Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Thank You

I thought I'd share the heart-warming experience I had the other day.
I was watching the third episode of the Bible Miniseries (if you don't know what it is, it's a series that goes through the whole Bible in just five episodes). This is the episode where the nativity is depicted.
I remember the last scene in the Old Testament was a portrayal of the prophet Daniel telling his friend (one of the guys who got saved in the furnace but I forgot which one) about the coming Messiah. I was already feeling quite emotional at this point, after all Jesus' story is really epic! Still I wasn't expecting what was about to happen.
I think it was just when Jesus was born in the film when suddenly I started crying. It was a mix of joy and regret. Joy for God sending His Son to die for us, and regret for all the sins I have committed. 
I kept saying "thank you, thank you" to God for sending Jesus, for He is the only one who could do what I could not - give me freedom from my sin and a whole new, eternal life. I felt like nothing else in the world matters than this restored relationship with the Lord, and indeed nothing does!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

I know I have a tendency to get goose-bumps when I see epic movies, and this one was especially epic because of what it was about. But I believe the Holy Spirit moved me in that moment and it was a blessed moment of thankfulness!
Thank you Lord for saving me! What can I say?
My life is Yours forever! :D :D :D

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." (Revelation 1:5-6)

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Of Romantic Standards

Some of this kind of follows on from the previous post.
Ever since the paradoxes have resolved, something has changed within me in terms of how I look at girls. To put it bluntly, my standards in terms of physical appearance have been launched beyond the Andromeda galaxy. Or further.
My personal struggle at the moment is the fact that I potentially made a celebrity my standard in terms of looks (by the way I don't think celebrity crushes are particularly helpful, I struggle with this quite a bit). She is indeed extremely beautiful, and now I don't think I'm willing to go for anyone who is less beautiful. But is this wise? 
Some may instantly jump and say "that is so superficial"! But that is not the point. It's not like I don't care about the inside at all. In fact, going for a non-Christian is still just as silly and unwise because why would you want to share your life with a person who hasn't got the same belief and even worse the same assurance of salvation? 
But where do we draw the line? What should be our standards on the inside and also on the outside? 
I don't know everything concerning this subject, but I will try to explain what I believe to be Biblical.

I think the two areas - beauty on the inside and beauty on the outside - require a slightly different answer.
First, someone's character on the inside is a rather complex issue, but at its basics it all comes down to three factors: sin, God's grace, and personal holiness. If you are a Christian then you have been set free from your sin and God looks at you as righteous (Romans 8:1). You still mess up in this life (Romans 7:21-25), but you already have eternal life and are being transformed into Christ's likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Practically this will mean that whoever you potentially marry will have character flaws and will fail almost every moral standard you may set before them. They may struggle less with some things than others, but they will never be perfect. However this is where grace comes in. We are meant to look at the other person as Christ would look at them. They have been washed clean by His blood, which means that whenever they fail us we are to forgive them (Matthew 18:22). Certainly, this does not excuse them from pursuing holiness. In marriage, both the man and the woman should urge each other on to walk the narrow road (1 John 1:5-10), in order for them to mature as Christians, being built up in love and godly character as a sign of their true faith in Christ.
So what should we look for on the inside? Not perfect people, but sinners saved by grace who pursue holiness. Of course, the issue is often more complex, as there are other factors such as personality, church background, family background etc. But those three points I've mentioned are the most important.
In terms of the other factors, I am not wise enough to lay out a method for figuring out exactly who you could marry, but I encourage you to pray about the particular situation you're in and I am sure the Lord will give you wisdom to discern what is wisest (James 1:5).

When it comes to appearance I think the issue is slightly different. My stand on this is that since we don't HAVE to get married, then it is perfectly fine to have certain standards. What I would advise against is having false expectations.
Let's face it, we are going to get wrinkly, lose our hair and our eyes will dim. The only true treasure that remains is Christ in our hearts (Proverbs 31:30). But it is also important not to think of marriage as purely just a spiritual union between two people. Sexual and physical attraction are good things. God made them! 
For a while I struggled with the idea "what if marrying an ugly person is more loving?" But it's a really silly concept. If you don't find someone attractive, you don't have to marry them! Simple.
But please don't misunderstand. I am not saying that people who are less beautiful are not as valuable or that we should avoid them. By no means! Our identity and our perception of someone's identity is to be found in Christ and not in physical appearance. But here's the point. Marriage does not equal our identity in Christ's eyes or what our identity should be in our fellow Christians' eyes. 
One of my best friends always brings up the verse that says "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7). But to say that this verse applies to the standards of appearance we have concerning a marriage partner is to take it out of context.  This verse is talking about man's state and condition before God and how it's not determined by whatever people think of that person, only by what God thinks. This has nothing to do with choosing to marry someone.
So when I say marriage does not equal our identity in Christ's eyes, what I mean is that if we are rejecting someone based on their looks we are not being superficial. We are not devaluing them as a person, only saying that we are not attracted to them and therefore do not consider them a suitable marriage partner. Physical attraction is part of marriage and it seems absurd to disregard it, no matter how nice the person might be. 
The challenge of course comes when someone rejects us because they don't find us attractive. But remember, your worth and your identity is found in Christ, not in your appearance! Don't let marriage and romance be an ultimate thing! Christ loves you so much He decided to die for you on that cross. You are worth it for Him! If you are going through times of rejection, then read Isaiah 41:9! 

So here's a summary of what I believe a Christian should be asking when considering to marry someone:
1. Is the person a Christian? If not, it is incredibly unwise to go for them. Do not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14)! And if they are Christians, are they pursuing holiness? Do they have a godly character? Be cautious not to just marry any Christian either!
2. Are they suited to you as a person? Do you click with them? Ask for wisdom concerning these things (James 1:5).
3. Are they attractive? Do not feel guilty for having preferences in this area! (Proverbs 5:18-19)

What does this mean for me?
1. To my knowledge the celebrity I like is not a Christian. Also the chances of meeting her are rather small, so while I find her beautiful on the outside, I should not get obsessed with her (or anyone else for that matter). Idolatry lurks at the door, Father please help!
2. My first and foremost standard for the inside will be to look upon women as Christ would. Secondly, I will look for things like similar ways of thinking, similar church background etc...But I am open to the possibility of something different to what I imagined.
3. Even though I might be ignoring girls around me because of my preferences, so what? We don't HAVE to get married. So if I don't marry anyone of them because I don't find them attractive, I have lost nothing. I still have Christ. 
Of course, I'd prefer to get married because I do struggle with singleness. But hey, surely my Father who's made Eve can put someone who I find attractive in my path out of the seven billion people on the planet (and hopefully it's mutual!). And if He doesn't, then I am confident He will give me the grace I need to go through life with the struggles of singleness. 2 Corinthians 12 greatly encourages me in this! It's one of those passages that returns again and again in my life:

"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

So, in the words of one of my best friends at uni "If she's godly and gorgeous then go!". Though he quoted that from someone else, it's still a good saying!



Post = After
Paradoxi = Paradoxes

These two words signify for me that a certain period of my life has ended. 
Last year was my greatest battle yet (being a Westerner it probably wasn't that much of a struggle compared to a lot of people's suffering, but it was still excruciating for me). 
I was, as I have been for years, waiting in expectation for "the one" to come along. The woman who the Lord would give to me and who would match me in every possible way, the one who is destined to be my wife. 

To cut a long story short, I met the one. Or I thought I did. I was 99% convinced and even though I don't remember saying that I can't imagine any alternatives (I thought things like that before), I was not willing to let it go even when the answer from her was a definite no.
I was devastated. I remember being in my room one day and I felt physically sick. It felt like there was poison in my veins and I couldn't get it out. I know this all sounds a bit ridiculous, but for a person who has always had this longing to getting married, this was rather hard to take in. I felt confused. I described this whole situation as a paradox, because I couldn't understand why God would put this girl in my path who seemed perfect for me and yet nothing was going to happen.
But thank the Lord that I had to go through this! For however painful it may have been, it produced good fruit! I think it definitely made me grow closer to God, but I believe He also used this time to transform my ideas concerning marriage. This is what I'd like to share with you.

James 1: 2-7

See, I now believe that the idea of "the one" is actually a rather unhelpful one. Biblically there is no real evidence that God determines everyone's romantic future and so if you are to get married there will be this one person He has appointed. After hearing a sermon on 1 Corinthians 7 and having a few personal experiences myself I eventually realized that this whole concept is slightly absurd. 
As Tim Keller has pointed out, our Western culture is obsessed with the idea of 'apocalyptic love'. This manifests in all the romantic comedies where a couple meets in a perfect way, falls in love and after a few troubles everything works out and they live happily ever after. This is the message of every single Disney film. I'm not having a go at these movies (I do like romantic comedies and I did have a crush on Rapunzel in Tangled), but what I'm suggesting is that part of their underlying message is unhelpful to us as Christians.
If we read 1 Corinthians 7 and indeed all the other passages in the New Testament concerning marriage, none of them ever mention anything about someone being "chosen" for you by God. In fact, Paul says to the widows "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." 1 Corinthians 7:39 
The only story I can think of in the entire Bible about God choosing someone specific to be given in marriage is the story of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24). But I would advise anyone against thinking that this is the usual pattern for marriage, because there is nothing to back up that claim. Just as there are many events in Acts which are descriptive, not prescriptive, this could be the same here. In the case of Isaac and Rebekah it was the history of Israel in question and  it makes sense that God would decide to interfere directly. Since the pinnacle of Israel's history is Christ and His work on the cross has been accomplished, I think it is safe to say that nowadays God would not normally act in such a way when it comes to marriage.
The idea of "the one" also causes some serious issues. Very simply put, if a widow remarries three times then she's had three husbands. Did she then meet 'the three'? Or if there are serious troubles in a marriage does that mean they should have married someone else?
Instead of this ambiguous term, I think it is much more sane and much more Biblical to believe that God gives us the freedom of choice in who we marry or indeed if we marry at all. This is not to say that you should not take care as to who to marry (as Paul says "he must belong to the Lord") , but I believe it is less about right and wrong and much more about making wise decisions. God will not normally chose who we marry. Don't get me wrong, I also believe that God is absolutely in control of the universe and He has already planned everything. But I think when it comes to our marital status, for most of us He includes our choices in His plan and doesn't necessarily determine them.

What does this all mean for me as a single man? It means I'm free. Paradox resolved. Ever since I started thinking this way my emotions seem to be lighter. Before, every time I was rejected I felt like my whole world has been destroyed. Now, I'm not saying that I don't struggle with my feelings anymore and that I wouldn't get sad if I'm rejected (though thankfully that hasn't happened for a year!). But perhaps I'm less prone to fall into a deep depression like I did in the past. 
This world will pass very soon and so will marriage. Ultimately it doesn't matter if you end up marrying someone or you stay single for the rest of your life, because if you trust in Christ for your forgiveness of sins and therefore have eternal life in the here and now and in the world to come, then you have everything you need. As a Christian, both marriage and singleness are good gifts from God and can be used for His glory. Yes, Paul says that it is better to stay single but from what I've learned from the pulpit, I think he means it is better for spreading the gospel, simply because you have more time and you do not have to commit to your family. But I don't think this means that singleness is more holy or that marriage is second best.
I think the most important thing to grasp is that marriage should not be an ultimate thing in your life. "Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this." 1 Cor 7:25-28

This is why I think the idea of "the one" is unhelpful. It creates the impression that you have to wait for this person God will give who will satisfy and complete you. You start thinking that when this person comes along your life will be so much better and you will feel more loved. Suddenly all those failed romantic experiences you had will be gone and you will live in the sun with a smile on your face until you die. I know what that idea feels like, I've been there. But you know what? It's rubbish. The One is Jesus Christ. No one else. No one else can make you feel content. No one else can satisfy you. So what's the point of waiting around for a wife or a husband?

I must mention something here because I do not want to be hypocritical. I believe all of the above but I still very much struggle with being single. I think this is partly because I have a massive desire for romance and to be with a woman. I look for people. All the time. I'm always debating whether a certain person is suitable for me. I have a new celebrity crush every month. So, it's not like 'I have arrived' or anything (the gift of singleness is not a superpower over emotion, it's the blessing of receiving God's grace in that state). But the point is that now I no longer fear the idea of being single. It would be painful. But it's not the end of the world.

So in the end, if a woman comes along who I fall in love with and its mutual then let's go for it! But if not, then I'm still a child of God, still just as valuable. I don't have to wait in expectation for anyone, I only wait for Christ's return. Yes, Father I really really really want a wife. But the point is, I want one, I don't NEED one. There is a huge difference.
Indeed, true freedom is only found in Jesus Christ! May He be praised forever! Amen.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I guess it's time to have the "why I have started a blog" post.
I was walking back home today after buying something for lunch (mind you it was already around five in the evening) and as usual my tangled thoughts and emotions were swirling round my head. Since I have seen other people's blogs this week and the notion intrigued me, as I was walking home I considered writing my own.

What is this blog going to be about? My primary intention is to share Christ with you and my thoughts on the life I strive to live in the light of what He's done. This certainly includes all parts of my life, so I expect you might read all sorts of things. Being a musician, this blog might also have a musical veneer...

Perhaps I should say a few things about myself.
I grew up in a Christian family and am a Christian myself. Before you think that the latter is automatic then I urge you to reconsider your position. It is not. The only way to become a Christian is to put your trust fully in God's only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for His work on the cross. He came down from heaven and lived a sinless life and preached the good news of God's kingdom. Then He went to the cross to die in our place, to take on Himself the punishment we deserve for our rebellion against God. After having accomplished the task for which He came for, He rose again on the third day and now sits at the Father's right hand. He will return once again to judge the living and the dead. All those who have put their trust in Him will live forever, and all those who remained in the darkness will receive their rightful punishment.
This gift of salvation was given to me freely by God's grace and there is nothing I have done to earn it. I am a saint, but that does not mean perfection by myself. It means I'm righteous in God's eyes because of Jesus. My sins died with Him upon the cross, and His righteousness has been transferred to me by grace. I still mess up in this life and I truly regret it, but I know that His sacrifice was sufficient to give me eternal life from now on to eternity! He sent the Holy Spirit who dwells in all those who are Christians. The Spirit assures me of my salvation, as He is the seal and the deposit of the inheritance I have in Christ!

John 3:16

I have to say when it comes to my personality it tends to puzzle people including myself. The posts will probably speak for themselves.
My main area of interest in the cultivation of the earth is music and all that encompasses. It is true I like to look at art as a whole, but when it comes to working, you have to choose something. Music is the art form where I feel at home for now (these things may change, who knows). This is what I'm studying at university.
Within music I'm interested in composition and orchestration, both of which I find especially enjoyable. The idea of musical colour and  the limitless possibilities of orchestral timbres spark in my imagination a desire to use these as a means of expression. I think I'm quite visual as well, I usually can't listen to music without my mind wandering off to tag some story to the sounds.
With all this said, I still don't really know what I'm going to do when I leave uni. I have another year left, but that will probably pass rather fast. Film music seems like a good genre to go to, but it is one of the most prestigious and prestige brings with itself challenges in terms of achievement, but more importantly, also in terms of my faith.
For now I just need to make sure I try my best with my studies and get my act together (unfortunately I have a great tendency for laziness), the Lord will take care of the rest. He may also have other plans that have not yet unfolded completely before me...who knows?

Jeremiah 29:11

I just remembered something important. I am Hungarian. Maybe I should have remembered that before, but oh well. Though I cherish the good side of my background (every culture has it's up and downsides), I by far do not hold it to be the most important thing.

So in summary, my identity is: I am a child of God, with the full inheritance of Christ given to me by grace. I am Hungarian and am currently pursuing the subject of music. The rest will probably unfold in future posts. Or not. We'll see how it goes.