Get Real…Love

I have a confession to make.  I haven’t told anyone else this, so I hope you’ll keep this between you and me.  Well, here it is:   I’m an addict.

It’s true.  Those who know me would hardly have guessed it.  Those who really know me probably already know.  I keep my addiction secret so that no one will know.  After all, I have to put up a front to be well liked and respected, right?  Well, Scripture talks about boasting about your weaknesses and living in the light.  So, I confess my addiction to you now.  The truth is, I’m addicted to myself.  “Oh, is that all?” you might say.  “At least you’re not addicted to alcohol, drugs, or pornography or things like that.”  Well, truthfully, this is a pretty big thing, even bigger than those other substances or activities.  And why is that?  Because all other addictions stem from the addiction to self.  Scripture talks about this as “love of self.”   Where there is love of self, you will lose.

If we are to be honest with ourselves, all of us love ourselves.  We eat what we want, we’ll try not to do things we don’t want to do and do things we want to do.  We think of ourselves constantly.  Even those who are depressed and “hate themselves” spend so much time thinking about themselves, how they have failed or what others have said and done to them, that their time thinking about themselves demonstrate that they actually love themselves!  This love for ourselves is rooted in our sinful nature that we had inherited from our parents…and their parents, etc… all the way back to Adam and Eve.

God, who is Love, knew of this self-directed love, and throughout Scriptures He tries to redirect our love towards God and others.  Why is this?  Because when our love is turned  inward, we end up being miserable and we lose. However, when we, who are created by Love, choose to follow our purpose to love (loving God & neighbor), we end up being more satisfied in life…and more satisfied in Him.

Jesus said that if you save your life (self-love), you will lose it.  But if you give up your life (self-sacrifice for God and others), you will save it.  We cannot do this alone. It is only in the power of Christ and trusting in Him that we can go from self-love to real love (love for God and neighbor).   Take a look inside…Why do you do the things you do?  Is it for self?  or is it for God and others?  If it’s for God and others, you will not mind when others do not respond in kindness or are ungrateful.  If it’s for yourself, you will find disappointment and anger if you are not recognized or treated well after your kind word or deed.  So let’s get real with ourselves and our hearts…and choose to love, after all, it is the most excellent way (I Cor 13).

Get Real…Faith

Have you ever told someone or have someone tell you  to “get real” (or at least seen it in a movie)?  For some reason they think the other person is not being real or genuine…that maybe they are faking a response or action.  Or perhaps they are thinking that the other person is just old school or weird or something.  Well, whatever the case, the comment is made and it poses an immediate challenge one must ask themself:  “Am I being real?”

Someone who is real is genuine…they don’t put up a fake front, they don’t hide their faults (they don’t necessarily tell the world either, but at least they’ll readily admit it), and most importantly, they live out what they truly believe.  As Christians, I think we need to constantly “get real” with ourselves.  Are we truly living what we believe?  Are we living out our faith or does how we live our lives show that our faith is somewhere else?  Honestly, this is a question I ask myself frequently and on many occasions, don’t end up on the positive side of the answer.  I believe God is control…that He is trustworthy, faithful, and that He will work all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28), but yet I worry.  So am I being real in my faith and trusting in God, or am I trusting in myself?  I have an emotionally exhausting day and all I want to do is come home, find rest by watching TV, a movie or by playing the Wii…but am I living out my faith by going to Jesus who promises to give me rest (Mt 11:28)?  What about tithing, helping others, praying, devotions, relationships, etc.?   Am I living out my faith in God’s provision, His Spirit working in me, His daily sustenance or am I living out my faith in someone else – like myself?  I mention the above struggles not to get down on myself or to seek advice, but to take a brief, yet honest assessment of my faith in everyday action and would challenge you to do the same.  I’m afraid that I am not alone in believing one thing, but often living another…Can you relate?

You are what you eat, right?….Well, you live what you truly believe.  This is a scary thought, but at least when we take an honest assessment, we are getting real with ourselves…even if it’s not what we want to see.  Then we know where we will need to align our faith with our actions and can move forward in our faith in Him.

I’ve heard it said that faith is like a muscle,  the more you exercise it, the more it strengthens…the more you do not exercise it, the more it atrophies.   James says that if we have faith (that is, believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, etc.) but do not have actions that follow our faith, then our faith is meaningless…it’s dead (Jam 2:14-26).  Since we are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8), we should prayerfully and fervently ask ourselves if our everyday actions follow our faith in God, or in ourselves (do it my way), others (spouse, boss), or other things (TV, alcohol, etc.).  So let’s do that. Let’s get real with ourselves and let’s get real with our faith.  And if you need help, send me an e-mail at fjacoby@foundchristcounsel.org.  Blessings!