Follow in the Small Things

Lately I have come to a point in my life where I must make some very serious decisions, decisions that could affect my entire life. I am coming to a crossroads where there are many paths to take. The only question is which path is the right one?

From a young age I’ve known, vaguely, what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted (and still want) to follow God and do what He would have me do. I just haven’t known exactly what that is. Does he want me to be a writer, or a director, or a teacher, or what? I still don’t know. It has been a source of anxiety and frustration for me all my life. Where am I to go? There are many ways that seem good to me; which one is the road that God wants me to follow? Why doesn’t he just tell me? Why don’t I feel led? And then, the horror that comes with that thought: perhaps God has been leading me and I have been too indecisive and afraid to notice! What a terrifying thought, to think that I may have “missed the boat” on God’s plan for my life. A silly fear, after a moment’s reflection. God is patient, and he speaks clearly when we listen. I have been trying to listen. Still I can’t shake the fear entirely.

Thus has been my thoughts of late, when two very normal things happened. The first is that at my internship (which is in the media department of my church) I was asked to make a small edit to the footage of the church Christmas play. Now I was out of town at that time so I didn’t see the play. As it turns out my boss had been given information that was slightly off about where the edit actually needed to occur, and as a result I ended up skimming through the whole play (multiple times) looking for a scene that didn’t exist. In this way I got the general effect of watching the play. Without going into too much detail Jesus is a character in the play and greatly inconveniences a few Christians by being himself. It was a great play, but there was a few lines in particular that stuck with me. The Jesus character kept telling people to follow Him wherever he led; but when one character asked where he was going He simply said “Follow me and you’ll find out.” This frustrated me a little. I want to follow! Tell me where to go! How can I follow if I don’t know where you’re going!

The second thing that happened was that I read a book. Or rather reread a book. I was flipping through God in the Dock, which is a collection of essays and interviews by C.S. Lewis. I was reading bits at random when I came across the transcript of a public question and answer session that Lewis had held. I’ll reproduce the relevent bit here.

“Question: Will you please say how you would define a practising Christian? Are there any other varieties?

C.S. Lewis: Certainly there are a great many other varieties. It depends, of course, on what you mean by ‘practising Christian’. If you mean one who has practised Christianity in every respect at every moment of his life, then there is only One on record — Christ Himself. In that sense there are no practising Christians, but only Christians who, in varying degrees, try to practice it and fail in varying degrees and then start again. A perfect practice of Christianity would, of course, consist in a perfect imitation of the life of Christ. I mean, in so far as it was applicable in one’s own particular circumstances. Not in an idiotic sense it doesn’t mean that every Christian should grow a beard, or be a bachelor, or become a travelling preacher. It means that every single act and feeling, every experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant, must be referred to God. It means looking at everything as something that comes from Him, and always looking to Him and asking His will first, and saying: ‘How would He wish me to deal with this?’”

I thought that bit was interesting, but soon put it out of my mind and went on with my business.

Later that night I was alone in my apartment watching TV before going to bed. I was flipping around when I came across a show that I knew was a) very funny and b) often raunchy, mean-spirited, violent, and even blasphemous. I, as is sadly too often usual for me when channel surfing, ignored part b and focused on part a. I started watching and was just through the theme song when suddenly the interview popped into my head.

“It means looking at everything as something that comes from Him, and always looking to Him and asking His will first, and saying: ‘How would He wish me to deal with this?”

For the first time in far too long I thought to myself “Would Jesus watch this show? Would He want me to watch it?” The answer was pretty obvious: no. The show’s entertainment value in no way made up for the garbage I’d be putting in my mind and heart, as well as the fact that it often insulted my Lord and Savior. It would be foolish and dishonorable for me to watch it. So I changed the channel until a came across a reality show on the sci-fi channel about monster makeup artists and watched that instead. It was then that I realized something. I had been begging God for weeks to give me guidance about the big things in my life, but I hadn’t stopped for a second to think about his guidance for the small things in my life. With the big things it was not immediately apparent which choice was best; but in the small things it’s often very obvious what choice is best if I would only stop to think about it. But I wasn’t bothering to think, I was just doing whatever I felt like doing. It wasn’t just about TV shows; in my interactions with people, my writing habits, and how I spent my free time I wasn’t seeking God’s will. Why should God advise me in the big things when I ignore his advice in the little things?

If you’re feeling lost when it comes to the serious choices of your life, check to see if you’re doing well with the choices that don’t seem so dire. Life is made up of our little daily choices: in the end God may care more about how you treat your coworkers than which field of work you decide to go into.

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About Mark Hamilton

I am, in no particular order, a nerd, an aspiring writer, a Christian, an aspiring filmmaker, an avid reader, a male, a YEC, a GM, and a twenty something. I like learning how things are made, finding out how to do things from scratch, and I you can find more of my writing at thepagenebula.wordpress.com

Posted on February 28, 2013, in Christianity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. great post. and maybe there isn’t just one path, whatever you end up doing it can be done for God & maybe God cares about the little things we do along the way just as much as the end goal 🙂

  2. Hi, I am from Australia.
    Strangely enough, but quite obvious when it is pointed out, Saint Jesus of Galilee was never in any sense a Christian, he was always and only a Jew. Nor did he create one smidgen of an iota of the religion about him, all of which was created by others after his unfortunate brutal death.
    Please check out these references.
    http://www.dabase.org/up-5-1.htm
    http://www.aboutadidam.org/articles/secret_identity
    http://global.adidam.org/truth-book/true-spiritual-practice-4.html
    Plus some challenging philosophy etc
    http://www.adidam.org/teaching/aletheon
    http://www.beezone.com/whiteandorangeproject/index.html
    http://www.beezone.com/news.html
    http://www.dabase.org/Reality_Itself_Is_Not_In_The_Middle.htm
    http://spiralledlight.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/4068

  3. Thank you for your input. You’ve got a lot of links there, so it will take me a while to get through them. I’ll comment again with my thoughts!

  4. I have read your links, and I have to say that while I am happy that you commented I am not very impressed by the claims made by Adi Da Samraj, at least as far as they have to do with Christianity. I cannot say much about what he has to say on other subjects, but he seems to be remarkably lacking in scholarship about early Christianity, and he even seems to makes statements that are directly contradictory.

    For example, in your first link he claims that “Apart from the words about Jesus of Galilee that appear in the “New Testament”, there is virtually no evidence for Jesus’ existence.” This is completely untrue. We have records of Jesus’ existence from historical sources such as the first century historian Flavius Josephus and Roman historian and senator Tacitus. What’s more almost no credible historian today believes that Jesus did not exist. Historian Bart Ehrman (who is not a Christian) said in his book “Forged: Writing in the Name of God” that “He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees.” Classicist Michael Grant wrote in “Jesus: A Historian’s Review of the Gospels” that “In recent years, ‘no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non-historicity of Jesus’ or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.” I can find more quotes, if necessary. Adi Da Samraj doesn’t cite any sources himself for his own statement to the contrary.

    That’s a problem I often found while reading his work. He does not cite sources or give evidence for the very bold statements that he makes. He says that “All the stories in the Gospels about Jesus’ early life before he began to preach are myths” without giving any evidence to back up that assertion. He says “While the Gospels are full of mostly fabricated details about Jesus’ lifetime, there is, also, no evidence that the writers have actually quoted (rather than invented) what Jesus said when he was alive.” Again, he give no evidence of his own to back up this statement. He does not even try to make an argument about why the disciples would have lied about such things.

    Finally he says that “The Gospels are a literature of religious propaganda—a form of religious fiction, made to convince people to join a particular institutional religious movement.” This, being opinion, is all well and good: but it directly contradicts things he says in another place. In the second link you sent me he writes that Christianity started out as a small group that contained spiritual wisdom, but all that wisdom was lost after Constantine institutionalized the religion three centuries later. But how could the Gospels be “literature of religious propaganda” to “convince people to join a particular institutional religious movement” when they were written at least two hundred years before Constantine made it an institution? In the same place he writes that in the Gospels “we may find aspects of the esoteric (or “inner circle”) Teaching described in certain texts of the New Testament, particularly the gospel and the letters of John the Beloved. And it was only that “inner circle” Teaching and practice that represented the full Teaching of Jesus and his school.” So, essentially, he is saying in one place that the Gospels are nothing but purely fictional religious propaganda and that there is no evidence that any of Jesus’ teachings are contained within it (if he existed at all), and in another place he claims that the Gospel of John contains secret knowledge and the true teachings of Jesus.

    In general I find Adi’s writings to be contradictory, lacking in support, and outright mistaken on certain matters. After investigating him further I’ve found that he was not a historian of any type but instead was a guru born in Queens with the name Franklin Albert Jones. He claimed that he was the avatar of God and was born perfectly enlightened in all things. I cannot find evidence to back up this assertion either, and as such I’m afraid I’ll have to dismiss his criticisms of the historicity of the Gospels.

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