I think there is something particularly tough about talking to old friends about Jesus.
It is difficult to talk about God to someone who has known you for a long time. To talk about something that is so personal, so important but so profound and radical, so… different.
I have a few very close friends that I have known for the majority of my 44 years. They are, I think, agnostic or atheist to varying degrees. I say, “I think”, because I do not really know where they stand beneath the surface. It is to my shame that I rarely, if ever, attempt to speak to them about Jesus or about my faith. It is too hard – too awkward and dangerous. Continue reading
I have a couple of pieces on the go at the moment and I am happy with neither of them: hence the long gap since my last post. This, then, is a bit of a ramble – but then that’s sort of the point, isn’t it…?
I want to be better than I am. I want to be generous, brave, wise, loving, gentle and patient. I want to be fun, happy, honest, caring and strong. I want to be fit, energetic, kind, compassionate and sociable. Oh, and I want to be holy, too.
I have said before that I am cursed with a perfectionist streak and that this, when combined with my chronic idleness, is one of the chief reasons I get cross. This is glib, yes, but it is generally true and it often surfaces.
We moved on to temptation in our look at James last Sunday in church. My failure to resist temptation is a frequent cause for crossness, so this is a topic which is close to my heart!
I have always found temptation to be both clichéd and predictable and this makes it so much more galling when I succumb. To be frank, the temptations that catch me out are seldom novel or original.
However, we are all tempted, even Jesus was tempted, and the temptations we face range from the small and seemingly trivial to the monstrous, from the white lie to the serious crime.
We had a good sermon at church last Sunday. It seemed that our vicar thought otherwise and my heart went out to her because of this. She preached on James 1 1-12 and she talked about perseverance, trials, humility and expectation.
She was humble and sincere and she opened up about her pre-sermon crises of confidence.
There was one thing she said that struck a particular chord with me and that was concerning our necessary reliance on God and how, as Christians we sometimes need to humble ourselves completely to let God take control.
I disappoint myself a lot and always have: I continually set expectations for myself only to fail to meet them. This makes me cross.
I have always envied those who appear to have bags of energy and an iron self-discipline. I seem to have zeroes in both of these attributes. When I was at school and college I performed magnitudes better when external discipline was high, often falling to pieces when left to my own devices (A-level Maths being a particularly striking example). Similarly, I have always performed best in team sports where I can rely on others to help set the pace and provide persistent focus and motivation. In the workplace, I have learnt to harness deadlines in order to drive myself, but even now I often rely on last-minute efforts to deliver.