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5/08/2017 11:46 am  #31


Re: Relationship with God

nojoum wrote:

Jason wrote:

I think as a Christian, one of the first things that I had to realize is that my life is not about me or what I wanted but really about what God wanted to do in my life through me. If the pain of not being able to love God back is greater than His love and forgiveness for you then I think you really have missed the point. As Christians we believe, God is all Powerful, all Loving, Wise and a Holy God so we are asked to align with His Loving Will freely rather than on what we want. This is because He has something for us, far better not only in this life (or the life to come) than what we could ever conceive of, and that is why we are asked to carry our cross (suffering and pain) just like Christ did on the cross.

I don't know how to clearly explain my problem. I am aware of the Christian's notion of taking up one's cross which basically means to give up your desires (the difficult part) and to follow God.

I do not think that carrying your cross is giving up your desires, it is related to going through pain and suffering in your life willingly with a focus on Jesus. Desires are good if the will and the intellect direct them towards a good, and you should not give them up e.g. you could desire your wife in a loving way or you could desire food to fulfil your appetite but if the will and intellect direct your desire to be abusive to your wife or to gluttony then that is bad.

 

nojoum wrote:

[
The problem is for me is that I have been trying to do that for 3 4 years or more and I see no progress. Our actions are testimony to our love for God and we are expected to bear fruit. So then If I cannot produce anything, what is the point in trying to follow God? There is no light at the end of this tunnel. So I gave up on mourning on the fact that I cannot follow God and just forgot the whole thing.

 
I would gently suggest to not give up. You will find the light at the end of the tunnel and as a Christian I must say that you will find that light in your heart through the person of Jesus Christ. The truth is that God has shown us the way out of that tunnel but you must freely and truthfully choose to do so. Wishing you the very best in your journey.

 

5/08/2017 10:18 pm  #32


Re: Relationship with God

nojoum wrote:

Proclus wrote:

While I do believe in miracles and the power of ritual, my point was simply that building a relationship with God is best done in community along with others who are attempting the journey with you.  I only hope to encourage you not to give up the quest before giving it a try with the best community you can find (there are after all many bad ones).

Correct me if I am wrong, but is it not so that Christians only need Jesus Christ to have a relationship with God? If so, then what is the need to join a community? If it is needed to join a community what is the role of God in changing  man's heart? It seems as if God has no role.

Though one might be say that it is through Jesus Christ that one's sin is washed away and the possibility to approach God is given. However, when it comes to change of heart in practice, it is up to man to change and God has no influence. I'm wondering how is that the heart of pharisees and Jews was not changed by Jesus; Not even Judas. It is not clear for me how God helps. Does he give us the knowledge of Good, or also the willpower to do good? If yes why should I need a community then?

Proclus wrote:

Also, this brings up an important point relevant to your original question:  Why am I at all keen to press this point and encourage you not to give up?  Out of love for you.  Why?  Because I am convinced that the very best thing that could happen to you is to encounter God in a personal way.  If this is true, there is simply no loving someone without this dimension.  Everything else pales in comparison, so there is no way to understand how to love other people disconnected from the truth or falsehood of the claim that incredible blessedness or misery depends on one's relationship with God.

Thank you for your effort and kindness. I appreciate it. It is a pity that good intentions alone do not amount to much.

 

As we see in the New Testament, the community is the body of Christ, so that we cannot draw a sharp contrast between knowing God through Jesus and knowing God through his community.  Jesus loves me as my pastor loves me.  Jesus loves me in and through my brother in the pew next to me.  All along, God created us to be communal, relational beings and so the normal path to knowing God is through participation in community life.  That is not to say that a relationship with God is not possible when one is locked in solitary confinement, but just because something is possible does not mean that it is desirable or wise.
 

 

5/11/2017 3:46 pm  #33


Re: Relationship with God

Jason wrote:

I do not think that carrying your cross is giving up your desires, it is related to going through pain and suffering in your life willingly with a focus on Jesus. Desires are good if the will and the intellect direct them towards a good, and you should not give them up e.g. you could desire your wife in a loving way or you could desire food to fulfil your appetite but if the will and intellect direct your desire to be abusive to your wife or to gluttony then that is bad.

Sorry for the late reply, Have been quite busy with university.
Yes I agree with your opinion.
It is a just result of not defining words before expressing our opinions.

 

Jason wrote:

I would gently suggest to not give up. You will find the light at the end of the tunnel and as a Christian I must say that you will find that light in your heart through the person of Jesus Christ. The truth is that God has shown us the way out of that tunnel but you must freely and truthfully choose to do so. Wishing you the very best in your journey.

Thanks Jason. I will strive not to give up.
 

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5/11/2017 3:49 pm  #34


Re: Relationship with God

Proclus wrote:

As we see in the New Testament, the community is the body of Christ, so that we cannot draw a sharp contrast between knowing God through Jesus and knowing God through his community. 
 

Sorry for the late reply.
This seems very mystical and incomprehensible. Could you please clarify what it means that the community is the body of Christ and how we can know God through his community?

Last edited by nojoum (5/11/2017 3:49 pm)

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5/13/2017 4:30 pm  #35


Re: Relationship with God

nojoum wrote:

Proclus wrote:

As we see in the New Testament, the community is the body of Christ, so that we cannot draw a sharp contrast between knowing God through Jesus and knowing God through his community. 
 

Sorry for the late reply.
This seems very mystical and incomprehensible. Could you please clarify what it means that the community is the body of Christ and how we can know God through his community?

We could get into a deep discussion here, but I think the simple idea that is necessary for our conversation is just that one does not need to see participation in a community and the work of Christ as two mutually exclusive things.  One of the ways that Christ operates in someone's life is through the community that he himself founded and gave instructions to.

At a more mystical level, we believe that Christ actively lives in each of his disciples and in their collective life together.  This means that we cannot completely separate the activity of Christ from the activity of his disciples, individually or collectively.  For example, when my fellow Christian prays for me at church, Christ himself is involved in this.  In some sense, Christ himself prays for me as that Christian prays.

Furthermore, when God extends grace to us, we do not have the luxury of dictating to him the forms of grace we think we would like.  If we reject one form of grace that he extends to us, he may kindly extend grace in another way later---that is his prerogative.  But he may also insist on us coming and receiving grace in the mode that it is offered, and if we reject this we may be out of luck.  When Christ, therefore, comes to us in the activity and life of his community, rejecting that offer may be a rejection of something we need and cannot get in another form.

 

5/20/2017 9:41 am  #36


Re: Relationship with God

Proclus wrote:

We could get into a deep discussion here, but I think the simple idea that is necessary for our conversation is just that one does not need to see participation in a community and the work of Christ as two mutually exclusive things.  One of the ways that Christ operates in someone's life is through the community that he himself founded and gave instructions to.

At a more mystical level, we believe that Christ actively lives in each of his disciples and in their collective life together.  This means that we cannot completely separate the activity of Christ from the activity of his disciples, individually or collectively.  For example, when my fellow Christian prays for me at church, Christ himself is involved in this.  In some sense, Christ himself prays for me as that Christian prays.

Furthermore, when God extends grace to us, we do not have the luxury of dictating to him the forms of grace we think we would like.  If we reject one form of grace that he extends to us, he may kindly extend grace in another way later---that is his prerogative.  But he may also insist on us coming and receiving grace in the mode that it is offered, and if we reject this we may be out of luck.  When Christ, therefore, comes to us in the activity and life of his community, rejecting that offer may be a rejection of something we need and cannot get in another form.

Thank you for the clarification.

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