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“Full-time ministry.”

What do I even think about when the phrase flickers in my mind?

For a long time, it was the image of a pastor – preaching his heart out without fear or favour, only for the glory of God.

It was the image of a monk – casting away his own desires and dreams to consecrate his life for God.

It the image of a missionary – going through unimaginable difficulties to proclaim the good news even in the direst of circumstances, going so far as to pay the ultimate price if necessary.

But it was not the image of myself – though I call myself a Christian – to do the things I just mentioned above. As if only a certain group of Christian were special, and had the gifts and calling to do said things.

“That is not my calling,” I deceive myself.

“I will just do my part and leave the grand plans to those who are anointed.”

Sophistry.

As if Christians are not all called to live as sons of God (Matt 6:9), servants of the Lord (Luke 17:10), and slaves to righteousness (Rom 6:18). And although I describe them in three ways, they mean the same thing.

As if Christians are not all called to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I (Jesus) have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20).

As if Christians are not called to put to death the old self, and put on the new self – to, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col 3:5-17).

As if the kingdom of God is not at hand – as if the end times were not near – as if we, not Jesus, are Lord of our lives –

As if I knew not, let alone understood, the eschatological reality of the world we live in.

As if.

According to Packer, we dither to serve Christ in cheerful self-abandonment because of unbelief.

The Lord said, “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” (Matt 9:37-38)

Yet, despite our belief, we are so often afraid that the answer to that prayer is “you.”

You are the labourers that I will send to harvest the field.”

“No, Lord. Not me! I am not suitable,” we squirm.

The Lord himself displayed obedience to the Father, going as far to sacrifice himself on the cross, even though he was without sin, completely undeserving of death, and to a certain degree, reluctant:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt 26:39)

And Isaiah, when the Lord asked for someone to do his will, volunteered himself:

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” ” (Isaiah 6:8).

Yet, we dither.

If we claim we believe, does every aspect of our lives reflect that claim?

Are we bold with our faith, or are we furtive?

The calling to be a Christian boils down to this – be the human being God designed us to be. In other words, to be like Jesus – the one called Son of God, the Suffering Servant, the Righteous One.

Having been positionally sanctified, will we be perfected in our lifetime? No. But it is unacceptable as a Christian to not strive towards that goal.

If in our sober moments, we cannot determine and commit to what is holy, what hope have we to make the right choice when faced with temptations?

Sin is real, and remains a force over our earthly flesh.

But so is the saving work of Christ, and his sending of the Spirit to aid us in our lifelong deathmatch with sin.

In the words of John Owen:

“Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.”

God has called.

We must answer.

Q

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do all who walk eventually run?

do all who walk eventually run?

how shall i know if i run, or if i merely walk?
what is running?
how does it look like, what would i look like?
and if i ask, does it mean that i do not run?
for those with eyes on the wreath,
this would seem like the silliest question
(but still, take heed lest you fall).
but for us who are less athletic and more ordinary,
how do we know, what shall we do?
and if the exhortation is simply, ‘run, you fools, run!’
does it mean that there is no room for simple folk,
or do all who walk eventually run?
in such a way that the struggles of our youth grow obsolete,
in such a way that we will never need to ask?

Coup d’état

the first time; a trigger – the flashpoint.
the second time; affirmation – the declaration of war.
arrogance slew innocence,
and every subsequent time a bloody battle.
the smell of iron fills the air; the rivers are dyed red.
a war i have no chance of losing,
yet everyday i am defeated.
how am i to go back to how things were?
how am i to move forward to how things should be?


Q

We have in our day started by getting the whole picture upside down.  Starting with the doctrine that every individual is ‘of infinite value,’ we then picture God as a kind of employment committee whose business it is to find suitable careers for souls, square holes for square pegs.  In fact, however, the value of the individual does not lie in him.  He is capable of receiving value.  He receives it by union withChrist.  There is no question of finding for the individual a place in the living temple which will do justice to his inherent value and give scope to his natural idiosyncrasy.  The place was there first.  The individual was created for it.  He will not be himself until he is there.

C.S. Lewis

let’s (not) burn together

fire-hands-bound

i googled, ‘hand from fire’.

in the garden were placed pillars of flames,
and each flame made the last one appear tame.
one by one i believed they would consume me;
and so conjured a lie in foolish pyromancy –

‘perhaps it is my fate to embrace this blazing sea.’

but you in mercy unbeknownst extinguished them all.
and as i thrashed about lamenting my pain,
you ensured that not even an ember remained.

you set above me a long, healing rain,
and saw this feeble wretch retained.

now older, wiser, and mature,
i thank you.

Q

wonder

the devil serves up a heady brew.
a couple of swigs and i’ve ‘thought it through.’
my eyes dim, i’m losing my cool;
the lines begin to blur – between false and true.

and in a while i wake up, hungover with rue.

i sobered up, with tears blue and a wounded heart.
i asked the lord if i may understand in time due:
my many miseries, both old and new,
the locusts’ years, and how they played their part.

and thus i prayed for the lord to chasten me;
when i am impudent to discipline me.
for though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak,
and i, your child, am anything but meek.

so, father i pray for you to lay me low,
when i return to the old to rebuke me so.
hide me away whence the strong winds blow,
i plead to you, the shepherd of my soul.

life is fleeting, life is short,
but in you my soul found a place to hide.
whether in deed, in word, or in thought,
i pray thy grace in me abide.

 —

Q

from the future #1

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i googled, ‘dear me’.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6–7)

hey you,

by now, you’ve probably seen a few stories tell about how people receive from their future selves a letter detailing their various regrets and telling their younger selves to not repeat the same mistakes as they did.

this won’t be one of those letters.

things are alright. and that is why i am writing you this letter.

i’ll be honest. life gets harder. work will sometimes get suffocating, longing will sometimes lead to loneliness. along the way, you are going to make mistakes; things will not always go to plan; and some measure of suffering here and there is inevitable – but remember this:

‘all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’

God is good, and things will be alright.

when your problems seem overwhelming, remember the cross; when your hardships prove to be agonizing, remember the hope of eternity.

  do your best to watch yourself – do not let yourself be conceited, do not let yourself feel entitled, do not be cynical. instead be gentle, be humble, and be patient. there is no easy or magical way to Christlikeness; change will not come overnight. the mortifying of sin is a continuous, conscious, and very often arduous endeavour – a battle every step of the way.

i know you. you can be stubborn and sometimes slow to learn. and despite your initial enthusiasm you so often stray away. but as you mature and continue to better yourself, i want you to be encouraged of your hope.

doubt yourself, but trust God. with wisdom, think ahead and consider the lasting consequences. seek and listen to advice, even if you ultimately cannot take them. when caught up in moments, treat yourself to a healthy dose of introspection. last but not least, do not rush into things as and when your heart sings; instead, be willing to wait.

that’s all i have to say for now.

whether you will ultimately be disappointed with who you are when you get to where i am will depend (humanly speaking) completely on you.

so who are you going to be?


Q