During one Friday Bible Study, P. Euge brought up an interesting observation on how we measure our walks with God.
Whenever we’re asked about how we are in our relationship with God, the answer of the average somewhat-regular-youth-attendee or even the average youth leader might be something related to how often we’ve read our Bibles that week.
P. Euge said that the measure of our walks with God is not how often we read His Word, but how often we apply it in to our lives (non-verbatim).
That thought has been ringing in my head ever since. And it made me realize how much I struggling with the application of anything I learn (e.g. instruments, dancing, interior design, rendering, His Word).
Thinking about it now, I think that I’ve always held my own self back. I’ve always had this excuse in my head that I learn differently from others. I need to be taught how to do things step-by-step. I need to be guided to fully understand something. I’ve never been the type to push myself. I was always more inclined to just taking my time with things (so much time, that I’d never get anything done!).
But I see now that this mindset has gone on too long and has made me counterproductive and so annoyingly complacent in everything I do.
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
I think I’ve finally grasped this passage.
I don’t know if any of you can relate. A lot of the time, when I encounter a simple-enough, self-explanatory verse in the Bible, I take it lightly. Don’t just hear, DO! Simple enough. Alright, noted.
I take it lightly in the sense that I feel like it’s so simple, that it should come naturally when the time comes that I need to apply something from His Word. When in fact, because I am still human, there is always going to be a struggle between doing what is right and wrong in God’s eyes.
So by the time I close my Bible and journal or walk out from the service, the self-explanatory verse just slips away because my mind’s hold on it wasn’t as tight as it should have been. How much more loosely would I hold on to a difficult passage if I don’t really take hold of the “simpler” things that God is trying to remind me or teach me? I’ve settled with being a hearer of His Word, when God has called us to be doers of His Word.
I’ll end with this part of a song that I am now taking to heart:
I will seek You in the morning
and I will learn to walk in Your ways
and step by step, You’ll lead me
and I will follow You all of my days
Step by Step (Sometimes by Step) by Rich Mullins
This year, I’ve been hesitant to pray the words “break me, Lord”.
This week, reluctantly muttered it during one of my growth groups.
And now, I believe He has. He’s allowed my insecurities to become so visible again to me that I can’t help bawling my eyes out at 2:25 in the morning.
Slightly shaking, I tried to sleep it off, but I couldn’t. This led me to open up God’s Word.
"Come into His presence and present your heart to Him," said the devo guide. "Allow God to teach you to pray."
"But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good,
in the presence of the godly.”
Psalm 52:8-9 (ESV)
I know this isn’t for nothing. And that God has a purpose for this sudden resurfacing of… let’s just call it “stuff”.
Holding on to that hope,
What are we really pursuing in life? And is it something of eternal value?
What does it mean to pursue Christ-likeness?
Before continuing on with this post, may I request that you first read Psalm 13?
My parents and I had our weekly family devo time this morning before my dad left for a retreat. We read Psalm 13, a short Psalm from David.
Throughout this day, this psalm has been replaying itself in my head. The feelings of discouragement from school and other personal things have been coming and going and coming back.
"How long, O Lord?" David asks. I’ve been asking God the same thing. The struggle with discouragements I had from the first quarter of this year are still here. And I just can’t seem to get myself over them.
Why do I feel so incompetent? Why can’t I be like this or that? How long, O Lord, til I get over all these frustrations I have with myself?
A close friend once (or twice?) told me that I thought about myself too much. Hah. Oh, how blunt words can be so sharp! But I know that friend said that with much love.
I recall that moment and now wonder, maybe that’s the reason I’m so easily discouraged. My eyes are so set on myself that I forget about God.
"How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?"
Psalm 13:2 (ESV)
Wow. The psalm’s first two verses reflect how David felt as if God wasn’t there. And because he didn’t feel God was around, he depended on himself to get by. Which only got him “sorrow” in his heart “all the day”.
"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me."
Psalm 13:5-6 (ESV)
And yet, the psalm ends with verses expressing David’s trust in God and his joy because He knows from experience that God is faithful.
I supposed focusing on myself allows me to see just my incompetency.
It also gives me the mindset that my life - and the lives of others - should be revolved around making my life as smooth-sailing as possible. But that’s verging onto a different (but related) topic.
But if I shift my focus from myself to God and how He has dealt bountifully with me, I see my incompetency and how God works in me and through me for a greater purpose than I’ve set for myself.
Hai. Well, I’d like to end with another Psalm from my devos this evening:
"…but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord."
Psalm 32:10b (ESV)
God bless, everyone. Night!
During a very very low time in my teenage life, I resolved to blog about something I was thankful for every single day.
To remind myself of God - who He is and what He’s done.
In the Old Testament, we see that the point of many of the feasts (celebrations!) and commands given to the Israelites was to remember that God is God and to remember what He, as God, did for the Israelites (brought them out of Egypt, provided food and water, etc.).
We find one in Deuteronomy 4:9 (ESV): “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children-“
"the things that your eyes have seen" refer to how God sustained, protected, and preserved the Israelites. The "things" refer to God’s love shown through His faithfulness. The verse says to take care not to forget about what God has done.
But what usually happened? The Israelites forgot the many great things God had done for them. And when they forgot, they acted like they themselves were their own gods. They did whatever they wanted, disregarding the commands their one and only true God gave to them.
This still sort of happens today. Well, to me at least. I’ll tell you guys what I’ve been feeling recently. Let me know if you can relate.
I’ve been feeling discouraged (and paranoid) lately. I’ve been worrying a lot about what other people think about me, thinking that some people don’t like me or that I’m doing something wrong or that there’s something wrong with the way I think. It goes on, on and off. (I honestly thought I already overcame when high school passed, but - HAHA - guess not. Lol.)
And then I realized that I haven’t properly thanked God in a really long time. I just say a quick thank You whenever His blessings (of all forms - whether good or bad, happy or sad - lol see what I did there) come. I am well aware that I don’t at all deserve them and that it’s really out of His grace that they happen.
So, what’s the problem? I already know that. What could be the issue here?
This is the problem: The moment distress comes, I forget just how much He has blessed me. I forget that He is God, capable of anything and willing to do anything for the good of those who love Him.
This is why I’ve decided to start regularly posting about things I am thankful to God for again.
In my life, I know that God has been so loving. Always always always. Always loving. How could I forget that? How could I forget about the love God has for me despite how dirty and unworthy I am of it?
Unfortunately, the world is full of things that consumes our attention.
That’s why I need to humble myself daily and remember that God is God. But despite His being God, He reached out to me (and you! and you! and you! and you! All of us! Hihi) even though I am a sinner.
To be saved from eternal separation from God is the greatest blessing I could ever have, and I have it. Not be cause of anything I’ve done, but because of everything God has done. What is there not to rejoice and give thanks about?
Remembering how God saved me (and can save others, too!) reminds me that I have the ultimate reason to have joy, despite the times of distress. And that makes times of distress, not so… distressing. Heh. :)
And because I’m awkward and do not know how to end this blog post, I will end with the verse that reminded me of all this:
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
God bless, everyone!
For our internship this summer, we’re supposed to intern under two firms (one ID firm, one design-related firm), a hundred hours each. We’re also required to have either one major project or five minor projects.
If you read my previous post, then you know that I already have a major project.
Our block was only allowed to release our curriculum vitae’s and cover letters last week. Unfortunately, most firms we would contact no longer had any slots for interns.
I didn’t know how in the world I would get accepted into any firms. I mean, if there were even any slots at all, why would they pick me?
Here’s what happened.
Saturday, I sent my CV to four firms: Firm A, Firm B, Firm C, and Firm D. Firms A, B, and C, I found online. Firm D was referred to me by one of my dad’s friends from church (apparently, he was friends with its managing director!).
Saturday night, I had learned from a blockmate of another really good firm, Firm E, that I could try to apply into. I emailed Firm E Sunday morning.
Monday, I called Firm E asking if they had received my email. They said they would have to wait for the principal designer’s decision. Within the day, I found out that several of my blockmates were already accepted in some firms, but that didn’t get me down
yet. I was still pumped up, and trusting God.
"Alright! Some blockmates already have firms! Woo! Praise God for that. Still waiting for my turn. Lord, oh, Lord, I trust Youuuuuuuuuuuu.
"Replaying in my head: "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord *chen-chen-chen (oo, kasama yung tatlong downstroke sa gitara)*”
Posted these on Facebook, Monday night. I tend to post a lot whenever I panic. Haha.
That night, though, I found out that my friend got into Firm E. I was happy for her, but I was crying when I found out. At this time, I had received no notice at all from any of the firms I tried to apply for.
"Faith-stretching. Nakakaiyak, Lord, but I’m still holding on to You. Hoho."
Posted on Facebook, Tuesday early early early in the morning after I found out about my friend getting into Firm E.
I was really sad. Insecurities were creeping into my mind again. What about me, Lord?
Today (well, technically yesterday since it’s already 12:35 am), I had called up Firms A, B, C, and E (I didn’t get to call Firm D, cuz I needed to go to UP).
Firms A, B, and C said they no longer had any slots for interns, while - THANKFULLY- Firm E said that they still needed to ask their Principal Designer. After a couple of minutes, I received an email from them saying that they would contact me within the day regarding my internship. It was time for me to leave after reading this email. But first, I posted these on Facebook:
"So close! O_O They will inform me via email within the day. The only firm left with a possible slot for me.
Lord, You know what I need and I know You will give it to me in Your perfect timing. Humunuuuuuuu. Lalalalala.”
Choosing to have faith and to trust God, I posted this:
“I’m claiming this today!
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
Psalm 30:11-12, ESV
Here’s the SJVV:
"You have turned my ‘humunuuuu’s’ into ‘yaaaaaaaay’s"!
And You have done so that I may have more reason to praise You.
GRABE LORD, JUST THANK YOU.”
Later on in the day, I decided to email Firm E asking if it would help them if I sent my portfolio and they said yes. Before or after this - I don’t remember anymore - I received a text from my dad saying that the Managing Director of Firm D (yes, the one I didn’t get to call) said that I should visit their office tomorrow. Alright, so I have a sliver of hope there!
I was able to email Firm E my portfolio even if I was out of the house. I was able to spend time with my boyfriend, my friends - even had a one-on-one chat with someone I truly missed, and my growth group (where we got to talk about not getting the things we want only to find that there were better things in store and much more).
When I got home, my dad told me about his conversation with his friend that referred me to Firm D, which sort of encouraged me because it seemed like I was sure to be accepted! Midway through my dad’s pointers for when I meet with the managing director of Firm D tomorrow, I read an email from Firm E saying that I was to be accepted but for the second batch of interns!
HERE’S THE THANG.
I was worried about have to fix up the schedules between two firms to meet all two hundred hours, but with what happened, I didn’t have to arrange any schedules!
The first batch of interns for Firm E starts next week. And since Firm D wants to meet with me tomorrow, they would most probably expect me to start next week as well. If I had been part of the first batch of Firm E’s interns, I’d have extra stress from having to arrange the hours I’d need to complete with the two firms. Thankfully, Firm E emailed me back saying that they would begin the second batch of interns after the first batch had completed their one hundred hours. They even implied that they would check if it would fit my schedule. How considerate!
Amazing how God DID turn my mourning into dancing today! I didn’t know how I was ever going to get accepted into a firm. I didn’t know how my schedule was gonna turn out. I didn’t know God would do something about all this, but wow.
There were so many uncertainties, but I got more than I asked for today! All glory to God, really. It’s ANOTHER one of those faith-stretching waits where I am not at all in control, where He takes away all possible ways for me to say that I got where I am because of what I’ve done.
Indeed, I am where I am all because of God has shown me grace. I did not deserve any of this. He knows how sinful I am, and yet He has still chosen to show me that He is taking care of me.
Thank You so much, Lord. May these faith-stretching circumstances come all-the-more that my trust may always be in You and never in anything else, anyone else, or myself. May You be glorified in all this!! You’re the only One that deserves this glory!
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (ESV)
*Update on meeting up with Firm D: I got there, and realized that my professor might not approve of this as a “design-related firm”. It was another few hours of waiting upon the Lord, but, after exchanging emails with my professor, she approved. I start on Monday. :D Praise God!
I was depressed from February up until mid-April. (I use the word “depressed” simply for lack of a better, shorter term. “Sad” or “down” aren’t enough to describe how asdfghjkl; I’ve felt. So I guess to make things clear, when I say that I was depressed, I’ve been feeling extra sad, down, frustrated, hopeless, and all sorts of negative feelings about myself. And I felt like I had come to a standstill. Like my mind would just be blank sometimes.)
It was mostly because of my performance in school, which then caused my insecurities to branch out into almost every aspect of my life.
I felt like I wasn’t good at anything that mattered, even if they were things that I was passionate about. Like with interior design. I was thinking, I love interior design. I love being in this field. But why is it that I’m not able to pull off what is required of me? Why is it that I don’t seem to be on the same level as any of my blockmates? Why have I been stagnant in the development of my skills?
I felt worthless. Not just because I felt as if I wasn’t good at anything. I was asking God, How am I going to glorify You with work like mine? How am I going to glorify You when I’m simply not okay with my schoolwork?
As I’ve said countless times before, my friends would tell me that I’m just tired, that I’m handling a lot of things (ministries, mostly). But I just felt like I couldn’t say that anymore. Sure, they are factors, but I know that I could have been doing more (Or could I?).
But instead of using that knowledge to spur me on to become a better student, I just became even more insecure and I felt even more worthless.
I remember thinking, Am I never going to know what it feels like to be good at something? Will I ever know what it feels like to really be successful at something?
I’m not after just being good or just being successful. I don’t know if this will make sense to you, but I don’t think I’ve ever been able to give the glory back to God because I was good at something or I did a wonderful job at something. And it makes me feel bad because I doubt whether or not I still glorify God.
I’m supposed to have a good testimony. And to have a good testimony, I have to do my best. But I haven’t been doing my best. And that doesn’t glorify God. And glorifying God is what it’s all about.
I hit a really low point. Gosh. I didn’t know how I was going to get better from there. It had already been more than two months. I had never been that depressed for so long. When does it get better?
I had been waiting for God to tell me something through my devos. For a long time, my devos had been about the stubborn hearts of the Israelites, their pride, their unfaithfulness. (If you saw some of my posts in the last three months, you would see that they’ve mostly been short or that they’ve come in the form of pictures. I didn’t blog much because I still couldn’t understand what I was going through.)
But toward the third week of April, God started giving me snippets of what He was to reveal to me.
He first reminded me about what devos is really about. For those that don’t know what devos are, it’s basically Christian lingo for the time you spend with God, reading the Bible and praying. The essence of it is not as routine as it sounds. But it is so easy to get caught up in the routine, which is precisely what happened to me. I got the discipline of doing my devos everyday down. I read no matter how busy. I wrote things down in my devo journal, even if it was just a short entry. So, I didn’t realize that I wasn’t exactly on track until my mom sent me this link: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/you-need-hunger-1/
Here’s an excerpt of the podcast on memorizing Scripture: What if I said to you, “You’re so disciplined in eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. You rarely miss a day…But you would say, “No, it’s not discipline. I’m hungry.” And so I would say to you, it’s not that you are lacking discipline. It’s that you are not hungry.”
Lesson #1: Spending time in God’s Word and in prayer will not require discipline if you are truly hungry for it. And we become hungry for God when we understand that He is what we truly, truly need.
I had forgotten the importance of God in my life. I had forgotten about the importance of my Creator, my Savior, my Healer, my Redeemer. Typing this now, it’s crazy to think that that was even possible. After all He had done for me? How could I have gotten so distracted with the world and its temporary pleasures?
It’s just crazy. But it’s the same thing that happened to the Israelites.
Lesson #2: Forgetting about how important God is in your life and how faithful He has been leads you to sin.
Last April 13 (boyfriend’s birthday!), Frontline had it’s first ever sem-ender where we watched Francis Chan’s Basic Series. One thing that hit me was how important it is to pray everyday. But this isn’t the kind of prayer that’s just memorized or that you just breeze through for the sake of routine or tradition. It should be a sincere prayer. A sincere prayer everyday. This ties up with Lesson #1, because the sincerity comes with the understanding that it is so important to nurture our relationship with God.
It reminded me that prayer changes the one praying more than it changes God. Our prayers don’t persuade God, but when we sincerely pray regularly, we have a change of heart one way or another. Because when we truly meditate on the words we pray while meditating on God’s Word, too, that’s where we can start understanding who God is, what He’s for, and how we are in relation to Him and His purpose.
For me, I had lost that sincerity. I had fallen into that routine, because I was busy and I was tired. I thought that reading the Bible was enough, because He’d understand that I was busy and tired. I didn’t take His Word to heart by praying. This is why I was so lost. In my depression, I felt like I was just floating. Not really going anywhere and not really doing anything. I was just there, wherever “there” was.
And you know how every beginning of the semester, I get all pumped up to do better and I lift it up to God, but you’ll see in my blogs how it always goes. I’ll always be hyped up in the beginning, but I’ll always end up ‘hanging by a thread’.
Lesson #3: Not praying to God changes your heart as much as praying to Him does.
After watching the Basic episode on prayer, I knew what happened: I stopped lifting it up to God. I stopped praying. And when I stopped praying, my mindset changed. And that’s what happened to me. I lost focus because I stopped praying sincerely. Instead of doing my best in school, I had become a procrastinating lazy butt. And I wasn’t even good at it. Haha. It just wasn’t in me to do my part.
When that happened, I let myself forget about God’s faithfulness in my life and it became all about me. It wasn’t obvious to me at first, because in my head, my worry still seemed to be about whether or not I was living a God-glorifying life.
Then eventually I realized that I had become so puffed up. I was so proud that I couldn’t take how badly I had failed. I suppose I was being so hard on myself because I thought that I shouldn’t be failing. I’m not trying to justify my failing, okay? Haha. I’m just talking about how I was handling my faults. I felt so hopeless because of that. I started to wonder if God would still be good to me.
The next day, Sunday, I was extremely down again. In the afternoon, I was taking a nap because I wanted to ‘get away’ for a while. I woke up to my mom praying for me and rubbing my back. If you know me, you know that I was crying when that was happening. She was telling me that God is always with me.
And you know how God already knows what we pray for even before we pray them? Well, this was one of those times where it was evident. While my mom was praying for me, my dad came in from a meeting saying that the church needed some areas designed and constructed (This was one of the things that was getting me worried about because it was a requirement for a summer to have a major project or five minor project). God was already working on mine and my mom’s prayers before we even verbally prayed them.
Lesson #4: God really does have everything under control.
The following day, I did my devos. This time, it wasn’t about the stubbornness of the Israelites. Instead, it was about how God would restore them despite their stubborn pride. And God would not only restore, He would even bless them. If you read Jeremiah 32:36 onwards, you would understand why I was so encouraged by this passage.
Check this other passage out from Jeremiah 33, too:
Right now, I’m still trying to fight away the negativity. It’s really hard. But in the three months that I’ve been depressed, looking back, I know I can say that God is really working things out for me.
He’s piecing everything together for me, but for Him to do that, I have to let Him have all the pieces I’m still holding on to. No, it doesn’t mean I don’t have to do anything. It’s more like I need to stop doing things my way and start doing things God’s way.
I need to understand once again what it really means to live for God.
I don’t like the feeling of making mistakes or offending people. I really don’t. I’m sure no one does, but I’ve been told that I’m too hard on myself sometimes. But it happened today, I think, and I guess it’s the perfectionist in me that’s making me feel all these… ‘feels’.
What scares me the most about making mistakes or offending people is that people might link it to me being a Christian and they might just get turned off with the whole thing (which has been happening a lot since forever) and not give it a chance.
But, through my devos (for those that don’t know, this is time spent reading God’s Word), God rebuked me, reminded me of what I should be doing, and reminded me of His mercy.
Here’s two of the verses that hit me today:
"Go through, go through the gates;
prepare the way for the people;
build up, build up the highway;
clear it of stones;
lift up a signal over the peoples.”
Isaiah 62:10 (ESV)
This verse reminded me that I should be clearing the highway of stones for the ‘peoples’, referring to those from nations that aren’t Israel that are willing to follow and obey God. Clearing the stones is like clearing the path to having a relationship with God of obstructions that discourage people (like, being judgmental, not being loving, etc.) from seeing how wonderful it is to have a relationship with God.
"Let all that you do be done in love."
1 Corinthians 16:14 (ESV)
It’s not like I’m deserving to carry this message of God’s saving grace. I’m far from perfect. I make mistakes everyday. So who am I to so easily say all these things after I’ve just done something wrong? But here’s another verse that reminds me of God’s amazing love, grace, and mercy:
"The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life."
1 Timothy 1:15-16 (ESV)
After making a mistake, which I am bound to do for the rest of my time in this earthly body, the best I can do is ask for forgiveness from God, repent, and do my best, relying on God’s strength, to live the kind of life He’s called me to live, aiming to glorify Him in everything I do.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. :)
Last Christmas break, I wanted to blog about how being nice to someone is a choice. I forgot exactly what I was going through at the time that would bring me to want to blog about it, but I know that something like this popped into my head:
Being nice to someone that’s easy to be nice to is not really a choice.
Well, it is a choice, because some people might not choose to be nice to people that are easy to be nice to, no matter how nice they really are! But, I guess, what I mean to say is: if we’re nice to people that are easy to be nice to, then the act of being nice might just be based on feelings and not really on obedience. It might just be.
The test comes when you encounter someone that isn’t easy to be nice to, which I think is what had happened to me last Christmas break. Or around that time. I know I’m generally a nice person. A bit moody and cranky sometimes, but generally I’d call myself a nice person. However, I know that when someone hits a nerve, I have the great potential to go crazy-angry.
This is when I started to ask myself whether or not I was being nice because it was easy or convenient or if it was really out of obedience to God.
In fact, now that I think about it, I’m called to be more than nice, I’m called to love, even my enemies.
I decided to blog about this now because “something came up” that reminded me of this topic. After a while of being frustrated about a certain… thing, I remembered what my dad had shared to me a couple nights before about what he tells couples he counsels:
Whenever a couple gets into a fight, they shouldn’t look at the faults of the other, but instead, they should ask God how they can grow from this and what they can learn from it.
So, I was praying to God earlier, Lord, what do you want me to learn from this? He led me to this passage:
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Galatians 5:16-26 (ESV)
Now, there’s a lot in this passage to take on, but I’ll focus on “being nice” to those who aren’t easy to be nice to. It may not really be mentioned in this passage, but the principle that this passage in Galatians has, I think, still applies.
As Christians, we’re called to live by the Spirit, not by our own flesh, not by our own feelings, not by our own thoughts. If we live by our feelings, then we do whatever our feelings and thoughts say to do. If we live by our feelings and thoughts, then we do whatever satisfies those feelings and thoughts.
But, if we live by the Spirit, then we do whatever the Spirit tells us to do, we do whatever satisfies the desires of the Spirit.
Going back to my original topic, I think for me, this has allowed me to rethink why it is I’m nice and to check if I’m really being nice or if I’m really loving because it’s convenient or because it is a command from my Lord and Savior.
Thoughts? Questions? Share and ask away!
I am tired. Currently staying up late and running on only one hour’s worth of sleep from yesterday! But God’s Word refreshes me! :)
"Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called upon his name. They called to the Lord, and he answered them.”
Psalm 99:6 (ESV)
"For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Psalm 100:5 (ESV)
If there’s anything I’ve (re)learned this week, it’s that my confidence of victory with whatever I’m going through should not be in what I am capable of (because I’m really not capable of that much), but in God Himself, His power, His faithfulness, and His steadfast love.
This week has been crazy, but crazy-amazing, too!I praise God for everything, even the sucky stuff, that happened!
I had been praying about my grades for a month. I don’t think that that’s me being grade conscious. I really don’t, because I wasn’t praying for them to be high. I was praying that I wouldn’t get any failing mark.
I started the semester out lazy, but I do believe I stepped out of that phase toward the middle of the semester. Eventually, though, I just became tired. I’d always get home late because of my crazy 21-unit schedule that included evening classes. And as if school wasn’t stressful enough, I was also transitioning from living with my parents to living alone, the effects of which I did not see or feel right away.
It became a regular thing to fall asleep on schoolwork before I could get anything done. But even though I was accidentally getting sleep, I still woke up tired. So, I more or less knew that I wasn’t doing well in school. For most of the semester, I didn’t stress myself so much over the low grades I received for seatworks, assignments, plates, etc. With where I was at the time (with the whole living alone thing) and with all the other responsibilities I had in ministries and with that crazy 21-unit schedule, I really just wanted to learn and get by.
I began to worry about my grades toward the end of the semester. What if the grades I received weren’t enough to get me to pass my majors? I did the best that I could, given my circumstances, but that didn’t get me high grades. Now, since most my majors are “seasonal”, failing one of them would mean automatically being delayed for a whole year. That’s what I was worried about.
So, like I said, I’ve been praying about my final grades for about a month. Before the due date for the submission of grades, I already saw five out of seven grades and they were alright. So, there were two grades left. One of those classes was this one major that I was extremely worried about simply because the finally plate I had submitted was probably only 60% finished and because I had practically failed the one and only exam and esquisse in that class.
I was really worked up about it. I knew I was worrying, and I knew I wasn’t completely trusting in God. I’d look for security from my friends, asking them if they thought that our professor would fail me. I even texted my professor asking her, if it wasn’t too unprofessional, if she would allow me to explain why my final plate was so incomplete, so that she might consider not failing me. She didn’t reply. I was really struggling to just trust God and wait patiently for the grade to come out.
But as I was struggling and waiting, I saw that God was teaching me two things I had to relearn: 1) to put my security in Him and 2) to surrender to Him.
Whenever I’d ask my friends’ opinion on the possibility of my professor failing me, regardless of their answer, I still wouldn’t feel at peace. When I texted my professor about my concern regarding my final grade three times in the span of five days, I received no reply from her, leaving me worried still.
In retrospect, I saw that He was teaching me to trust Him and not rely on the assurance that people give, because it’s really only God who can give that full assurance (that He is sovereign and in control, not necessarily that I would pass). While I was waiting for the grade to come out, He really took away any possible source of (false) security to teach me that He is the only real security we could ever have.
And because He is the only security, I had to remember what “surrender” meant. He reminded me that I needed to surrender things I wanted in life, things that I let take the place of God as my security. Why? Because if something were to go wrong – like, say, if I failed that class I was so worked up about – then I wouldn’t have joy in Him. But I had to remember that my joy is in Christ alone, my joy comes from the relationship I have with God. With my worries surrendered to God and my security in Christ, whatever the result would be, I would have joy because of my relationship with God. Now, surrendering doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do anything about it. I think surrendering means, doing what you can while you still can, and letting God handle the things we just don’t have control over. It’s not worrying because you know that you’ve done your part, and you know that it’s already in God’s hands. And, whatever He lets happen or doesn’t let happen, whether or not it was what you originally wanted for yourself, you still praise Him, because you understand that He is God, yet you have a relationship with Him.
Processing all that’s happened, I find it so amazing (and amusing) how God really uses the things that happen in our lives to teach us and remind us that, basically, He is all we need.
(I’m not a fan of ‘The Message’ version of the Bible, but I do like how this verse was put.)
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)