthew 5:28, Jesus says that, “Anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
When Jesus said this, it was completely radical, because he revealed that lust (something that happens inside your heart) is a sin just as much as an external action. What we think with our minds and desire in our hearts is a big deal.
In high school, I played football and ran for track and field. As a young man just coming into my faith, it was tough to see and hear the guys talk about women in a way that was so degrading. It forced me to question what the truth was. I was learning about God and His plan for us, but what the other guys were saying was completely contradictory to what God was saying.
I got to a point where I looked at what society was telling me would make me happy regarding women: sex, popularity and partying; and I asked myself, “Is that it? Is this as good as it gets in life?”
There was something inside me that wasn’t satisfied with that. There was a burning in my heart for so much more. I knew that God had greater plans.