So I contemplated today whether or not I'd be taking my new commitment of blog-writing into the weekends or if it would be my down time. Sunday's are especially chaotic seeing as I'm never sure what's going to happen, yet I usually end up busy all day for various reasons. So I've decided that I'll dedicate Sunday's, whenever possible, to writing about church and their message this week. As with most people who attend Sunday services, I hardly think about the message once I've exited the building, so this will be me a good chance to contemplate what has been said and to give my own thoughts on the subject, and since it is Sunday, I can take it pretty easy seeing as this won't require me to give it much thought at all.
To start off let me just introduce you to my church. Gateway is in Austin, TX. I moved here in October of 2009 and have been attending since the following November. While the main campus is situated at the north end of Austin, I attend the south campus which currently meets at a middle school and is headed by Bruce Gilson. Our messages are usually streamed onto a screen on stage, which isn't the most personal touch, but it works well for them for now. I've heard the story of Gateway a good amount of times, but that's for another time and I really don't care about mentioning it here. If you want to know more about Gateway then please visit the site. It's a great church and I think you might like it. Their motto: "Come as you are, but don't stay that way."
Today's message started off a three week series (as these things usually do) called Momentum. This name holds significant interest to me considering that is the name I've given to my own videos; whenever I can post them. John Burke, the lead pastor, started us off. The idea behind this series is that there are many things holding us back from obtaining the life that God has intended for us. These are the "chains that bind us" and usually come from within. The purpose of this series is to attempt to break those chains so that we can keep moving forward freely.
The first part was all about identifying "What keeps us stuck?" Overall John has determined that it is our failure to admit that we even have a problem that keeps us from moving forward. We all have vices, whether it's that we are quick to anger, our addictions, or we're workaholics (his own example) and they prevent us from gaining what God has in store for us. We are hurting ourselves. We are blind to these things, sometimes believing it is those around us who have the problem, when it's really us who cannot see it.
It's pride that blinds us, and we've got to admit we have a problem and that we're powerless on our own to get through it.
Why is it hard to admit?
- Fear of losing control: We've dethroned God by taking control. Trying to cover our mistakes and only making it worse. We want to assume we know what we're doing, but we can't see that we can't do this alone.
- Fear of Abandonment: We wear masks around others because we're afraid that if the people who are closest to us "only knew the truth" then they'd leave us and we'd be isolated. We fail to get the support we need or to be connected, and because we don't want to be alone we don't admit to having a problem.
- Fear of Loss: Our problems tend to be our own way to cope. We're used to it and we get a certain pleasure out of it, but it's making us miss out on a life that God wants us to have yet we don't realize it. Unfortunately, we have to lose this coping mechanism in order to gain what God intended.
For this first part of the series we were challenged to identify the area that we are (individually) powerless to change. Then we are supposed to tell someone close to us.
I'm be honest. The first thing I noticed while recapping this message is that I take horrible notes.
John gave the sermon with much more understanding, I promise, but if you need proof then feel free to check it out on the website. They post them online.
The second thing is that it's not hard for me to find my vices, chains, what-have-you. I plan on telling someone else about these later, in more personal detail, but since I'm pretty open on this blog (that no one reads) and I'll eventually want this to be a community (wouldn't that be something) then I have no problem stating them here.
If I could only identify one then it would be simple: Lust.
Hey I'm a male and I can admit to that. I have had my fair share of lustful experiences in my life, nothing too out of the ordinary, but it is something that has kept me from moving forward. The problem is that my lust also gets me into some pretty dedicated relationships with girls. Not that there's much wrong with that, but I've noticed that I'm unproductive, neglectful, and I fall because it's easier for me to go after my own satisfactions. My last relationship left me broken and isolated, and I never want to end up like that again.
The lust I'm referring to is more of a want than purely a sexual attraction.
I want something badly enough, and I miss out on a lot of things because of it.
My goal is not to get rid of this lust, but to turn it into Love that Jesus spoke about; because I know that this lust is also the common denominator in a lot of the other problems that are holding me back. I'm selfish. Sometimes I'm unaccepting or intolerant. I've gotten angry and confused pretty easily and it happens because I've lost focus of the things that matter. I speak without listening because I've neglected my own relationship with God by putting my attention on someone else. Finances drop. School work becomes secondary. Friendships are broken. All of these things, among others, I believe are attributed back to my problem with Lust or Want.
I know that is the problem because, like John pointed out, I'm afraid. I'm afraid of losing control. I'm afraid of being isolated. I'm afraid of losing the only things that gives me enjoyment.
I can admit to my fear of getting rid of lust, and that's why I know it's a problem.
As we go through the next two weeks, I hope that I can further identify the issues that are holding me back, focusing on this one, and attempt to be rid of it (or on the path to riddance) by the time we're done. Until then, maybe there's something you need to identify in your life that's holding you back from what God has intended for your life. Maybe you're not the person you're supposed to be, the person you could be, because you can't seem to get rid of these specific vices. I encourage you to identify something as well. Talk to those closest to you and see if they can point it out to you if you can't, or ask God if he can reveal it.
Share it here or tell someone else, and perhaps we can work on getting rid of these things together.
Mattias is an actor, writer, filmmaker, and editor currently living in Los Angeles, CA. He often writes about his observations about life, the human condition, spirituality, and relationships. He also enjoys writing about movies, pop culture, formula one, and current events. Often these writings are 'initial thoughts' and un-edited, as authentic as possible, and should be considered opinions. If you're interested in commenting on his work, or continuing the conversation, you should consider following him on Twitter or share an article on social media, where he would love to engage even further. Consider subscribing via RSS for more.