because you are young [faith]


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

How can we live a life of faith to be an example to other believers?

– what is faith?

– why do we need faith?

 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Romans 5:1)

 

 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

(1 Corinthians 2:4 – 5)

 

We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

(Galatians 2:15 – 16)

 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

(Hebrews 11:6)

There are tons of miracles where Jesus said that their faith had healed them—not their good works or church attendance, but faith.

Faith: “unquestioning belief . . . complete trust or confidence . . . loyalty, sincerity, honesty.” – dictionary

What is faith?

Faith is being sure of God’s presence at all times, and the unquestioning belief in God. It’s complete trust or confidence in God, believing and knowing in our hearts that His will is ultimately good and is best for us. And, as the Bible states, faith is being “certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1) In this case, I think the “unseen” part is God and God working in our lives.

Why do we need faith?

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

(Hebrews 11:6)

 

We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

(Galatians 2:15 – 16)

 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

(Romans 5:1)

Faith is ultimately trusting God with every situation, no matter the circumstances or the outcome. Faith isn’t something that is acquired suddenly. It takes time to build up faith, similar to how one builds up trust in a friend over time. But something I realized when I was going through a rough time was that if I didn’t trust God and let go of my desire to control the situation and instead let Him work everything out, I would never grow in my faith. Sometimes, I’ve asked God to send me a “big trial” to give me a chance to grow my faith. But he will first give small trials, and looking back, I didn’t even recognize it when He gave me a big trial. I just saw it as things that got thrown at me. Trust God always, and your faith will grow in Him.

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a glorious surrender


You know how close others seem to be to God? Well that’s what I want. I became a Christian when I was younger but was never really “close” to God…at least, I didn’t feel like it. So I tried doing more devotions, different ways of devotions, tried to change my attitude toward others, etc. But it never helped. I think it’s because I never experienced a change of heart and I never surrendered completely to God — not just my life or future plans, but my heart as well. At Acquire the Fire, they spoke of how people say “the prayer” and ask Jesus to come into their lives, and they go to church, etc. but still have not experienced glorious surrender to God. And that was me. Although I had physically done everything I needed to, I hadn’t done everything I needed to spiritually and emotionally. Something had been missing, and that was a change of heart. I never asked Jesus to give me the heart of a follower of Him. Another speaker at Acquire the Fire spoke about how when he became a Christian, he went into his room and destroyed everything that was not God-honoring. He spoke about how we cannot compromise our faith in any way for being normal, accepted. After all, how can we stand out if we’re listening to the same music as everyone else, and acting the same as everyone else, and speaking the same as everyone else?

 

because you are young [love]


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

So far, we’ve talked about being examples to other believers in speech and life; now for the next one…love.

Why do we need love?

How do we love others?

How do we know we are loving others?

Why?

Why do we need to love others? What’s the point of loving others if you don’t really like them? Why put the effort into loving others?

 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

(John 13:34)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

(1 Peter 4:8)

We are commanded to love each other by God because love covers over sins. Love can overcome all kinds of evil. So why love each other? Well, most importantly, because God commands us to. If we are true disciples of Christ, we will want to obey Him. And second, because love covers most sins and therefore is the main way that we witness to others. Also, as Paul said:

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do nothavelove, I am nothing.

(1 Corinthians 13:2)

How?

The definition of love is found in the famous “love chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Love is sacrificing, unselfishness, patience, kindness. The qualities of love are pretty much listed in this passage.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

(Romans 12:9)

Love means nothing if it’s not sincere. Pretending to like someone or always agreeing with them is not love. To exhibit the love of Christ, we must be sincere in our love for others. You don’t need to like someone to love them with God’s love. Just because Jesus didn’t like the Pharisees doesn’t mean He didn’t die for them too. God’s love goes above man’s behavior.

How do we know?

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

(1 John 5:2)

So how do we know that we are loving others? The easiest (and perhaps most accurate) way of “checking” this is to compare ourselves to God’s love. Was Jesus hypocritical? Was He rude? Selfish? The answer to all of these is, of course, no. We need to be as close to Christ’s example as possible to be living examples of Him to the world. Another way of gauging our example of love is to check out 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 — the characteristics of love.

Of course, none of this is possible without God’s help. Lean on Him and trust Him to help you show His love to everyone.

Following God’s commands proves that you love God and others.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

(Matthew 22:37 – 40)

because you are young [life]


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

We are called to live a life so as to be an example to other believers. But what does that mean, exactly? Actions, serving others and glorifying God in everything we do are all ways that we can show Christ in our lives.

A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.

(Proverbs 19:3)

Actions

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

(James 2:17)

 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

(Titus 1:16)

These two verses make it very clear that faith without works is not really faith at all. The second verse from Titus is speaking about unbelievers; if we do not act to show our faith in God, we are denying Christ and are not being God’s light to the world.

Serving

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

(Colossians 3:23 – 24)

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

(Luke 22:27)

Serving is an important aspect in the Christian lifestyle because it’s the ultimate showing of Christ’s love to others. God showed his love for us when he served us and, ultimately, when he sent his Son to die for us. We are called to witness to others by serving with humility.

Glorifying God

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Peter 4:11)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

(Ecclesiastes 9:10)

…so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Romans 15:6)

Finally, and most importantly, glorifying God in everything we do is key to living an exemplary life. Glorifying God includes giving God the glory in our accomplishments, making choices that will point to him in everything we do, and making him the center of our lives. Putting him at the center of our lives allows everything else to fall into place.

However, this isn’t easy — putting God first. It’s a constant battle, a fight to push other things aside and let God into the middle. Even though it’s difficult, God will give us strength to do his will: glorifying him and showing Christ’s love to everyone.

with one purpose


Well, I’m back. I last posted in May of this year, and I needed a break to finish the school year by getting through exams…and I also needed to get my focus back for blogging. I read a magazine article challenging why people blog, and I realized that I needed to fix a few things. The article I read “sorted” bloggers into different categories — bloggers who want to be someone they’re not, or who want to be “preachers” to others (when they may not have the wisdom, experience or ability to do so), etc. So I decided to take a break and maybe revisit blogging in a while — or maybe not.

So here I am. When I started my blog, it was to be a light for Christ in the blogging-and-cyberspace world. I started to get away from that and was posting about personal goings-on, such as school, good movies to see, books to read, etc. None of that is wrong! But that’s not why I originally started blogging, and I wanted to stick to my original focus: serving Christ.

That being said, I also started to post “devotionals” or “sermons” — whatever you want to call them — teaching people how to live their lives for God. And I really have no expertise in that area. Rather than teach, I want to challenge; make people think. I don’t want to choose an issue and pick it apart, because I have no authority to do so; nor should I pretend to have that authority.

I’ve come to realize that now, and I have decided to tentatively start blogging again, but for one reason only: to be a light for Christ, encourage, and challenge other youth in the world. I give all the glory to God right now, and in blogging, the focus will be kept on Him and Him alone.

it’s who I am


In the Christian environment that many of us experience, whether that is church, school, or work, we are encouraged to be imitators of Christ. On the other hand, the world tends to tell us two things: be perfect (fashion, etc.) and, more recently, to just “be yourself!” The world’s sense of being yourself and “standing out” include standing up for what’s right (which is great), not caring what about what anyone says about you (ignoring gossip mills — again, great), and wearing what fits your style, not anyone else’s (again…great).

So often, though, the world tells us to be different in things that don’t really matter. Media tells us that voicing our own opinions matters, that wearing what we want matters, that just…being ourselves is what matters. At a glance, this seems harmless. And if all you’re doing is wearing what you want to wear, that’s pretty harmless; there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you observe more closely what the world seems to tell everyone, you’ll realize that the world is really telling you to live for you. Wear what you want, do what you want, be who you want.

Many Christians have chosen to combine Christianity (imitators of Christ) with the world’s message of you being you (different, unique, etc.) and it looks totally okay. After all, Jesus didn’t blend in; he stood out. Jesus didn’t go with the flow. In fact, he went against the current and broke down social barriers. Which is great! God doesn’t call us to be one with the world; he actually tells us to be in the world, not of it.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

2 Corinthians 10:3

Nothing I’ve said so far is really wrong. Wearing the clothes you choose to wear, etc. is okay! There’s nothing sinful about that.

What I’m talking about is more along the lines of “this is me, everyone needs to get used to it. If they don’t like who I am, that’s their problem.”

This is not a Christian attitude. I’m talking about Christians who are rather opinionated and don’t mind letting others know. I have heard some say that it’s “just who I am.”

I know that we need to accept people for who they are, and I’m not saying that we should judge other people.

What I am saying is that being harsh in the name of Christ isn’t okay.

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

Titus 3:1 – 2

It’s one thing to stand up for what’s right, but it’s quite another to be inconsiderate of other’s feelings and be harsh with them. Let’s face it — no one is perfect, or ever will be. But we as Christians should strive to demonstrate the same loving-kindness that Jesus did in his ministry. Jesus never ran after the Pharisees yelling, “You bunch of sinners! Follow me or you’ll go to hell!” No. He instead showed the love of God to them (although he did sometimes use harsh words with them out of righteous anger at their pride, but again — he never cut them down as people but rather showed them where they were wrong kindly, in the hopes of gaining their repentance). Similarly with other people, he never sat there telling them what was wrong with them, or was inconsiderate of their feelings. He did quite the opposite, actually. He talked with people, got to know them. Showed them love.

God calls us to be loving:

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

2 Peter 1:5 – 7

(Check out 1 Corinthians 13 to see what love is: patient, kind, etc.)

God calls us to be different for him; we need to be different with the intent of bringing glory to his Name. Being opinionated and harsh with others will not bring glory to him. If we truly desire to please him, we will allow the meek loving-kindness of God to shine through us, pointing to his presence in our lives. Ask God to use you and help you practice meekness and love in everything you do. He will!