As a Christian that loves Jesus I seek to allow God to influence my life so I can exercise a positive influence on my environment, and on those around. Having said that this doesn’t mean one has to be perfect, or meet others perfect idea or expectations. Some people have a cartoonish idea of being Christian. I make mistakes, have problems and shortcomings. Its easy to let ones spirit become stifled trying to be ‘good’. I don’t want to fall into that mental trap, its not fun; it is someone else’s idea, and acting from someone else’s compulsion is not how it works. We need to work out our expression of faith with confidence from within, so it is true from our spirit and its connection to God. Being a hospice chaplain I deal with this all the time. When people know you are a pastor or a Christian, like with a lot of things, they project things on you based on their idea of it. I had a woman the other day, after I said a prayer with a patient, take my hand, called me father, and kissed my hand – that was a shock! (She was Catholic).
As an intern in the hospital, on the second day I started, I was asked to go see a woman who had just learned she had stage 4 cancer, and was given a terminal diagnosis. I was terrified; how could I help, and what do I say? It occurred to me to go into the quite room at the hospital and pray to the Holy spirit to proceed me and help me be present to the woman. This helped me tremendously with my anxiety and it worked out well on the visit. The Holy spirit is simply the presence of the Lord. The relationship between us and Him is reciprocal. When we love the Lord, have some understanding of what He has done, and acknowledge that He is divine, it makes room for His presence to be with us. (At the same time, what happens with this is that we actively discern and reject evil inclinations in our self as we grow and see them. This is always part of it because to the degree we entertain evil He cannot enter us). Love for the Lord and our fellow man elevates our perception – Why? Because contained in love is all the wisdom to manifest the end purpose of that love. This takes time and intense desire because there are many things that will interfere with it. This doesn’t just apply of course to religious things but to any useful activity that has a good out-come in any field. The other reason we acknowledge God in our actions is that HE IS the source of Good, and we ARE NOT the source of Good. What comes from our mere self, and our body, has inclinations toward evil from head to toe; these need to be subordinated to our spirit and soul, which inn turn need to be tethered to God. Every time Jesus healed someone He said, “you are healed according to your faith”. This is because our relationship with Him is reciprocal. He could only heal those who had something within them that acknowledged the divine in Him. We can only approach the divine in humility; that is our stance with him, which is devotion and the most powerful thing we can do. The most Christ-like thing we can do is to lay down our life for another. This doesn’t only mean to jump on a hand-granade for our companions, but means to learn to subordinate our natural self to our spiritual self, like a good soldier subordinates himself to God, Country and neighbor, and to the degree he does is given great strength and ingenuity.