Christianity

The Great Insignificance

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It’s really funny that usually I go home from work; my kids would love to really show off. Joshua would immediately show me his work and tell me what he did in the school and tell me “I did this…that”. While the other little girl would show some stuff she did all day at the house while she baby-talks as if like she’d like to get my attention.   Sometimes I had to stop both of them as they sometime end up quarreling with each other. As adorable as it may seem but they express a certain level of our fallenness – to be significant… to be important in my eyes.

This is what we are, we want a more significant job, we want a more significant status, there’s just this hidden desire in our hearts of wanting to be somebody, deep inside, there’s that longing in us, a yearn to be somebody, a yearn to be someone else, a yearn to be great. In FB, you will find a lot of people vying themselves to be someone.

In Mark 10:43,45 …But whoever would be great among you must be your servant…For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”. This must have been hard for the disciples, just imagine, for many years they’ve been under the rule of Rome, and all their life they’ve been longing to be free, to be a great nation again and yet here’s their Messiah saying, the path in which you will earn this status of greatness, is to make yourselves a servant, a status of being insignificant… to make ourselves unimportant because he didn’t lift himself up but he came here not to be served but to serve and gave himself up as a ransom for our sins. He made himself insignificant. It is loving like no other.

It is important as workers of Christ; our hearts should be attuned to this. Otherwise you will be on a direction of self-seeking position and attention in the church, you will seek praise, you will care whether you are being pleased or not, you will seek tap in the back, and if that doesn’t happen, you will feel you are being neglected, you will feel not cared by the church or the Elders and you will feel not belonged. But he made himself Insignificant so we can be called what significant in his kingdom.

The message of the cross is a message for those who follow him to seek themselves to be insignificant.  Our unpopular calling is to make ourselves insignificant. The path to being greatness is to make ourselves unimportant. My prayer is for all of us to see the Great Significance of being Insignificant, because He came not to be served but to serve.

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Seeing God as Precious

Psalm 36:2-3, 7
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

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Some Christians, tend to ask themselves, “Am I really saved?” “Am I really in the faith?” Some believers ask this, particularly, in times of dryness in their passion in serving God, or in times of failures (when committing a sin). This question arises, “What makes me different from the wicked, the unsaved?” Psalm 36:2-3 and 7, clearly speaks about the huge difference between righteous redeemed ones against the wicked unbelieving ones. These verses emphasize the differences in their attitude and behavior, towards sin, and towards God.

The attitude of the wicked is this, they flatter themselves in their own eyes, flatters – in other sense of these word can be translated as  “decree” or “measure” themselves in their own eyes, which means they don’t only conceal their sins but measure and decree themselves of not being sinful, so that their iniquity cannot be found. They have no (godly) sorrow for sin. The wicked’s attitude is evidently rooted in loving sin (not hating sin, not rejecting evil) (v4), and there is no fear of God before their eyes (v1). They cease in acting wisely and cease in doing good. Their behavior results in trouble and deceit (v2).

On the other hand, the attitude of the righteous believers, (from the phrase “children of mankind” which could also mean, “the children of weak, frail, sinful man”) see themselves as weak and sinful. They behold God as faithful (steadfast), loving and very precious. They behold God as a treasure. Their behavior is focused on coming to God, trusting Him as a shelter and protection from harm.  They trust His salvation.

In summary, according to these verses, the wicked unbelieving people are the ones who never confess their sinfulness, never admit their need of God. They behave foolishly by ceasing in doing good, but seek trouble and act in deceit. The righteous believers on the other hand, are those who admit, confess, and repent of their sins to God.  They see their need of God and His forgiveness. They see God as so precious, they gaze at Him as a treasure. They see God as loving, faithful, protector, shelter and a savior.

Let us therefore mirror ourselves towards these truths. The Holy Spirit will definitely reveal our hearts if we truly believe and trust Jesus for salvation, for the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are (indeed) children of God (Romans 8:16), forgiven repentant sinners who received adoption to be children of God through Christ.

Embracing Suffering

By Pastor Leo Obra

2 Cor. 6:10 “Sorrowful yet always Rejoicing…”

Romans 8:17, And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

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Embracing suffering??? Who wants it?

It’s very, very rare to see somebody who would gladly offer herself to suffering. I haven’t met somebody who is really willing to go through any form of sufferings nor welcomes to go through it at all. As people, we shunned various kinds of suffering – No one would like to have a disease, no one would like to get a pay cut, No one would like to lose his job and career, especially if it’s the only source of income one has. No one would like to have a terrible boss, or maybe we don’t want to experience hardship in the ministry or maybe his/her child to be disabled – we don’t want to suffer. Suffering maybe the last thing a Christian would like to experience. Why? Because most people think that suffering connotes uncertainty, pain, out-of-control situation, loss of something or maybe sorrow – and we don’t want it. It makes us go out from our comfort zone which we don’t like it let alone get stuck for quite long.

Gloomy yet Glad

However, sufferings (not as a result of sin) are actually blessings according to the bible.  Blessing in the sense it leads to something – blessing in the sense that we belong to someone. In Romans 8:17 it said, “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” So how can a mere man like Paul, declare joy amidst sorrowful suffering, how can he say sorrowful yet always rejoicing, in the eye of suffering? Although, there’s an unavoidable pain and sadness brought by his trials, but His joy surpasses those sorrows. It’s because his suffering was a sure indication of where he belongs – that He is a child of God – a more than enough reason to be joyful.

It’s hard to cheer up when you are really on a state of suffering. Perhaps in the worldview, being happy amidst suffering can be construed as craziness or maybe out of mine. But this is the irony of Christian suffering – is to be joyful amidst test and amidst storm. Amidst suffering, because of the hope that we have in Christ, because of the surpassing worth of knowing Him and being His child.

One of the things God taught me in my journey is that, it’s hard to embrace and accept something in which you are NOT really joyful or happy with. That’s why a lot of people embrace sin such as same sex or live-in relationship because they’re happy about it. On the other way around,  a true believer struggles to embrace back the way he used to be doing such as vices, wrong relationships etc,  because there’s no joy anymore in those sins. He was already changed by God. I got married and embraced to be with my wonderful wife because I felt joy and happiness out my love for her.

I believe the same thing with suffering, we cannot embrace it if we don’t see the joy behind its curtain. And that joy lies in the life-saving, joy producing and life-changing Words of God in Romans 8:17, because it’s only through this powerful Words of the Lord that we will be able to discover the joy in suffering…endure suffering.  Only then through this hope that we will be able to embrace suffering.