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CHRISTIANITY

HOLY WEAK

The end of the Lenten season is at hand topped off with a weeklong commemoration of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. The “HOLY WEEK” is anticipated by the Filipino people, not because of any spiritual undertone, but because of the long holiday weekend. It’s a chance for the working people to experience uninterrupted days of rest. So…who’s excited for a long holiday weekend? (If you’re reading this in the far future, I’m writing this during the enhanced community quarantine where everyone has been in lockdown for more than a month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Celebrating Jesus should be a default for the Christian. Apostle Paul declared it best to the believers in Philippi – “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21 NIV) The life of the Apostle Paul before his encounter with Jesus in the road to Damascus was so much against God, and yet, God in His love and sovereignty pursued Paul (it was Saul back then) to live a life with a greater purpose. That is why when the great Apostle said “For to me, to live is Christ…” it was a statement that as long as he is living, the life he is living will be in parallel to Christ. He can confidently say that because he has nothing to lose. Even dying is gain…profit! That is why, if you only have this week to think about Christ, to honor His sacrifice, then what does that make us?

Dedicating our lives to Jesus is never easy. Even Jesus said that the world will hate us because of Him (John 15:18; Matt 10:22). We will even be persecuted because of Jesus (Matt 5:11). The Christian way of living will be hard, and the only way for us to live it out the way it should be is when we understand that our hope is in the Lord (Isa 40:31). That is why our best shot in this world is to really stick close to Jesus. How close? Like you have “…been crucified with Christ…” (Gal 2:20). When you continue the verse, it says there that being crucified with Christ gives you a grace-oriented perception that it is no longer you and I who are living, it is Christ living in us!

So let’s get to my main point.

We, who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ, draw strength from the God who pursued us. We are spiritually weak and vulnerable. And it is in our weakness where God’s power is made complete and full. That is why we should never be ashamed of our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). Our capacity to comprehend the grace, mercy, and compassion of Christ is all because of the power of the Holy Spirit in us who teaches us all things (John 14:26).

In conclusion, during the holiest week of the year, we have to accept the fact that we are weak. If Jesus, in all His power, decided to veil His deity and become a man just to fulfill the Father’s plan (Phil 2:6-8), then we, who are spiritually weak, have no choice but to submit to God.

This is my first installment in my personal reflection regarding the importance of knowing who Jesus is. I hope and pray, that as we progress in our walk with God, that our ultimate understanding of His nature would radically change the direction of our goals and aspiration in life.

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

Categories
CHRISTIANITY

ENHANCED SPIRITUAL QUARANTINE

After weeks of being quarantined because of the rising COVID-19 dilemma, people have resorted to social media as their source of entertainment and frustration. People would often like, comment, post, and share things that do not go well with everyone. People from the extreme left would refute people from the utmost right, and vice versa. And if you’re neutral, you become prey to both parties. The heavy desire of people to connect through social media would sometimes push us to become hateful, vindictive and just plain rude.

Don’t mistake my introduction as a sign of empathy or neutrality, because I have my own take on what is happening around us. I am just choosing to shut up. A handful of family and friends are the only people I prefer to share my insights. They know me well enough to rebuke me or encourage me in love, especially when my unsolicited opinion is suddenly shared on Facebook. But as I extend my time in social media, my mental and emotional state is slowly deteriorating. I feel stress is beginning to brew in the recesses of my soul.

Step back.

In a time when social distancing is urged, I firmly believe that SOCIAL MEDIA DISTANCING should be more encouraged. It’s high time for us, Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ, to step back from the thinking of the world. Apostle Paul said it perfectly to the Christians of the Roman Empire – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” (Romans 12:1a NIV) Do not walk like the heathens do. Don’t talk like the unbelievers do. A higher calling is expected from us, and anything less is unacceptable. Anything less is plainly a violation of God’s integrity. Anything less is a sin. So if your social media account becomes so unbearable, and your notion of justice and fairness is being challenged with every post you read, then take the Biblical route. Don’t react like the world, but respond like Jesus. Master the art of compassion, and let God take your Christianity to the next level.

Reset.

“…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1b NIV) Stepping back is just the first step. Now is the hard part – changing. Transformation comes from a renovation of our thinking. My dad is in construction, and I remember him telling his foreman during a renovation of a building to TAKE DOWN FOUNDATIONS WITH COMPROMISED INTEGRITY and replace them with new ones. When our worldview is not founded on absolute truth, then integrity is sure to be compromised. If sin has caused the damage, then let’s confess our sins and let God cleanse us from all our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Confession of sin is another way of stepping back and acknowledging that something needs to change. Don’t let the quicksand of social media hate pull you down a lifestyle void of compassion. Repent and be transformed. Continue your journey to a more pleasing and gracious version of you.

Dive right back.

With a better understanding of God’s love and grace, we have a better chance of surviving out there. I’m not saying that we will be able to withstand everything life will throw at us, but we “…will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…” (Romans 12:1c) That is what matters. Even Jesus, the third person of the Godhead, wanted what God the Father has intended for Him. Jesus earnestly prayed to God – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV) YET NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE. Once every thought in our minds is fixed unto Jesus, and we slowly build a mental capacity to somehow grasp on to the Sovereignty, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Love of our God, then we start to surrender everything to God. We lift up both hands in submission, knowing that God, in His unwavering righteousness, perfect justice, and absolute sovereignty, has everything in control. Whatever the government decrees, God has assured us that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord…” (Proverbs 21:1a KJV). Whoever wishes us ill, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6 KJV).

Stay rooted.

As we dive back into the social media stream, let us remain in Christ…and only by the grace of God can we remain in Him! Do not let the hate-filled comments, the burdening posts, and the discouraging news take you away from our stand in Jesus. Be armed with compassion and integrity, and “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV) It’s harder than it seems, but always know that when we fail and fall – Step back, reset, dive back in, and pray to God that we stay rooted.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Categories
CHRISTIANITY

FEARDEMIC

These are trying times.

Here in our part of the world, our government has declared a nationwide community quarantine to curb the increasing number of people affected by COVID-19. We have been locked in our homes for almost a week, and I can feel anxiety creeping up on me. Not just about the current scare of being infected and even the possibility of my loved ones getting the virus, but the aftermath of this whole ordeal. Stocks have been in a freefall and businesses, big and small, are starting to lay off employees just to stay afloat.

I’ve been hearing of a great worldwide recession that’s coming, even bigger than what caused the great depression. Analysts from all over are trying to predict the economic pulse of the world after the pandemic. Everyone is looking for stability. Everyone is looking for security. I, for one, am guilty of this.

So what should we do?

Maybe after this sentence, you will hit the back button and look for another article to read. Still, I would like to tell you this – It’s time to anchor our stability and security on God! Yes, I am the kind of person who has built my entire belief system on the One Who created the heavens and the earth. I am a follower of Christ. But, that doesn’t mean that I am well off. In reality, fear is my go-to emotion. I’m not proud of it, but I need to address it. That is the whole point of this whole article.

From the start of the pandemic, fear has been slowly taking hold of my core beliefs. Slowly demolishing the system of beliefs that I have been learning all throughout my life. Biblical precepts were slowly being unloaded because of my unbelief. Fear took away my peace…and that opened a whole new level of internal problems for me. Panic and anger ensued. I was spiraling downwards…and I was risking the peace of my family too. I had to bounce back.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

This passage gave me the opportunity to bounce back. God was offering a peace that was beyond comprehension. The kind of peace that will bound my thinking towards Jesus. So, when the writer of Hebrews told us to FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS (Heb 12:2), it was under the premise of gaining God’s gift of peace. If it was just up to us, fear will never depart from us. Remember, the spirit of fear is not from God (2 Tim 1:7). Peace is what God has in store for us.

Now, I don’t know when all of this will end. I have no clue what will happen next. I’m just taking it one day at a time…because today’s trouble is enough for today! (Matt 6:34)