No matter how people pick job, relationships or lifestyles, society has its own way of transforming everything around.
This is not the issue of being open-minded or close-minded; neither being conservative or openly liberated. This is about conforming with the TRUTH.
“What is truth?” this was asked by Pontius Pilate to Jesus once the Lord was confronted before he was sentenced to be hung on the cross. And this line is popular among us when we don’t understand something, or if something is unclear or if we are doubtful and blinded or if we’re simply just IGNORANT.
In the book of John, many times Jesus was persecuted by those who can’t accept His teachings.
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)
“If you believe Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46-47)
“I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.” (John 6:26-27)
“Then they asked Him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.’” (John 6:28)
“Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen Me and still you do not believe.” (John 6:35-37)
“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drinks His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him.” (John 6:47, 49-51, 53, 56, 65)
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.” (John 7:7)
“To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:31-32, 34)
“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come from my own; but He sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language. For he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? I am telling you the truth, why you don’t believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:42-47)
It is finished.
Colossians 2:14 which says, “Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of its decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross..,” proved that it is DONE. IT IS FINISHED. This privilege was granted to all sinners.
But do we have the right to sin over and over again because we know God is merciful to forgive us? Do we have the right of choosing to sin because of the fact that we’re only humans and weak? Or, is it acceptable to say, “We’re doing it because everybody’s doing it!”?
I personally labeled lukewarm Christian as “picky Christian” for he would pick the ways and work of God the way he wanted. He would obey some and disregard others. He study the Word of God, attend regular church meetings but still conform to the things of the world and do the works of the flesh. Whilst compromising Christian half-heartedly wanted to fully follow God’s ways resulting of being trapped in a situation which leads him to the wrong way—the dead end.
Here are some: choosing to get drunk and go to places you know isn’t right for you because you’re ashamed to say “NO” to your friends or boss; or enjoying you’re one-night-stand to compromise with your lonely, deceived emotion?
Do they worth it?
Many years for so long, I’ve been so wrong about believing that I’ve already known Jesus and accepted Him as my personal savior. I realized those were just verbal and insincere. It was not from the heart.
I was in high school when I first encounter Jesus but it was only last year when I fully gave my heart to Him in full submission and confessing all of my sins which was followed by many spiritual visitations resulting to my spiritual growth. I’ve learned that spiritual growth has seasons-winter, spring, summer and fall.
It’s tragic to know that many Christian believers believe that they are safe as long as they attend church every Sunday. The truth is, it’s not when we start to attend Sunday school that we got born again, it’s not even after we got baptized in water but it is after our hearts are circumcised to Him with a crucified and dedicated life to His will. And unless we start having a personal intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ we’re still hanging on the cliff but if not, we’re well guided by the Holy Spirit on the right track. Knowing Him is first knowing His heart. Then you’ll know how to please Him.
Playing safe and playing church is not useful from the beginning since we have to also work with our salvation. It’s a daily basis the same as we eat every day and we sin every day so we must also pray every day and confess of our sins every day and ask for His forgiveness every day, so on and so forth.
The fact that I was baptized in water in 2003 could not exempt me from falling apart just as any other Christian does. My high school and college life had been a struggle both to my emotional and spiritual. I was overcome by the world and the worries of life. Many times I knew God was calling me and was knocking on my heart.
I had experienced spiritual drought. I had felt the emptiness, dissatisfaction and discontentment from life. As a result, I was asking and praying to know the Lord more and more. Ever since childhood, I have that hunger and thirst to know Him personally. That hunger did not die out though I was becoming busier in school, in work or in any other stuff as I was growing physically, emotionally, and mentally. In fact, that hunger grows more intensely the more I lose the time to pray and unable to have my quiet time and personal devotion to Him. And He’s gracious and true to His Word. He makes Him known to me through His Word, revelations, circumstances…
I want to share one of my night visions on February 1st 2015. I woke up at 2:45 in the morning and start writing what I saw in my dream.
In my dream, my dad was being interviewed for a Christian evangelistic TV program. These were his lines: “I used to have live-in partner for over 10 years but after 3 years of struggling, I ended up the relationship. I can’t take it anymore. (He explained how the relationship got so stormy and though he did not directly say but it could be understood that it rooted from the absence of LOVE.) Then I met this woman (his wife now, my stepmom) and I’d been so in love and she got lots of money. (He emphasize that it was because he became successful in his work.)
My sister as I thought was not paying attention on TV suddenly commented, maybe her ears could not agree with what she just heard.
That segment aired on TV seemed discouraging live-in relationships prior to marriage and fornication. What’s notable for me in his statement was he never mentioned the whole thing. Anyway, it’s hard to fit your whole story in a single minute. Mine was I also wanted him to share about his first family, the original, how we went through because of him, his mistakes. I was a little dismayed because on the interview or while recording his message, he still play safe and dishonest. He’s still afraid of what others say.
When my mom heard about his appearance on that TV program, she helped me understand the whole point that dad failed to say. I asked her, “Mom, why does he try to discourage live-in relationships prior to marriage? Why does he say, ‘I can’t take it anymore?” My mom answered, “He can’t stop getting jealous because he did not have legal documents to support his ownership over his partner. If his partner finds another man, he can’t do anything about it because they’re not married. So he was just afraid of losing his partner…that’s why he’s so possessive and unreasonably jealous and that’s why he said he can’t take it anymore.”
After this, I got another dream with different scene and characters and a different story. The location was luscious garden with overlooking valleys, hills and plains. There was an interesting spot there where steps on the hill seemed reach the sky. I was dying to take pictures on that view. I did favor to take some picture to a friend. I did take it perfectly and I would want her to do the same thing, of course with the steps as background. But when it’s my time to pose, she did not make it perfectly. Her shots were not my expectation. I reacted childishly out of dismay and I realized I’d been so selfish. I remember the days when I used to display lots of emotions while having pictorials. It’s like I was addicted to it to the point that I wanted them to take lots of pictures of me more than me to them and end up so disappointed (always) because the camera angles I wanted were not met.
Then my high school bestfriend came. We pose for a groupie. She changed a lot physically. It starts at her hair which turns into super blonde and curly from her original long silky straight hair. She said she only did change her hairstyle because her boss wanted her to do so. She’s just obedient fearing she might lose her job. Other friends like her new look. They crowded on her and took some groupie pose.
From that moment, the Holy Spirit warned me of my future company to work with: the company don’t respect diverse religious differences but only apply the company’s concerns and policies; they don’t accept excuses out from religious beliefs and practices; the manager and the HR are atheist. So I was warned to be careful so as not to compromise with my job over my walk with God. I assured Him that if that happens, I can easily hop to other company or find another job. Afterwards, there was a long silence. I did not know if the Holy Spirit agrees or not with me. Then I woke up.
Six months has already passed since my mom accepted the offer to be the caretaker of one of my cousin’s properties, a boarding house. She was obedient to the Lord for this task though she can’t accept any compensation. Others would wonder why she did not demand anything. She would simply say, “It is one way to help my nephew…it’s one of my ministry to my family and relatives.” From a worldly perspective, they can’t agree with my mom knowing my cousin is so wealthy and my mom is not. “What kind of help can you give when he already has lots of money?” they probably thought.
My cousin has been a lover of money ever since he succeeded in his business and got wealthy and don’t have the right relationship to the people around him–to his family and relatives and subordinates. In fact, he receives many death threats from former employees he had maltreated and abused. He hated ministers of God because he hated to give the tithes to the house of God. He antagonized them as only looking after his wealth. But since he doesn’t read the bible, he doesn’t believe about giving the tenth of our income to the Lord and even so we taught him about it, he’s still stiff-necked as he was. When his wife got sick of Cancer we thought he’d change. We thought he would come to Jesus. Eventually, his wife died and he got worse. So who says it is only those who are poor who needs helping hands? Are not the poor rich in the sight of God?
James 2:5 says, “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?”
A house and not a home?
My mom always wonder why most of the rooms in the boarding house she take care of are occupied by couples who are living together in a relationship out of the context of marriage. Then after I had that dream about my dad and my mom, I realized some things—“you are more effective to share to those who are in the situations you used to have.”
For 11 years, my parents were living together out of the context of marriage and were never married; I and my sister were illegitimate children. Honestly my parent’s life as couple was shaky, stormy and full of bitterness. My mom always played martyr to dad’s unfaithfulness.
I remember I had this very simple prayer to Him when I was 7 years old when I knew something was wrong and must be stopped, “I prayed that mom and dad would separate so that dad would no longer have the chance to hurt my mom and us.” If I wronged to have asked that prayer then why did He grant it? At my young age, I did not know if it was the matter to celebrate or a matter to grieve with because the result of the separation was hardship with my mom as a single parent but at the same time the baggage was taken away, that domestic violence. And not to mention the traumatic experience children would have is to let them choose who to live with, “mom or dad?”
Years after and even now, we never ever regret living under the roof of broken family as what they technically call it. In my opinion, family can’t be called broken although one member is missing physically or legally expelled or cast out (I’m not sure of the right word to use). Nevertheless, although all family members are physically present and tied together, it is still called “broken”; yes it’s broken because it’s incomplete without God, if God is not the center of their home. God is love. Both my parents are happily married to their respective partners now. I respected their legal partners, my stepmom and stepdad.
If we choose to be right, we can learn from others’ mistakes and by looking at Jesus as the center of our focus since He is the author and finisher of life.
I wanted to share one very interesting idea of Roberts Liardon in one of his books “God’s Generals” that I agree with.
Roberts said, “Evan Roberts had discovered the keys to revival. And if those keys were important then, they are certainly important now. I believe “repentance” is a word that is somewhat tarnished today. It has lost much of its meaning due to social issues and wrong attitudes. Some people are so carried away with God’s law of grace and mercy that they overlook the rest of His laws. Grace and mercy don’t give us license to live however we want to. We don’t live under cheap grace and mercy. The righteousness we enjoy as believers was purchased by the blood of Jesus—a price too great for words. If we don’t obey, we won’t receive. Repentance brought us into the kingdom of God, and repentance will keep us moving.
Also, we must love God more than we love anything else. When I was young boy, I felt impressed to quit playing basketball. There’s nothing wrong with basketball. But at the time, I knew what God called me to do, and it seemed I loved basketball more than I love to pray. So I quit playing basketball. God had set the plan for my life. I agree to it, and prayer became my life-giving force. It’s fine to enjoy life. Just make sure you don’t live life more than God.”
To God be the glory!