ScottDover

Responsibility

It’s Saturday morning, and that means getting the house clean. While cleaning and thinking over my upbringing, I stumbled upon what I think to be the most important lesson I was taught growing up. Considering some of my previous posts here, one might assume that it was the fact that I was encouraged to be at church any time the doors were open. And that’s part of it, but it’s not all of it.

From an early age, I was given these terrible, horrible things that are just no fun at all…chores. And that’s the way I saw it. Dad is giving me chores because it’s less work he has to do. But, the underlying lesson was responsibility. That lesson came again when I was 15 and my dad told me I was going to get a job. There’s no way I wanted to get a job. I mean, I could just ask my grandma for things I needed, right? However, against my will, I got a job at the golden arches asking “Would you like 2 apple pies for a dollar?” That moment started the rest of my life.

If not for that responsibility, I would’ve never met my wife. Without her, I may’ve never went to college…definitely not for 2 degrees. My life may have been very, very different…and I’m afraid it would’ve been for the worst. Without that responsibility, I wouldn’t have pushed to go to church. I would’ve been fine with living a life devoid of any responsibility to God. I wouldn’t have heard the sermons I heard at Dayspring, and my life today would’ve been much different.

Because I am responsible, I’ve confronted my fears in my life and have taken steps to make sure my future is in good hands. I’ve not complained and whined about my student loan debt, because I know I’m responsibile to pay it back. I stood up for my beliefs at work, came to the mutual conclusion that it was time for me to make a change, and got a new job that’s better in more ways than I can count. And now, I get the wonderful opportunity to raise a little girl that means the world to me.

Responsibility isn’t easy…and it will most certainly cost you. The payoff won’t be instant, but in the long-term it is so much more rewarding. It is the single most important lesson I’ve ever learned from my parents, and one Maddie will learn from me.

Sin & Temptation

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
James 1: 2-3

Temptation is as old as the creation story itself. It was just a short time after the Creator spun the universe into existence that Adam & Eve fell to temptation by partaking of the Tree of Knowledge. It should come as no surprise that the enemy (I'm talking Satan here) was instrumental in tempting man to sin against God. Today's no different. Whether the temptation is anger, money, sex, drugs, the enemy is waiting, knowing what our weakness is, trying to cause us to slip.

Now I'm not saying we have no choice in the matter. We ultimately choose to give into the temptation (sin) or cry out to our Father for help. In that, it's important that we realize that our temptation is not our sin. This may be obvious to some, but it's something I've struggled with for a while now. So, if you, like me, occasionally get caught up in the "why am I feeling this way if I am following God,", don't worry. He's there to help, and he won't leave you hanging. Here's a point of reassurance that I've discovered as I've read through the word.

Three things to keep in mind. First, I may be wrong, and I'm okay with that. If there is something flawed in what I'm saying, let me know. I'm here to learn all I can about the Creator and how I can give my all back to him. Second, I'm not arguing at what point temptation becomes sin. There are lots of people who say different things about that, and I'm not qualified to even begin to go into detail (which is hard to even diagnose as everyone's temptation is different). Third, what I'm saying is never to "bible beat" anyone...it simply has helped me in my life, nothing more. With that in mind, here goes.

To say temptation is sin, is to deny Jesus as savior. I know, it's a bit of a bold statement. But, let me explain. First, the verse above says to "count it all joy" when temptation comes. If temptation were sin, this verse would say "count it all joy" when sin comes, but as Christians, we know this isn't true. Sin doesn't bring joy...forgiveness does. Second, consider Jesus who came and lived a sinless life. This sinless life enabled him to take the ultimate penalty – our sin – upon him so that we may be forgiven. Sound doctrine so far, right? Here's the kicker, Jesus was tempted. Check it out in Matthew 42.

Following the argument that temptation is in fact sin, means....Jesus was tempted, therefore he sinned. If he sinned, he is no longer sinless. If he isn't sinless, he couldn't take our sin. If he couldn't take our sin, then he was simply another man on a cross. If he was just another man on the cross, Christianity fails to exist and all of this talk about Jesus is nothing more than a story in history.

But, I serve a God who gave his son who took my sin and gave me his righteousness through Christ Jesus. In that I find peace and comfort. Like James, it's at that point I can find joy in the temptation, the pain, the troubles, the trials, the lowest valleys and the highest mountains. If the "trying of my faith worketh patience," then I am all for it. See, I'm not made for this world, and I long for the day when my faith becomes sight.

Until then, I'll need to patiently wait, fulfill my purpose, and pursue3 the God who created me.

  • 1Shameless Plug #1. My interest in James was re-ignited by the PhalanxMen group at Calvary Triad. If you're in the GSO area, check them out.
  • 2Matthew 4, KJV
  • 3Shameless plug #2. A new sermon series has just popped up at a church I use to frequent in grad school about pursuing God. Check them out on Vimeo

Screens

Screens

I try to write, but the glowing screen catches my attention. It shows me images. Funny images, sad images, images where I don't quite get what I'm looking at, images of horror, images of love. They're all moving and have sound attached. I try to write, but the screen demands my attention.

Even when I'm away from the screen, I have my portable screen. It glows and shows me interesting articles of the latest tech news2. It lets me know when I'm trying to be contacted. It lets me know the weather, how well a company is doing, and what my "friends"3 ate for dinner last night.

Alas, even when I attempt writing, I'm doing it from yet another screen (still not the two screens I use for work). Nothing but a dark gray window and some white text. Dark window, light text...oh, and notifications. Little popups to let me know that company X has 15% off (Gotta unsubscribe, let distraction persist). Awesome, unsubscribed...no more pointless email. But wait, there are at least a dozen files on my desktop: screenshots, SQL files, side projects, the latest library from LayerVault4. All of these need to be organized.

And once that's done, I'll write. Right? Wrong. It's no wonder people turn to vlogging these days. It makes a lot more sense living life and recording it in front of the screen. Or, living life, then living it again...ugh, bad lighting...living it again, and again, and again.

Sometimes we get distracted and don't get anything accomplished, especially writing (which some would say isn't productive at all, but that's a whole different story). And, when it comes down to it, some glowing rectangle2 is always there to please, to offer us a distraction, and to ultimately keep us from life.

The screen offers rehearsed and curated content, but pales in comparison to the ups and downs, the joy and suffering, that life has to offer.

Stop staring at the screens, start living.

  • 1Yup, that's The Golden Girls on the television. Ain't no shame in it.
  • 2Almost always from Hacker News, or Signal Vs. Noise.
  • 3"friends" as in Facebook friends, not to say the Facebook "friends" aren't really friends.
  • 4PSD.rb, found here: http://layervault.tumblr.com/.../psd-rb
  • 5Okay, I stole the term glowing rectangle from an old Onion article: "90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles"