Tag Archives: worship

Honor the Builder

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There is a universal reaction when you see someone who was just beside you go ahead of you.

It’s not like you’re in a rat race. But there’s a twitching feeling in the heart when you look down at the ground you’re still on while someone else have gone up the pedestal way farther.

Call it jealousy. Call it low self-esteem. Call it pride. Whatever it is, it’s an unholy feeling.

I had that feeling recently when a classmate who self-admittedly wasn’t the most studious kind is now a lawyer holding a top post in the government. Yes, at our young age! And me, I didn’t pursue the law path, did journalism, went abroad, dabbled on creative projects, and if not for God’s sustaining grace, would have been a starving artist by now.

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On a blue morning, I was randomly flipping through my Bible when I found an unlikely verse that I never thought was even there. Hebrews 3:3, “He who built the house has more honor than the house.” It was a right-on slap-in-the-face comment for my sentiment.

How many times have we had a good meal and repeatedly shout out to the world via social media how good the food is, yet miss honoring, or at least, thanking the one who made it? How many times have we looked out into the great wilderness and gasp in awe at such magnificent rock formation yet dismiss the “maker of all things”? How many times have we credited the conspiracy of the universe for letting us be where we absolutely wanted to be instead of praising the one who has the sovereign will?

The Bible verse did more than just remind me of a God who created everything. It made me look beyond the accomplishment of other people and thank the God who was behind such achievement. Instead of letting this acid creep into my bones (“Jealousy is like cancer in the bones,” Proverbs 14:30), the wisdom of the Bible is teaching me to look up to Him who has transformed my classmate for the better and given her a very big break. And instantly, the unholy feeling dissolved in the mist. And I had added yet another praise list to an amazing and awesome God who does not settle for where we were, but brings us to where He wants us to be.

Let us worship the Creator, not the created. And that, in essence, recalibrates our wandering eyes, steadies our hearts, and puts our emotions in a good countenance.

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—June 11, 2015

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Seated Season

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Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a bid DONE.

That’s from Watchman Nee’s book Sit, Walk, Stand, an apologetic of Paul’s epistle Ephesians. He posits that the starting point of man’s Christian journey is accepting a position of being seated with Christ. The Christian experience is not a treadmill of efforts to earn calorie points, neither is it a piggy bank of daily rituals (so that when a major crisis comes a heavy pig can hold account), nor is it a timetable of to-dos and an analysis of past performances. The life of a Christian is fitting snugly at the rest found in the security of the finished work of Jesus. God has sent out the invitations to freely partake of the banquet and reserved seats are awaiting. The realization of this truth sets every believer free from the bondage of works for salvation, and leads him into the path of freely serving his Master.

God, by His power, raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly places. The same God, filled with mercy and love, dispenses His grace to us, made us alive together with Christ, raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. While these verses have redundant words, they seek to draw a clear picture of where Jesus is and where we are in relation to God. (Ephesians 1:20 and 2:4-6)

Too often I find myself asking God, myself, and other people, “What should I do?” And before I can hear an answer, I shuffle around and am doing this and that, or more like these and those. There is a sense of Christian pride when I hand out a gospel track to a stranger. “Hurray! That’s one other believer in the tally!” A warm fuzz in my heart when I hug my siblings and say “Jesus loves you” or “God bless you”. “Mmm…love and blessings are moving around this house!” A sense of accomplishment when stomachs are filled on fellowship nights. “Yes, the Bible told us to break bread often!” I convince others that I can help them because we are supposed to “carry each other’s burdens”. The lyrics from the song If We Are the Body of Christ, “why aren’t the arms reaching, why aren’t the feet going?” echo in my heart when I feel I’m not doing enough. A restless heart is what I have and I am inclined to overdo a lot of things. My sense of insecurity breeds into doubt surfacing itself into false humility and desperation, much like the kind-hearted Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia series The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Looking in front of the mirror, with a heart full of questions, Aslan approached her and asked, “Why do you doubt your value?”

Our value has been set on stone. The price paid in history. “Why do you doubt?” People like me live in a whirlwind of answers like “really?”, “but…”, “maybe…” when God only wants a yes to His closed invitation. The first item on the Westminster Catechism suddenly sounded off: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

In my reading of Having a Mary Spirit in a Martha World, I realized that I had missed the heart of the gospel. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled with many things, but only one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen it.” (Luke 10:41-42). And that one thing is to sit in the living room with Jesus, instead of shuffle in the kitchen for Jesus.

Choose the better thing. Devotion than duty. Relationship than ritual. Worship than work.

The past weeks have been stressful for me as I struggle to find my way in God’s will. In transition from being a student to a self-supporting young pro, I’m faced with endless options. My line has been, “I’m in my life’s crossroads, I don’t know where God wants me to be.” And a well-meaning friend said, “A crossroad season can last for a year?” Such remark sink me deeper into questions of worth, destiny, and ability. Frustration can lead to restlessness and it propels one to grab just about anything that feels firm. But grabbing and tossing are partners, and are inevitable ingredients in the vicious cycle of going nowhere, of if ever the spiral of depression. I’m learning to open and hold–to keep an open hand on what’s not mine, and holding what is.

So what is mine? I don’t know. But one thing I know. And one thing I do. That I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, and I will remain sitting until He tells me to walk and conquer. Until then, I’m enjoying these seated sessions with Him, where He is reassuring me of who He is, who I am, and who I am in Him.