"We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying."
- Hebrews 12:1-3 NCV
Have you ever just told yourself that you would never again do something and that this time it was it, this time you would be walking away from it once and for all but then you just felt rooted because something felt wrong?
Whether it is walking away from an addiction or a habit, something in your chest just feels colossally wrong and the more you tell yourself to walk away from it, the more your subconscious encourages you to give it one more chance.
It's as if you are divided. One part of you wants to just run away from such bad stuff but the other just wants to run towards it and jump into its hands as if there was nothing more comforting than it.
I have felt like that a lot of times and when something feels wrong, it feels wrong on both sides of my mind - if that even makes sense.
It goes a little like having your heart break for even trying to go back to your old habits and, at the same time, having your heart break for saying goodbye to something that has been part of your life for quite a good amount of time.
Sometimes, I just want to punch one of them and it is mostly the part of me that wants to go back to old ways. I just want to punch her badly so that she can shut up and I can progress to better things because, walking away from old habits, especially toxic and sinful ones, is a great thing.
Though it might not feel great at the moment, walking away from toxic relationships with yourself, possessions, others and whatever else is good for your overall health.
We are called to walk away from our sins (Acts 3:19), to repent and walk to God and yet, sorrow comes with repentance quite a few times.
If you Google 'Repentance', this will pop out: the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.
Yet, if you dig a little further, even by just going to Wikipedia or a Christian website you trust who can explain to you what in means biblically, to repent is to decisively change your direction.
My chosen source to explain the meaning is Christianity.com:
"Repentance is a decisive change in direction. It’s a change of mind that leads to a change of thinking that leads to a change of attitude that leads to a change of feeling that leads to a change of values that leads to a change in the way you live."
"So really, repent is a perfect description of what happens when you come to Christ. You no longer reject Christ, but now you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. You do a spiritual about-face, which in turn changes everything. And not only do you change your mind about Christ, but you change your mind about sin as well as you discover what it really means to honor God. You realize that it’s no longer about performance. It’s about a heart attitude that confesses Christ and seeks to honor Him in every aspect of life!"
So, God has been working His grace and amazingness in me by helping me to repent from my old ways, helping me change the way I see things, my sins and sin in general.
I have been seeking to live more for His honour than my own, more for the world to know His name than my own, and that was only because of the change He brought in me and, yet, my flesh still wants to fight this change - this journey filled with repentance.
It's something crazy, really.
I want to honour God with deeds, words and thoughts, and every day I have to literally fight myself, with the huge help of His power living in me, and continuously do so until the day God fully purifies me.
Every day, there are thoughts I have to wrestle with, ideas and fantasies I have to dismiss and old ways I have to dispose of.
And the world doesn't make this any easier.
For one, when it comes to swearing and using God's name in vain or just a religious profane language, there's this huge proverbial stone that sits in my heart when I so much as read such thing and that majorly because I have begun to see it differently.
I have begun to see profanity differently than how I had viewed it a few years ago. I wasn't one with the mouth of a sailor but, I wasn't shy of swearing as well or using God's name in vain and now, it's as if my heart will burst by just one sight or sound of God's name used in vain or in a way of swearing.
So, you can imagine the war inside of me when I have been reading a terrific comic with a great plot, amazing psychological facts for a very long time only to then find out that the second part of it is marinated with the Lord's name used in vain in many forms.
Just when things were looking marvellous, that happens and cue to the inner war.
I feel completely on the wrong by just reading those words and yet I keep on scrolling because I believe, somehow in my self-deceived mind, that it was just a one-time use of His name in vain and it probably won't happen again.
"Let's just give it another chance to prove itself."
That's what I had thought, essentially, as I kept on reading and then His name was used once again in vain and my heart was sinking into my stomach with every second that went by.
"This is wrong. This is wrong. This is wrong."
I would think that and still do it, knowing that it is is wrong, trying to push the guilt away and it was sickening.
At one point, the heart aches increased and not just because I knew I was choosing to sin by doing what I was believing to be wrong (James 4:17), but also because I knew that I was going to walk away from it and I was hurt, angry, frustrated and slightly guilty.
So, I closed my laptop and let the emotions run free because it had happened again.
Once again, I had chosen to read, listen or watch something that it was good in the beginning, clean even, only for the gears to shift in the second part and me having to walk away from it for they went against my convictions, they went against what I believed and stand for.
It happened with The Flash - it hurt so much because I am a DC fan.
It happened with My Hero Academia - the language was not favourable and it didn't register with the life I was now seeking to live.
It happened with a book I had read up to 60% of it - couldn't ignore the foul language and sexual tension anymore, no matter how subtle it tried to be.
And it happens a lot with lots of content from the entertainment industry.
Many films on Netflix aren't really the ideal ones to watch because of the content they promote and when I watch such content, I feel like I am supporting them and that's definitely not something I want to support.
I don't want to support fornication, foul language, violence - though my mind can be quite crazy sometimes - or any of the stuff I feel is just straight out against my beliefs and/or God's word.
So, whenever I see a good and promising trailer and then see research the contents of the film, only yo found out that there are certain things I can't watch or listen to, it aches.
Just like the film Moxie. It appears to have an interesting plot regarding patriarchy and yet, when you see the Parental Advisory and read the reviews that inform you of the type of content you will find there, it just breaks my heart.
Why couldn't it have been made without swear words?
I can't be listening to swear words so willingly like that, especially when I am walking away from it and such content can trigger a fallback.
Why do we have to do wrong to the name of Christ or God?
Why do many 13+ films have such content? Why is it hard to find clean films, TV shows and whatnot?
At this rate, I will have barely anything to watch and not because the entertainment industry is lacking in movies and all of that - yeah, Hollywood doesn't lack in content. That doesn't exist.
That frustrated me a lot.
It's frustrating and painful to drop a book or stop watching something in the middle of it because they started to show things that you are against and now you have to walk away from it.
And the fact is, I believe, that I am not walking away because I feel like God will just abandon me or something but because it is out of respect and love for Him, out of seeking better ways of living according to His will, which I seek to always embrace.
I am walking away from these things not out of fear of God but out of love and respect for Him and yet, it still hurts.
Leaving the things that you are used to behind is grilling things and it gets nastier when you start to feel the negative side effects like restlessness.
You start feeling uncomfortable, icky and irritable. You start thinking that you have to go back in order to stop this weird and consuming anxious feeling that you have.
You want to look back, even go back, and this has happened and still happens to me, sometimes.
I start questioning if those words are really profane, if those scenes are really that sensual that I can't really go back to watching such shows.
I start itching to turn around in the wrong direction just to see if it is really wrong at all and one of the ways that have helped me to talk myself out of it is to remember why I turned around in the first place.
Why did I stop watching certain shows? Why did I start avoiding certain words? Why did I start fighting certain thought and ideas? Why am I living my old ways behind?
Many, if not all, of the 'why's are answered by a 'Who' and that who is God.
I am walking away from foul language because of God because such language shouldn't be spotted in usage by His people. Because such language doesn't represent Him right and keeps me rooted in my old ways.
I am walking away from shows with sexual content because they are promoting sexual immorality, most of the times, and given that I have a horrible history with it, they will most likely trigger old thoughts, old feelings and painful memories. I am walking away because they don't align with God's word and they are triggers in my journey away from sexual immorality.
I am walking away from such a way of living because then I was living for myself, living for my desires but, today, I want to live more and more for God, for His people, and though it is not easy, not a smooth transition or journey, it is one worth taking.
So, I urge us to pray to God to keep us on the right path, keep our eyes on the things above and for Him to expose all the dirt in our lives, all the sins that we need to repent to and show us the beauty of doing so.
For though it may feel wrong to walk away from your old ways, enjoying life with God makes it more than worth it.
So, let us continually walk away from everything that is wrong, from our sinful ways and poor lifestyle, and let us run towards God who gives us hope, infinite love and joy.
Let us not fix our minds on what we are walking away from but on Who we are walking to.