Tag Archive | Faithful servant

CONQUER YOURSELF (guest post)

Hello my dear readers! I just wanted to let you know that this guest post is the last post of my blog this year. I’ll be back on January next year. I personally want to say thank you very much for the support, comment, suggestion, and likes on my posts throughout this year. I also want to say sorry if during December I’m inactive do blogging just because I’m on vacation in Paris. Thank you very much. God Bless you all.

 

 

In the previous guest post (PUTT OFF YOUR EGO) , we understand that every response and our reaction to everything is influenced by the ego. That’s why we must abandon our old human ego, and begin to look at ourselves in the Divine perspective and act in harmony with what God says so that we don’t fall into the sins caused by the ego. To completing that post, let us together learn about conquering ourselves as Paul did while he served the Lord with his whole life.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it TO GET A CROWN THAT WILL LAST FOREVER.

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.

No, I BEAT MY BODY and MAKE IT MY SLAVE so that after I have preached to others, I myself will NOT BE DISQUALIFIED FOR THE PRIZE.

    (1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NIV)                

Paul made an analogy that every Christ’s follower is an athlete in a match. A truly athlete not only exerts his energies, but also invests his entire life to focus on winning in every game. They keen to practice to become more and more expert in their field. They struggle to control themselves: regulate their diet, condition their thoughts and feelings, and often have to overcome their laziness and pleasure. Paul says that all the self-denial they do is for a mortal crown, but we, the spiritual athletes, are fighting for an eternal crown. In the context of 1 Corinthians 9: 25-27, the eternal crown isn’t talking about salvation, but the eternal blessedness which will be a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ. Isn’t it for eternal blessing we should try harder?! Now let’s see the spiritual life of the Apostle Paul.

Paul’s dedication and totality to the preaching of the gospel is unquestionable. The letter of 2 Corinthians 9: 23-28 describes Paul’s sacrifice and suffering in ministry. He was physically abused, faced with disasters and dangers everywhere. He has to work hard so often not sleep, starvation, thirst, cold, fasting, and so on. None of the suffering made him weak and retreated. It is precisely from a person who is willing to die for the Gospel came out this statement: “No, I BEAT MY BODY and MAKE IT MY SLAVE so that after I have preached to others, I myself will NOT BE DISQUALIFIED FOR THE PRIZE.”

There are two points emphasized by the apostle Paul, that are “I BEAT MY BODY” and “MAKE IT MY SLAVE”.

I BEAT MY BODY

The body which Paul speaks of in this context is not physical, but the existence of the human self in which there are thoughts, feelings, and will with all its strengths and weaknesses. So, the meaning of “I beat my body” is discipline himself by hardships, handle it roughly like a boxer one buffets his own body. This self-discipline isn’t enough just once but every day, constantly, and for the rest of our lives!

Often we angry, hardened, and unwilling to tolerate others. On the contrary, we become weak to face ourselves. We too often surrender to our desires, feelings, and thoughts. Though we know that what we want or what we are doing isn’t good and even wrong, but we are powerless to stop it. If we want to win we must be like Paul. He applied a very hard discipline to himself. He is beating his flesh, defeating his ego, forcing himself to do what he should do, not what he wants to do.

BECOME SLAVE

Paul disciplined himself very hard like a master to his slave. Being a slave is an unpleasant word. In the days of slavery, a slave had no right to question, deny, and resist his master’s orders. The life of a slave is wholly owned and controlled by his master. Paul says “MAKE IT MY SLAVE”. Paul made himself his slave. In other words, Paul doesn’t allow himself to be controlled by his own will, feelings, and thoughts. Then to whom did Paul subdue himself? To God.

For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. (1 Corinthians 7:22 NKJV)

Many people want to rise from their downfall and abandon their bad habits, but in reality they continue to do it again and again. They are powerless because they have been enslaved by their own minds, feelings, and wills. Dear reader, if we want to be free and not enslaved by ourselves, then we must subdue ourselves to God. All our existence must be submissive to God like a slave who has no right to himself.

SERVING GOD UNTIL THE END

An athlete’s struggle has begun since he decided to attend a match, and an athlete’s victory is not only determined when he is in the arena, but is largely determined by his preparations.

We are spiritual athletes. Our race starts from the moment we decide to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Since then our lives are not ours anymore but belong to God. God is the Master, and we are His servants. The sign that we have made Christ as our Master is if we serve Him, not serving our own desires.

Unfortunately, the greatest obstacle for us to devote ourselves completely to God is OUR SELF. All that comes from outside us can indeed affect and trigger, but the final decision remains in our hands. Live in holiness or adultery, be patient or angry, forgive or grudge, faithful to a spouse or an affair, honest or lie, and so on, we decide it. It’s not just about choosing between sin and not, but also about everything that doesn’t support our devotion and service to God, even though it is not evil. For example: praying or sleeping longer, reading the Bible now or later, excessive shopping passion, moody, and so on. Often we have to wrestle with ourselves to make the appropriate choice of God’s will. James said: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:14 NKJV) That is why we should not compromise with ourselves but must conquer it under the feet of Christ.

To conquer yourself means discipline to say “no” to ourselves to all things that not build our quality of life in Christ, and force ourselves to submit and say “yes” to everything that pleases God as our Master, even if we don’t loved it!

Conquering oneself requires a strong commitment. Not so that we may obtain salvation because salvation is not through man’s work but a free gift from God on the basis of grace. Paul wrote to the Corinthians and to all believers that the purpose of our struggle is: “….. so that after I have preached to others, I myself will NOT BE DISQUALIFIED FOR THE PRIZE.” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NIV).

If an athlete is disqualified, then there is no longer any chance of winning a prize. When we are “disqualified”, so we will not get eternal rewards from God for all our ministries. How can? For, if we don’t conquer ourselves to God then we will be controlled and enslaved by our own desires. In other words, our master isn’t God but ourselves. The person who is the master of himself, will not be able to serve the Lord because what he serves is his own ego. This thing will be hinder our purity in serving God.

Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah). (Colossians 3:24 AMP)

God doesn’t see the number of activities in the ministry, but the most important is the transformation of life. Have our lives been in harmony with the gospel we preach? Have we lived righteously as the truths we know? Are we becoming more and more like Christ that we serve? If the answer is “no”, maybe we have not become a true servant of Christ. Maybe we serve because of hobbies, pride, happy to perform, develop talent, love to socialize and organize. All that isn’t wrong. But if we just stop at that stage and do not want to undergo a process of self-conquest that erodes our ego and transforms ourselves, then we can never serve God in the right way and pleasing to Him.

Look at the Apostle Paul. In his second letter to Timothy, the last letter he wrote from prison in Rome before he was beheaded by Emperor Nero, he said: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV) Paul was surely believe that he has finished his race very well. It is the hope and purpose of all believers.

Dear readers … Before this year’s end, let’s make a commitment and ask the Holy Spirit to help and strengthen so we can discipline and subdue ourselves. If we are always obedient to conquer ourselves under the will of God then our lives will bear the fruits of the Spirit. We will be more loving, able to rejoice even in distress, peace, be more patient, more generous, kinder, more faithful, gentle, and more self-controlling. If the fruit of the Spirit is abundant in our lives, then our ministry will be blessing our neighbor and glorify God’s Name. Until the time comes, we will receive eternal rewards for every of our labor in Jesus Christ. May the last post of this year be a blessing to you, and we will meet next year in a more mature spirituality.

Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image source: http://www.guoguiyan.com/runners-wallpapers/

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BE PREPARE (Guest Post)

BE PREPAREThursday, July 7, 2016 was the fourth day of our vacation in The Bali Island. When the three us of stay in a hotel room, in the morning when I am still asleep vaguely I heard long ringing mingled with my mother’s voice that tried to wake me up. She asked me, “What was that sound? Quite been long time they sounding? Moreover, why at the out of the room very crowded.” I opened my eyes and within seconds, I woke up and gasped. It was the fire alarm!

The alarm continually shrilled. I opened the door and saw some of guests’ hotel still wearing night robe together with their children running down to the emergency stairs while carrying their bags. Incidentally, the emergency stairs was very close with our room.

I immediately yelled to my husband who apparently has been in the bathroom before the alarm rang. It turns out he could not heard the alarm sound and he did not know what was going on.

Instantly we were panic, especially to me. I did not wear contact lens and had no time again to take my eyeglasses that still stored in my suitcase. I could not see anything clearly where my slippers, bags, and so on. Meanwhile, my husband rushed to checking the presence of his parents who stay in the other room on the same floor.

Without fully dressed and just wearing nightshirt, the three of us runs out of the room carrying a handbag containing some of important things. It was a truly unimaginable situation yet now we experienced it.

Outside of the room, my husband saw a few the rests of hotel guests overrun a hotel security that was pounding on the one of the room door that not too far from us. Evidently the smoke from that room triggered the fire alarm. Although the hotel management already made a bans to not smoking in the hotel room but the guest of the room did not conform the bans. The fire did not occurs but the irresponsible action have caused many people panic.

The thrilling event was end but to be honest we still had misgivings. Therefore, we decided to bring some important stuff when we went to breakfast. Usually we always put our bags and other stuff in the hotel room. Maybe because we were still tense, we were thinking that it was a good idea we are be on the alert and be ready so that if anytime there is a fire we could run out very soon. A calamity will not waiting. It is us who have to scurry no matter how and whatever the situation.

At the time, I remembered Jesus’ word:

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24: 37-39 NKJV)

The verses above are Jesus’ teaching about the end of the time and advice to keep watch for the Lord Jesus will come in the unpredictable time. However, right now I am not talking specifically talking about the second coming and the rapture. I just wanted to remind that by the same way, the same “sudden situation”, we would confront to the last second of our lives. We cannot know exactly when the time comes, where, and how. The important thing we have to know is ready or not, everyone should and certainly deal with it!

 

THE GOD’S GOODNESS

In the days of Noah, God patiently waiting when Noah was preparing the ark before the flood hit (1Peter 3:20). God patiently awaits the people repent. Surely there is enough time for everyone to repent at the time, but they wasted it until they should to perish.

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 NKJV)

As long the earth still there, God still gives a chance for people to get salvation. Everybody has a lifetime to repent. In the time span, the Lord speaks and expresses His great love through His church and His messengers (Prophets, apostles, preachers, friends, relatives, business mate, etc.)  Also through the many events that happened in human lives.

So how about us, who have received the grace of salvation? We have to prepare ourselves to meet Him face to face. We have a duty responsibility that is continue to live in repentance, being faithful servant, and become an executor of His Great Commission.

 

KEEP LIVING IN REPENTANCE

The Lord Jesus has redeemed us from the old life of sin. We have moved from eternal death to eternal life. If earlier we are living under the curse of sin, now we live in grace and become a new creation in Christ.

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1 NKJV)

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (Romans 6:11-12 NKJV)

So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. (Colossians 3:5-6 NET)

We must be consistent to continue to live in repentance and not return to our old life. We are still able to fall into sin, but we should not continue to live in sin! As David immediately repented of his mistake when rebuked by the prophet Nathan, so we must to repent every time we fall into sin. We must continue to live in holiness so that we do not squander the God’s grace.

 

BEING A FAITHFUL SERVANT

In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 and minas in Luke 19:12-27, God gives an overview to us that He is the Lord who entrusted His property to His servants, and someday He will hold their responsibility.

For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. (Matthew 25:14 NET)

Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ (Luke 19:12-13 NKJV)

We will never being a faithful servant if we aren’t willing to humble ourselves because arrogant people will not be willing to be a servant. A minister manner will be born only from lowliness.

To serve God doesn’t talk about activities but rather to the heart that have willingness to obey and faithful to every of His will and command. If we are faithful servant so our priority is no longer “ourselves” but God.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24 NKJV)

Everything named “I am” i.e. my dignity, my behalf, my benefit, my happiness, my will, and the other “I am” must not rule over us again. We must deny ourselves so that God totally become our Lord. Thus, we can devote our whole lives to be a faithful servant who can be trusted by the Lord.

Whatever the form, and regardless of the amount, the Lord has entrusted His possessions to each of us, His servant. It can be a wealth of expertise, intelligence, skill, and so forth. Our job is to manage and develop assets that already entrusted by God.

If today you are a leader of a cell group with members of a few people, do the job faithfully and wholeheartedly. Make sure they grow well in your grazing. They are a treasure entrusted by God to you.

If you have a marketing ability, then use it properly to bless the company where you work. Be an example to your peers.

All the “investment” which God has planted in our lives is to equip us so that we can complete all the tasks and calls. Continue to live in it with full responsibility and faithful. If we remain faithful, the Lord will take us to the higher position and entrust us the greater responsibility. And the biggest wage of the servants is when their lord said: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:23 NKJV)

 

IMPLEMENTING THE GREAT COMMISSION

BIGGEST TREASURE God entrusted to us is the secret of the Kingdom of God that already revealed through the death and resurrection of Jesus, which GOSPEL SALVATION. We have a noble mission to preach the gospel in all the nations according to the GREAT COMMISSION.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)

The Great Commission is not just the task of evangelists and pastors, but the duty of everyone who had been saved. If we are Disciples of Christ, we must actively move to reach others. We can do many things such as sharing tracts, testify directly, praying for the others salvation, as well as being light and witness to Christ in every area of our lives.

 

Let us always check and recheck our hearts and lives. Do not be fooled by the religious activities that we do. Make sure that we remain on the right track while doing all our duties in faithfulness. Do not shy away from God’s presence because we cannot do anything when we apart of Him. Always maintain our relationship with God, knowing Him and understanding His will in our lives.  Ask the Holy Spirit certainly help us, shape us, strengthen us, so that we later found ready to meet with our Savior, face to face.

 

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

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