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Monday, April 7, 2014

A Life Worthy of the Calling

The fallen human nature is conflict rather than peace. It is selfishness rather than generosity. It is pride rather than humility. It is satisfaction rather than sacrifice. Thus, any group of people around each other for any real length of time are going to have disagreements. One or both of the people will be acting in the flesh. They may not even realize what they are doing. The flesh draws such attention to itself that it creates a sense of entitlement. Sometimes it is pseudo-spiritual entitlement.

Paul tells the Ephesians that believers must be humble, gentle, patient and bearing with each other in love. Of course, it would be better if both parties would adopt this attitude but at least one of them must if there is to be any sense of peace.

These are not the virtues taught by our culture. The expectation today is vengeance and revenge. It is bettering another person before they better you. It is winning at each encounter rather than building up others. It is push, push, push without regard to who is in front of you. Naturally, those who practice this outside the church are going to practice it inside the church. There is always someone who must have his way. There is always someone who spreads gossip. There is always someone who is wearing her emotions on her sleeve. There is always someone leaving the church because he didn't get enough attention.

So, we must make an effort to be humble, gentle, patient and bear with one another in love if we are to keep the unity of the Spirit. The flesh cares nothing about this unity. The spirit depends upon it.

Can you imagine what would happen if a whole church acted this way toward one another? Do you realize the strength of this testimony to the world? Is there anything that this group of believers couldn't do for their Lord? They would walk together in the Spirit. They would believe together, worship (I am not talking about just showing up and singing. I mean heart-felt, God centered worship.) together. They would do things in faith that no one outside the faith would believe could be done.

Each would be living a life worthy of the calling by the Lord.

Ephesians 4:1-6 (ESV)
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.


3 comments:

Anthony Chia said...

In my early years as a Christian, I have had compassion for people. I remember, once I was in a queue for making my passport at an embassy ground. I was already late in going there, and the embassy would only process the queue to a certain time, and would ask the rest to come back another day. I was NOT wanting to do that – to come back another day. While I was in the queue, a young man, more of a teenager from another country, Malaysia, came over to me, and related that he had just been robbed, and needed to get to a police station to report the robbery, which included the loss of his travel document. Because of NOT wanting to leave my queue, I pointed to the young man to go down the hill (the embassy was on a hill) below and asked people there to point him to the nearest police post in the vicinity (and there would be such police post in that vicinity). Afterwards, I felt very bad, that I did NOT do more; that I did NOT go with the young man to look for the police post. Sometimes, I even thought: “What if he was an angel sent of God, to see if I would have the compassion to help someone in need?!”

Then, years gone by, and I became saddled with my own problems and issues of life, having married and with children but my career did NOT turn out WELL ENOUGH, and wife then was doing very well, and was pressuring me to achieve more, and increasingly it could be seen there were troubles brewing in the marriage, but I was unable to do anything about it, except to give in and give in, and afterwards, I begun to come under oppression from the marriage. All of these zapped me of my compassion for people. I had had served the church in their pioneer days of Home Cell ministry, as Cell Leader, and in fact, I did remarkably well, until, under pressure from my then wife, I had to give it up (She was NOT interested in this, only how much money I could bring in). A couple of years afterwards, when I was asked what were my plans visa-vis my serving God, I told my church pastor that, I wished I still have the compassion to help others; my own problems were weighing down on me.

Often times, it is NOT easy to walk worthy of our calling.

Things actually turned more worse for me; it culminated to my then wife divorcing me, and a long multi-years court battle that went all the way to the High Court, for the children’s care and control and custody (a fight for righteousness, as put by my senior pastor). Yet, it was in that lowest point in my life, when I had to hug my Bible so that I could go to sleep in the night (couldn’t sleep), I “heard” from God (came as a thought, NOT really a voice). I could NOT get over the fact that my marriage was being put asunder (I still wanted to hang on to the declaration in the Word that marriage is instituted by God and that no one shall put it asunder).

People tried to tell me to accept it, but I just could NOT. But when the word from the Lord was that He has accepted it, I told myself, that if the Lord has accepted it, I could NOT, NOT accept it. From that point on, the Lord used me in releasing words of knowledge and prophecy and praying for the sick and ministering to people with various afflictions of life (I would have visions, mental pictures and dreams as words of knowledge).

It was perhaps a case of when things turn sour, God makes lemon juice (a way of paraphrasing Rom 8:28; I still love the Lord). It was also a case of God’s way to help me to keep going. It is from that season, that I realised that when someone was thinking about ending his life, he was NOT focussed on what was going to happen to his loved ones (like his children and parents) should he take his own life.

Weekend was the exciting days of the weekend; it is the “real” working days, for, in the weekends, I worked with the Lord, in church, touching lives, with the little ministry God started me with (I also started a marketplace healing ministry, although it is has stopped; maybe resurrected).

cont...

Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

God restored the compassion I once had; this time despite I was embroiled in a multi-years court battle. I had to simply grab hold of, and hold onto a job (I was out of a job when the divorce papers were filed) so that I could pay for the legal costs of the case. Unlike before, despite my own afflictions in life, I still could show to others, love and compassion. I ministered to multiple cases of people in family break-ups, with them NOT even knowing I was myself in one (my Senior Pastor was in the know, on this). The Lord used me to minister to the hurting ones. It was common that one party would want to come to the “discussion table” but NOT the other; and the ones who still want the marriage/relationship tended to be ones who are hurting the most.

I am forever grateful to the Lord for that season of several years that he sustained me, and let me serve Him, and ginosko-know Him. In that time, I have seen miracles; for example, I have prayed for people and saw people’s legs grew before my very eyes.

I believe, in that time, I was also a gift to my church and my Senior Pastor. It was work for me, yet I looked forward to every weekend where I would attend all the services of the weekend, all because the Lord used me. And despite I have never went on any overseas mission trip, I learned about how corporate atmosphere matters to God; that harmony and unity matters to God, and that when the corporate desire is aligned to the desire of the Spirit, we can attract the grace of God (we cannot arm-twist God, but we can attract His grace).

Indeed, it is each has still to walk with the Lord, no matter what happens in his or her life. We need always to remind ourselves to walk worthy. We need to understand each is walking with the Lord, and yet, we are also together walking with the Lord. Afflictions of life can sometimes cause us to fall down, and we find it difficult to get up, nonetheless, always posture rightly. The Lord is never far away, and in his time, seeing your right posture, He will NOT only help you up, but also enable you to come alongside Him to help Him in His works.

In our walk with the Lord, be self-examining, so that we are humble before Him. He will give, but do we know our lack? For example, I knew my lack, my lack of compassion; and He gave. Because I knew I lack, I was humble before Him, before and after, He has given. Today, walk worthy of the Lord; walk humbly before Him. When we truly realise and recognise all good things we have and will have, come from Him, we are humbled, and then and only then, we are willing to posture such, as said in Eph 4:2-3, be “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Forever grateful,
Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

Anthony, you have an amazing testimony. God bless you. -Prentis