|Posted by Jay Autor on September 6, 2009 at 11:27 PM|
God’s Victory: The Lord Reigns In Us
There was a story about a teacher who wanted to proclaim atheism in her class. It was a class full of innocent Grade One pupils. She asked, “Who among you are atheists?” The poor little students, not knowing the meaning of the word just went ahead and raised their hands in the hope of gaining the approval of their teacher. Except for one little girl. The atheist teacher was surprised and asked, “Why are you not raising your hands?” “Because I am not an atheist, I am a Christian,” said the angelic little girl. The teacher was worried and asked, “Why are you a Christian?” The little girl replied, “Because I was raised to know and love Jesus, and because my mom is a Christian and my dad is a Christian too.” The teacher protested, “Oh no, but what if your mother was a moron and your father was a moron, what would you be then?” The little girl smiled and said, “I would be an atheist.”
Just like the little girl in this story, I am hoping that we Christians can proclaim our faith and God’s victory in our lives. God’s victory is fulfilled by the salvation he gave us through the cross. We allow Him to reign in our lives when we follow His commandment in loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves. Allow me to share three concrete ways of expressing this Love and allowing God to reign in our lives.
1. Serve Unconditionally
First, we must serve Him without conditions. When we are able to serve Him in the midst of our worries, we allow Him to reign in us. When we are able to attend mass or Prayer Assemblies in the midst of our tired bodies, we proclaim His victory in our lives. When we are able to attend in our Household or Prayer Groups and find ways to serve instead of merely looking for what we are getting out of the activity, we let Him reign. Remember if everyone is simply waiting for something, chances are no one gets anything. If everyone looks forward in giving, everyone receives something. When we are able to see beyond the pain that sometimes goes with our service to God, Our God reigns in us.
At the time of writing this, I had my own struggles. I get tired at work, at home, and with many other responsibilities that I have. In a nutshell, I was in no mood to serve. Instead of giving in to that temptation, I prepared a short article that I would share to our community website, and in the Prayer Assembly. When we are pushed to the limits, we are supposed to push back, and allow the Lord to reign more in our lives.
Do I Feel Like…
When there are opportunities to serve the poorest of the poor, whether in giving alms, donating to charities, or joining a walk (e.g. Gawad Kalinga Walk) that will benefit the poor, do we ask if we feel like doing it or not before we actually do it? The Gospel of Matthew says, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” Do we really need to check our feelings first before we serve the Lord through the poor?
Serve Unconditionally. It is not “Lord will you give me this favor if I serve you?” Instead it should be, “As for me and my house, we will serve you Lord. You know my needs and requests, let Your Will be done.”
Common Obstacles of Service
There are many hindrances in our effort to serve the Lord. Let me share two glaring ones, and probably the most common:
• Self-pity. “Oh I am a sinner; I feel embarrassed to attend the Prayer Group Household.” Who among us have not sinned? Let him cast the first stone. A Christian Community is a gathering of sinners who would like to repent to the Lord. It is by that fact that we are supposed to gather and support each other in the walk of faith.
• Self-righteousness. “Oh I’m better than my household leader,” Or “I’m too prayerful than anyone of you, I am better than you,” Or “I don’t need the community anymore, I have my own faith.” Let me quote the prayers of two people in Luke Chapter 18. The Pharisee prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” And the tax collector prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” We all know which one Jesus favored from the two of them.
2. Accept the Victory In His time
One of my favorite songs when I was a child goes like this “In His Time, In His Time, He makes all things beautiful, In His Time…” The problem in this modern world is that we have become an instant provider. We have instant noodles, instant coffee, instant meal, instant relief, etc. Our favorite word is “NOW.”
The Lords way’s are not like that however. When my wife gave birth, she had to go through surgery. It took sometime to heal because she had an infection. We grew weary and tired. I was already out of the office for a month, and my company doesn’t provide paternity leave. She was staying in the hospital for several days away from our new born baby. We thought for a while, we want healing “NOW”. But God’s message for us then was clear - In His time, everything will be alright. True enough, she’s already playing badminton, riding with me in my bike, and doing things she thought she might not be able to do again.
If we are having problems right now, we are still able to allow God to reign in our lives by being patient for the victory that He is preparing for us. Let’s recall Joseph’s story in the bible. He was Jacob’s favorite son. His brothers were jealous of him and sold him as a slave. With his visions, the leaders in Egypt promoted him from being a slave to someone entrusted with the leadership to manage the nation’s food supply at a time of famine. Because of hunger his brothers went to Egypt to beg for food. His betrayers, his own brothers, were now at his mercy. But instead of revenge from the traumatic experience he had because of them. He had the wisdom to understand why it had to happen and gave back nothing but love to them as he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you." If we only have such wisdom, there is no reason for us to complain. If you have problems today, and it feels like we are being betrayed and sold as a slave, worry not, for someday you know you will be liberated. If we are patient enough, we will be like Joseph who went through the pains and uncertainties in life until he was finally able to fulfill God’s Victorious Will.
3. Proclaim the Victory
How can anyone shy away from proclaiming how great the Lord is? In John’s vision in the book of revelation, the letter to Laodicea says, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” This is so true in our faith. We must have the zeal in proclaiming God’s greatness. It’s funny to know that at the time of Jesus. We read in the Gospel that when Jesus heals the sick, He usually asks them not to tell anyone about the miracle. Instead, those who were healed went up and down in proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth even in front of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Far from being shy.
Today, when we receive a blessing, or a miracle, there is a tendency sometimes to keep it. We are given the avenue to share it in Prayer Assemblies, Household Prayer Groups, Church gatherings, etc. Brothers and Sisters I encourage you to be bold, and emphasize God’s victory in your life. Let us not shy away from giving Him back all the glory.
Indeed, God’s Victory is fulfilled by allowing Him to reign in our lives. Let us serve God unconditionally, accept the victory In His time, and always Proclaim God’s Victory in every opportunity we have.