The relationship issues that get in the way of following Christ

Still quite busy with RL work which is why I haven’t been posting much.

Snapper has touched on a couple posts recently such as Belief versus Scripture.

A while back, when I was going through the issues with my pastor, I had a conversation with my daughter about her, my youngest son and myself doing an at home bible study, to which she informed me she didn’t want to take part in because she “didn’t believe what I believed about the bible”. Now, the more and more I think about this the more and more irritated I become. I think some Christians need to make a determination about what people “believe” and what the bible actually says.

Case in point: The bible says Jesus is the son of God. If you are a Christian there is no “what you believe” or “what I believe” about the statement. If you believe the bible, then you believe this to be true. You cannot say to another Christian, “Yeah, well, I don’t really believe that way”, unless by that statement you mean, “I am not a Christian and I don’t believe in the bible”.

[…]

I mean, the only other explanation is that a person simply wants to have the appearance of being an obedient follower of Christ, but in reality has no interest in being obedient. By doing this they give themselves the appearance of being so, but also give themselves an escape route, just in case.

Don’t be that kind of Christian. Though it may fool those around you, your ruse is not very effective on the one who can see the heart, and knows your every thought. When a verse is clear, it would be wise to take its meaning as such.

Lots of things “get in the way” of the Truth. In fact, the Bible is quite clear of many such things that get in the way. Pride is usually the main one, but it can be other temptations like the other deadly sins of Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth, and Greed. Some others are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but we are warned about that too.

In general, even those who are trying to be followers of Christ tend to slip up because we cling to our past more than the hope of Christ for the future. What I mean by this is that we tend to be shaped by our past experiences.

For example, a child that grew up with his father absent may often feel like God the Father is not there for him. His experience(s) shape the way he views God, rather than the other way around. Another example of this is a mother who is abusive to her children. Children coming to our heavenly father may get stuck in the mindset of being unworthy of forgiveness, feel that it’s right that authority is abusive, and so on.

Both past experiences and the feelings associated with them tend to shape our thinking and beliefs rather than the other way around. This should not be a surprise, and biologically it makes sense. When we are placed in stressful situations, we often have very strong feelings associated with it, and that is how the strongest memories in our brains are formed. This is precisely why we tend to remember hurts rather than joys and evil rather than good.

In Snapper’s example of his daughter, the problem is that his daughter had certain behavior modeled to her for a long time. This includes the unsubmissive and unrepentant attitudes and actions of his wife. It really should not be a surprise that she is going to feel a certain way and react to a changing situation negatively, as she had viewed the previous situation as normal. This type of thing is a huge problem.

The longer the past experiences have gone on, the harder it is to change the acquired momentum the impression of past experiences on a relationship.

This is generally why if you’re in a ‘newer dating relationship,’ and things go south and stay south it’s generally better to move on rather than try to fix things. Relationship dynamics, especially Biblical Christian principles, that are already screwed up are tough to fix and in many cases not worth it. Of course, this is not possible with all relationships, especially marriage.

Change, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can right the ship. Or maybe it will never right the ship. But we change to be Christ followers not because we have the answers, but because we honor the One who has saved us.

Realistically, through the power of the Holy Spirit, all Christians have to consistently model Christ-like behavior until it becomes the new normal for those around us. Change is a funny thing, and people always think that those who are being “good” are doing it because they want something from you or are trying to manipulate you. The only thing that can dispel that notion is Christ working through us consistently, over short or long periods of time.

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4 Responses to The relationship issues that get in the way of following Christ

  1. SnapperTrx says:

    The post being a bit of a rant, I should have clarified that every Christian has growing to do, and that the post was mostly directed toward my interaction with seemingly more mature Christians who still have trouble seeing clear and direct scripture as meaning what it says. However, I am glad you pointed out the emotional aspect.

  2. Chevalierdejohnstone says:

    It’s almost as if, since the Word of God which is the Bible contains one and only one complete and universal truth, the Word of God who is Jesus would have, perhaps, created an Apostolic and authoritative Church to teach this truth.
    You know?
    But nah. Surely each of you who believes the Holy Spirit reveals personally to you how to interpret divine prophecy, surely You are correct, each of you. But not all of you because there’s only one truth, so you can’t disagree and all be correct.
    But we all know that no matter what, surely the Church which compiled the Bible and traces an unbroken line of apostolic succession back to Pentecost – surely that’s not right!
    Because reasons?

  3. Neguy says:

    In my experience, we access the power of the Holy Spirit for change through two things 1) faith in Christ (see John Owen’s theory of change in Mortification of Sin) and 2) Biblically ordained means of grace: the sacraments, fasting, and especially prayer. For example, 1 John 5:16 puts it:

    If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.

    We also see Christ praying that Peter’s faith should not fail after denying Him three times, and many other examples.

  4. Ame says:

    “Change is a funny thing, and people always think that those who are being “good” are doing it because they want something from you or are trying to manipulate you.”

    – – –

    wow … i have experienced that. my first husband thought everything i did was to manipulate him. it got to where i was over-questioning everything i did, myself, because i did not want to manipulate him.

    ________

    it is certainly wise to consider one’s history of modeled behavior as well as personal behavior when choosing a spouse. often what one grew up with becomes their default unless intentional changes are made to correct/alter that behavior.

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