Have we forsaken our all for Him?

When we say we are followers of Christ, what does it mean?

Are we just paying lip service by saying that we’re Christians but we’re not actually taking up our cross by denying ourselves and truly following Him?

Some people say: Wah why so serious? Why so morbid? Why so pushy? Don’t force your beliefs on me.

But really, how is our conduct reflective of our great God we follow?

Have we forsaken our all and surrendered our all to follow Him? Are we willing and prepared to give Him all control? Are there any hidden, closed-off, locked away regions of our hearts that we do not allow God to transform? How then are we definitively His followers if we do not surrender it all to Him?

I pray like this then: O great God in heaven, may You have mercy on me. Lord today I surrender my all to you, every sin, every fear, every past grudge, every past hurt that others have done to me. Help me Lord to forgive not only them, but to also forgive myself as You have forgiven me and may Your spirit guide me to the everlasting life as You journey with me through now. Lord I thank you and I pray all these in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Why am I a Christian?

This must be the fundamental question for a follower of Christ, if not how else would one begin to answer this question in the first place?

Why am I a Christian?

I believe that to be a Christian, it is imperative to believe in Christ first, and who is Christ to me? To me, Jesus is the Messiah who came down from heaven to earth, to preach to people so that they may repent and believe in the Gospel.

Repent of what? Of our sins, and what are our sins? What are sins? Sins are thoughts, acts and deeds which are in direct conflict (or opposition) with the eternal law of God.

What then are we supposed to believe? It is to believe that God out of His abundant love, sent His begotten Son, to dwell among men, men who were of the lowest status in society, those who were counted as invalids and ostracized, and not only them, but to Jews who were the chosen race to be the light of the world and Gentiles who were the other races, to redeem men from their condition of sin, through redemption by being rejected, tortured, despised by His own people and ultimately carrying His cross to Calvary where He was pierced for our transgressions and He took upon all our sins (past, present and future) so that we would be made righteous and blameless in front of God.

How do I know this to be true? Historical facts show it to be true, look at the Dead Sea Scrolls and how they can be carbon dated. Look at the intelligent design of life itself. Look at the alignment of our solar system, so well planned that it cannot be a coincidence.

I am a Christian because in my heart, I know that this God who created the universe, the stars, mountains, seas and grass, created me in His image, so that I may love Him and be loved. That is why we are intelligent human beings, and we crave for a relationship that is deeper and more intimate. To be vulnerable and to bare it all, all our joys, shame, guilt, laughter, happiness.

Only this God can love us so much that He would do something so incomprehensible as to send His own down from Heaven, to redeem us once again.

The point of letting go

What does it mean to be a Christian? Many times people say it’s confessing Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. In John 1:29, it says that Jesus is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. So what’s next after being saved some might ask?

It is to be His disciples, to follow Him and to follow Him, it is to deny ourselves daily. What does this ‘denying of self’ look like?

It is to let our desires (Desires of eyes, flesh and pride of life) to sin die. To allow it to be crucified through confession of our sins and repentance by sinning no more and to let it die through constantly depleting the sin of its hold on you through prayer and supplication.

We have to learn to let go of our past selves, our pride, worldly riches, temptations, etc. If we have sinned, we should confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved and by being saved, made righteous and blameless in front of Him.

Even more so, our spiritual life is an ongoing process of letting go of our inner weakness. And precisely at the point when we stop letting go, we stunt our growth in Him. If we hold on too tightly to things which are given by Him, unwilling to let go and allow it to be used by God, we stunt the growth of our soul.

To be a wall and not a door

To be a wall, what does that mean? It means to be a fortess of honour and purity.

What then is the difference between a wall and a door? A door can be loosely opened or battered inwards until it breaks. Whereas a wall stands solidly and solemnly. A wall can be built upon with which, more honour and purity is maintained and sustained.

Thus, to be a wall is better than to be a door……

Do we need a crisis to depend on God?

This question has been on my mind for quite a while and it is only recently, that I have come around to penning it down. The questions are:

1. Do we (as humans) need a crisis to realize that we need to depend on God?

When we face a crisis in life, we often think of them as trials and tribulations given and tested by God for the testing of our faith so that it produces steadfastness (James 1:2-4), through these tests, our faith may be affirmed and strengthened and we come to realize that we depend on God as our Potter and we like clay are shaped by Him to become what He designs us to be.

What then, if we have a streak of good times then? Humans are inherently forgetful and ungrateful, this is due to complacency and thinking that we have it all under control. This is especially so during good times and in the bible, we see many examples of such instances of forgetting God.

One example would be: “Before Israel entered the promised land, God warned the people that the greatest danger ahead would not be the adversity of their enemies but the prosperity of their new circumstances. The particular challenge of living in “great and goodly cities, which they built not, and houses full of good things, which they filled not, and drew water from wells which they dug not, and ate of the vineyards and olive trees, which they planted not; so that when they had eaten and were full that they forget the Lord, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Cf. Deuteronomy 6:10-12).” (https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/june-2008/depending-on-god/)

2.What would happen if we didn’t or stopped depending on God?

We move further from His presence, which is filled with peace, love and calmness. We start to think that we are self sufficient, capable and mighty on our own two feet. But when a crisis comes again, we may forget to rely on Him because we become used to standing on our own and through it, we will suffer more for it until we come back to the realization that we need to depend on Him, in all, through it all.

3.Why do we need to depend on God?

For God did not redeem us so that we could use Him like a spare tyre on the boot or like a magic genie, to be summoned for wishes, by only relying on Him during the hard times and not relying on Him and giving thanks to Him in the good times. We must always remember that our God, sent His Son down, to live with us, to dine with us and to ultimately suffer torture after torture and for our sakes, be hung up via crucifixion, which is the most cruel way of dying and not only that, the most humiliating way to be punished and He was an innocent at that!

For what purpose? So that we can have this reconciliation with God, so that the consequences of our sins can be justified and we are adopted into His family.

We must therefore strive to be worthy of Him by knowing Him more, not only in head knowledge, but in the heart, and through it, the outpouring of our thoughts, words and actions. But we must keep in mind also, that it is not a result of any of our good works, but the result of grace given freely as a gift but at the cost of the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We love, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

In good times you might be a bit happier, but you might also lose your self-control. And in bad times, you might lose the grounding of your heart – Winter Olympics Medalist Li Yan

Sinful Pride? Prideful sin.

Today, I realize that I don’t like to take instructions from people who don’t know me. I felt very indignant and had an unpleasant and uncomfortable feeling in my heart. Two incidents happened, briefly to explain, one is someone who is very frank and forthcoming, the advice he gave was sound but the way he delivered it was unpleasant to my ears, much like someone dragging a chair across the room, that horrendous screeching sound, yes it sounded like that in my heart. The second event was of a lady, who tends to micromanage everything, no one likes someone breathing down their neck. No one likes taking instructions from a person, whose face looks darker than black clouds.

It was at that point in time that I realize, why? Why am I so frustrated, stressed and feeling so indignant at their instructions even though they mean well? That itself comes from pride in which I think what I know is what is best. But is it??

It is through this realization that I discovered that I have an issue with Pride. The pride of thinking that I know best, that I know how to handle this or that, but in actual fact, other people may have a better way to do it, afterall, the amount of salt they ate, is much more than the amount of rice I’ve eaten. I didn’t voice out my opinions, however I did feel quite bad for most of the rest of the day.

I pray that I may humble myself even more, that I will understand that the sin of Pride, is self serving and selfish in which I do not want my life to be so. I pray that I will not act on these thoughts that dwell in my heart, that I may be set free from these shackles of frustration and indignation, that I may find back my joy that is in Jesus Christ alone.

Do not love the world

There are many kinds of love that exist. Brotherly love, couple love, familial love, and then there is the love of God.

However there is a type of love that God does not want us to have, which is to love the world and its wordly things. This is seen in 1 John 2:15 – 17:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
1 John 2:15‭-‬17 ESV

The word world sometimes stand for God’s creation but at other times, it refers to that which is in opposition of God (Satan is called the prince/ruler of the world). It is the latter meaning in which is being referred here, stating that if we love the world, we cannot love the Father. We cannot serve 2 masters, having one foot on earth and another foot in heaven and expect to receive our heavenly reward.

There are 3 ways in which this world can entice us and lead us away from casting our eyes on the things of eternal.

1. Desires of the flesh:

While our bodies are not sinful, our corrupt nature (afflicted by sin) can take hold of us and we crave for certain things, such as sex, food, alcohol. Everyday we are tempted by our desires, especially those who have tasted it, crave for it stronger and more.

2. Desires of the eyes:

Surrounded by advertising and various strategies of marketing, our eyes are dazzled by the things of the world. We need to avoid the trap of: I can see it, I like it, thus I covet it and want it for myself. This can be worldly things like the newest pair of shoes, the latest and fastest cars, or it could be looking at someone else and thinking sinful thoughts, a reminder to the Sermon on the Mount that if we desire (lust) with our eyes, we have already committed adultery in our hearts.

3. Pride of life:

We can look at our possessions, our titles, our achievements and believe that it is all down to us, this thinking makes us conceited, makes us feel that we are our own God, that we control our circumstances but in actual reality, everything we have, is a gift from God.

In closing, sin is in actual fact, the breaking of the first commandment. Sin is elevating a desire above it’s intended good purpose, and distorting it and it becoming a downward spiral into debauchery. It is my prayer that everyone not look at worldly things but look towards the things of eternity as the things of the world do not satisfy, but leaves one craving for more and feeling even emptier after attaining it.

How to accomplish this? Through a sincere and humbling admittance that one’s self is unable to overcome the world alone. But there is hope! The world has indeed been overcome, by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who in doing so, gave His sinless life up for us, bore our sins upon Himself and shed His blood, all so that we can be reconciled with Him, so that we are seen as justified and right in His eyes, that we may have a true relationship the Lord our God. May the Holy Spirit guide and disciple us in our walk with God, may the Holy Spirit remind us daily to turn away from our sins, to lead us into the light and remind us of our hope is in Christ!