My faith shapes my  life and there are two things that shape my faith. At the very bottom I have doubts about myself, my direction, my intentions, my heart, my thoughts, my God, my relationships. It may seem trivial but one of the things that holds my faith up against my inner criticisms is an argument by a man named Pascal. Put simply it was an argument that relying on God is the best option, it’s the wager that make the most sense. (look up Pascals’ wager if you want to know more.) My doubts don’t come from a strong doubt that God exits, they come from a strong doubt that I truly care. I’m terrified at times that I am arrogant enough to stand face to face with Christ and simply say I don’t really care what you have to offer. The seconds thing that is a wall against the waves is a quote by C.S Lewis that says, “Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” This doesn’t call for any kind of affection or deep desire. If you simply have a wish to love a person or a God just put out the effort, the affections will grow from the investment. This is the most practical and simple piece of advice I think you could offer for a topic as complex and hard as love. I don’t fear that I will hate people or God, I fear that I will be so focused on myself that I won’t feel anything at all towards them. I’m afraid my affection for God will dwindle down to nothing, I’m concerned that I won’t love my neighbor as myself. I know that God loves me no matter what, and that scares me. I know that no matter what he will love me, so I feel free to do no matter what. I can feel the tendencies of my heart that want to test the boundaries of God’s love. There’s that corner of thought that never stops wanting to see how far into hell I can go before God stops loving me. To God’s glory and my shame, He will never stop even if I do. I believe the only thing that keeps us from falling off a cliff into destructive selfishness and sin is the tether the Holy Spirit wraps around us. I know personally, that I’m not the one that has held our relationship together. If it was up to me the relationship God and I have would have crumbled by now. Loving God and loving people is what we were created for, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Without the grace of God we would be lost, that’s why we should love him. He deserves it. Every evil person we meet could be us apart from God’s grace., that’s why we should love them. God is love. They need it just like we do. Just like C.S Lewis’s quote, Jesus says something that is fairly simple. Love God, Love people. It’s so simple, just love them. But if it’s so simple, why are there so many people who are unable to do it. Do you really, actually love Christ with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind? All of every piece of you. Do you really truly love your neighbor as yourself? The amount of time, effort, and affection you put towards yourself is equal to the amount you put into others? I think I mistake a general liking of Christ for love, and I mistake a general kindness towards strangers as love for my neighbor. Would a general liking and mere kindness cause someone to hang on a cross? If we’re going to pick up our cross we may need more than that.