I am no saint, I am a sinner. Yet sinners are the recipients of the blood shed on the Cross. It is with so much gratitude and honor to have this humbling experience of being forgiven though not worthy of a life sacrificed for all the sins made.
Yet God is a God like no other – the only God who can love and forgive always. Thus, I carry a new name – forgiven. This is the reason why we can always proclaim that He is faithful even when we are not faithful even to ourselves and our promises. God is different because He fulfills His every promise. This is how He teaches humility and gratitude which makes us appreciate what we have in this life and who we are and should be living for – Him.
If we are to become Christ-like then we have to relinquish all that ties us to this world and live a life worthy to be called as followers of Christ. I often ask myself everyday if I am giving God justice with how I live now. Am I obedient to what He has instructed on what I should relinquish and how I should live my life according to His teachings in the bible?
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” – Matthew 19:21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:19
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:20
How did Jesus Christ lived His life in this world?
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28
How can we serve inside the comforts of our air-conditioned homes, in our BMWs or Cadillacs or in our OOTDs, or the famous cuisines we have tried or the places around we have visited? What do we know about what the rest of our brothers and sisters are going through if we are so focused on ourselves and strapped in our comfort zones and our selfish desires?
Mother Teresa. She made God proud because she lived what it is to be Christ-like – serving the poor or those who do not have any means to help themselves. How many of us are willing to become like her?
My struggle now which has been ongoing for years is something that I do not see anymore as a matter of accomplishing something. Finishing my masteral thesis made me realize that God brought me in it not to finish and accomplish something that this world dictates as a standard – a degree/title. But I see it all now as a journey of faith just like everything else. God is testing my faith and teaching me something along the way. My only question to God is, “Lord, how can I be of service to You and to these children with disabilities if you have placed me in this certain field of education?”
The season of waiting for answers never mattered anymore. I know God will give His answer in His perfect time. The Spirit was there to guide me all along each and every single day which, I know, is God’s way of preparing me when it is time for Him to deliver the instruction.
We all have something that ties us to this world – possessions, careers, lifestyle, etc. It is so hard to let go of them if all our lives we have learned to live this way. But as this bible verse says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Are we really a new creation? Are we really living what it is that God has commanded us to do?
Instagram, for me, is a community of worldly stuff from OOTDs, bling blings, gadgets, etc. – it is the world that is full of temptations. I do not hate Instagram per se. I love it actually because it is now serving as one of my mediums to share the gospel everyday and to set an example to the community how to appreciate the things that are God-made and not those that are man-made and avoid temptation.
I am hoping to infiltrate Instagram with faith and a lifestyle that is Christ-like through my interests which are nothing more but serving my husband through my passion for cooking; photos of flora and fauna being a nature lover; a simple, controlled way of living; and not too much selfies (because I am not self-absorbed and I look the same everyday). 😀
When it comes to faith, most of the time we have to be bold enough to break cultural barriers set forth by traditions and break away from worldly standards. What does this bible verse mean?
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
Patterns/customs – they are what we call the worldly standards. What are they specifically in this modern age? Vanity (selfies and make ups); greed (materialism from gadgets, OOTDs, accessories, cars, houses, etc.); pride (promotions, certificates, titles, licenses, awards, etc.); lust (pictures of men and women scantily clad); envy (desiring what others have, sharing for the sake of “likes” and the “follows” ); and a whole lot more of worldly standards that we have to break.
Self control is hard. I am honestly having difficulty in this area. It is like having a withdrawal syndrome wherein your one self that says go have/do it battles with the other self that says no don’t do/have it. Like one instance, I was grateful to be a recipient of a gift, a material one and my old worldly instinct came rushing in to post it on social media.
But the Spirit says, “No Tin, that is boasting and that is being materialistic and we know you will be promoting greed, pride, envy and the wrong mentality when it comes to appreciating gifts given by God. Do not post it. God knows how grateful you are with it. You need not seek the approval of others but seek His approval.”
So I wanted to post a selfie because of this new Snapchat trend. I tried it once and I found myself itching to post all filters I have tried. Okay, the Spirit once again said, “No Tin, you are being vain. Appreciate yourself for who you are and how you look like without those filters. Breakaway from being self-absorbed. Rest in the fact that you are already precious and beautiful to God filtered or not filtered. This is a worldly temptation, resist.”
Yes, every day I have to battle with those worldly temptations. To be able to do that, I need patience and I need to be content. Patience is self control and vice versa. Without those two hand in hand, being content is impossible to achieve. I am just grateful the Spirit is there to rebuke me all the time. You know that “tug” when you felt that something is not quite right and you are having second thoughts most especially when you are weighing the pros and cons. I suggest go for the pros always – follow the Spirit.
So who is the Spirit? Well, in the bible it says that,
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – John 14:26
My parents are the first persons I know who made a breakaway from a cultural tradition – baptism of newborn babies. When my husband and I went to visit my parents in my hometown last summer, my Mom was able to explain fully why they chose not to have all 5 of us kids be baptized when we were born – my Dad and his family are a devout Catholic (my Dad’s brother is a priest serving in Rome) and my Mom and her family are a devout Protestant (my great grandfather was a minister and one of the founders of the church).
She continued that both my Dad and her wanted to give honor in their respective religions thus, they left it all to God where all 5 of us will grow in our faith. I believe God was pleased with it for it was an example of setting aside their personal agenda and selfishness and chose to honor God instead by honoring in us this one great gift that God has bestowed us all – free will. Just like when Abraham sacrificed his son not knowing what will happen after, so did my parents by sacrificing us though there is a possibility we will all be led astray without a firm foundation in faith.
But God can never let that happen, God will never betray the trust that my parents have on Him. I believe it is part of God’s plan that circumstances will align and make good use of the free will that we have and will mold us into choosing faith that is beyond religion per se – something deeper, something personal and something that lasts – eternal.
This next one might be off topic but since we are talking about breaking away from traditions, I just want to share what I told my husband the other day. I was having these migraine attacks again for the last couple of days and I do not want to take any medications as it impedes my period. But two nights ago I had the worst migraine that I can’t help but cry the pain out. I am grateful that my husband was there to pacify and comfort me and insisted I take the meds, which I did. So I thought about death.
I told him, “Honey, when I die I don’t want people to be mourning over my death. I also want to be cremated and 3 days are enough for close friends and relatives to pay their respect. But I just want all to rejoice over my death. Be glad that I am already with our Father in Heaven. There is nothing else that will make me happiest but to inherit a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Rejoice that I am already free from pain, suffering, heartaches and all corruption of this world. Be glad and also look forward to the time when all of you will be joining me there.”
Nobody said that it is wrong to rejoice over the death of someone you love. Yet it is also a standard that grieving and mourning should take place over a loss. If I am to physically leave this world then I have to let the people I love have peace in their hearts which will also grant them passage to claiming what awaits when our mortal bodies turn to ashes.
Yes, break away from the tradition of feeling fear and the sadness that cripple most of us when it comes to death. There should be no mourning. Have peace and be glad that those who will leave this world and who believed in life in eternity and have claimed it are now in the safe haven of our Father and have been snatched free from the stronghold of the enemy forever.
Jesus had that kind of faith until death that is why death has no power over Him. To live in Christ is to have the same attitude and faith as He has,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Live as what Christ has asked us even if it means fighting for faith every second, every minute and every hour of the day every day. Do join me in the revolution of breaking worldly standards through the best weapon that God has in this world, the Spirit of Christ living inside the army of believers – us. 🙂