Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Cross, No Crown

Nothing is taken away from God when we fail to offer ourselves and our lives over to him, and He gains nothing when we do offer our lives and ourselves up. This is because God is eternal and all-powerful, and nothing we do as temporary and corporeal beings could ever affect the nature of God one way or another. Knowing this, why does God still ask that we "offer something" up to Him, and what can Christian Childlovers offer up so as to abide by His command to offer "all prayer and supplication over?" 

What we learn is that because God doesn't gain or lose anything by our actions, the reason He asks us to offer our prayers, supplications (sacrifice), tribulations, and trials over to Him is not for His glory, but for ours. He may not gain by our sacrifice, but we certainly gain, and that's why God asks this of us, because He wants what is best for us and for us to be the best version of ourselves. He wants us to serve Him because He knows (being all-knowing) what IS best for us, and (being all-loving) His mercy for each one of us is unfathomable. So He promises this, that whatever we do "give to the Lord," He will repay many times over: 
"Give to the Most High as he has given to you, generously, according to your means. For the LORD is one who always repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold. But offer no bribes, these he does not accept! Trust not in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion. For he is a God of justice, who knows no favorites." SIR 35:12-15
What are Christian Childlovers called to "sacrifice" as it were to the "cross of Christ" that we may be worthy to receive the abundant gifts that God has promised to all those who serve Him faithfully? There are many things we can offer over to God as individuals within our own lives and circumstances, and the point is not so much what the offering consists of, but the intention by which it is offered (remember why God rejected Cain's "sacrifice" and accepted Abel's (Genesis 4:1-8)). This is why scripture tells us to offer our lives over generously, according to our means, and without extortion. Christ Himself also reiterates this teaching: 
"Peter began to say to Jesus, ‘We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”"  MK 10:28-31
Christian Childlovers shouldn't think that simply offering their sexual appetites over to the Lord is enough of a personal sacrifice, since it benefits you nothing to offer up what was sinful to do anyways (behaving inappropriately with children). What must be offered to God is something more extra and more pro-active than merely abstaining (which you are called to do at a minimum). Christian Childlovers should consider pro-actively working with children lovingly and patiently, while enduring whatever tirals and hardships come along with that kind of work, or they should give to children's charities (and therefore "offer over" their money or time to advance God's love in the world toward children) instead. 

Another possible way Christian Childlovers could offer themselves over to the Lord is by enduring with patience the prejudice and hateful people out there who say all manner of things against Childlovers unknowing of just how many kinds of Childlovers exist. Remember what Christ said: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me" (Matthew 5:11). If people are wrongly persecuting you as a Childlover, it's because you're practicing celibacy (you're not engaging inappropriately with a child) and they don't appreciate what you are doing due to their ignorance. Do not worry, God says, because your efforts and tribulations have not escaped Him, especially if you acknowledge Him. If you acknowledge Him, then your persecution is united with the persecution that Christ suffered, and Christ asks you to unite your suffering with His, and by doing such, He takes you unto his own. 

Your suffering as a Childlover is your sacrifice. Not giving into desire is going to bring struggle into your life, no doubt, as will giving up unfruitful behaviors that you used to have your heart set on, but if you turn that personal struggle (from God) into even just one child's benefit (by the power of the Holy Spirit), then as Christ has promised, great will be your reward, perhaps indirectly in this life, but certainly directly in the next. We all have to bear our cross in life, and the cross a Christian Childlover bears is one built on the hardship of celibacy and the endurance of pro-active charity. And never stop praying that what you "give up" (whether time, money, patience, or other charitable giving) is an offering pleasing to the Lord.  No pain now, no gain later. No cross now, no crown later. 

What temporary, small, suffocating pleasure or suffering are you willing to "offer up" now to attain ALL that there is later? 

Grace and peace be with you. 

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