This is my personal statement of faith and belief. It is and will be a work in process. In the current version, it is in the form of a Q&A.
Who are you?
I belong to God, who created me to fulfill His purposes, and who loves me and calls me His own. The most important aspect of who I am is not that I love God, but that He loves me.
Do you always follow what you believe, act the way you say you should?
No, I sin in thought, word, and deed. I often fail to live up to what I should be like, but I believe that I am making progress.
What is sin?
Sin is ‘wrong doing’, or what I should have done that is right, but I didn’t. It was knowing what to do but failing to do it. It is sometimes unwittingly hurting others, or sometimes premeditated hurt. Sin usually hurts other people, and always hurts myself – often through outward consequences, and always inwardly by its corrosive effect on my mind, will, and emotions. When I think about how wrong my thinking, decision making, and emotions are at times, I can honestly say I could become just as evil and uncivil as anyone.
Is there a solution for sin?
Yes, I am so thankful that God, being infinite, being greater than I can fully understand, provided a way to be forgiven. It is through His Son who died for me. There is no arrogance in this statement, but rather complete humility, in the fact that I cannot do anything to merit or earn God’s favor or forgiveness. My wrongdoing and deceit prohibits me from any merit, but God, in His love and mercy, has provided a way to experience transformation. His method is totally His, not mine.
Isn’t this just too simple of a solution?
I am trusting that this is true. The Holy Scriptures focus on the coming of a Messiah, and the fulfillment of these promises. History is filled with individuals and groups who have lived lives in honor of these promises, who have also helped change the world.
Deciding to follow this solution also means being committed to a world view that transforms one’s whole being. My experiences have shown evidence that it is true. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He came to teach, to heal, to forgive, and to give his life to redeem us. By his resurrection he broke the power of sin and death so that we may experience a transformed purpose and the life he offers. Simply saying I believe is much too simple of a response to God. He has called me to a life of following His teaching, to constantly be devoted to making improvements in my life. These improvements are from the inside out. As I study, work with people, and interact with God in a personal faith relationship, I receive understanding of what my shortcomings are. I have daily strength to be obedient to His teachings, despite the problems in life that come my way, despite possible health problems, and even the threat of physical death
I admit my failures rather than justifying them, ask forgiveness, and learn good habits to replace the bad, I experience the joy and peace of forgiveness and the hope of living a holy life.
My daily experiences combined with my earnest attempts to study and understand God’s teachings lead me to believe that life is not about me. It is about a higher purpose. Counseling, then, becomes an empathic, genuine attempt to help others to take the focus off of themselves. Counseling is an attempt to explore the ‘right’ thing to do, then to do it. It is helping others to become mature in their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, as they attempt to understand and follow God’s teachings.
Either I am being ‘conformed’ to the world’s standards, or I am being transformed to what God has always intended me to become. Either I ‘go along’ with what is expected by my culture, or I allow God to change me into what He expects. Either I believe I am earning a higher status with God through my efforts, or I attempt to be a positive influence in my culture out of respect and love for what God has already done for me. Either I focus on a narcissistic way of life, so others can admire me, or I focus on a deeper meaning and purpose in life, that life is more than about me.
to be continued…