Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Back to Basics for First Generation Christian

It was a life changing decision to finally lift up my hand to invite Jesus into my life as my personal Lord and Saviour, to say the Sinner’s Prayer. This may sound stereotypical, but my experience told me that more often than not, things do not change immediately the moment I lifted up my hand. The challenge was arguably greater for a First Generation Christian to start everything afresh, in all conviction to lay aside one’s old self, and start putting on Christ.

Galations 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” But honestly it is easier said than done. I still found myself struggling in many areas. I am still the old sinful me, who need God more than ever every single day, who yearn for God’s grace the moment I wake up. But I thank God that His grace is ever sufficient for me. No matter how much I have failed yesterday, He is still loving me so much without a hint of reduction in His love today. I am truly blessed!

But love is a two-way traffic. These are the things I reckon every First Generation Christian should strive to pursue every day.

Falling in Love with God Every Day

When you are in a deeply passionate relationship, the first thing you do when you are awake is to check your phone if you had received any message from your significant other. Your eyes lit up when there is a message coming from him/her - a sweet greeting. You think of him/her every moment of your day, and can’t wait to see him/her. This would persist for maybe the first few months. Before you know it, these lovey-dovey moments may slowly fade away when the honeymoon phase finally arrives at a transition juncture of feeling. 

Likewise to ensure we will never take God for granted, falling in love every day with God is an excellent way to keep our fire of love going. When you are so on fire for God, your day seems to be surrounded by His goodness and favour. Spirits of excellence and thanksgiving follow you everywhere you step your foot into. Your joy seems fuller with God lighting every path you are pursuing. You are assured of God’s love and peace that He will go before you. 

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings. ~Psalm 17:8

How to fall in love with God every day, in other word renewing your passion for Him every day? Remember Him. Remembrance speaks of an extremely powerful action, which can lead to the renewal of love but if misused, bitterness. If we are constantly reminding ourselves of the wrong deeds people have done against us in the past, we are consuming the daily dosage of this bitterness drug. Likewise, remembering God’s love every day can lead to daily renewal of His grace and love in our life. 

Embracing Holy Spirit 

This is peculiar. I never had anyone beside myself and perhaps my inner voice that speaks to me. But all in sudden after Jesus came into my life, there is this entity called Holy Spirit who starts giving me nudges every now and then. I have yet to hear audible voice from Him (too afraid to be honest), but one way to differentiate His voice from my own is that His voice is always in a positive note, and occasionally radical. I realised whenever Holy Spirit is speaking, I will feel a sense of reluctance and unwillingness to obey. Great things always seem to happen every time I obey that voice, whether it is a blessing I give to others, or an act that leads to the reconciliation of failing relationship with others. So if you hear a voice speaking to you and challenge you to do something you have never done before, chances are it is the Holy Spirit nudging you. Try embracing the call and see what God has in store for you. 

Embracing New Identity

Putting on Christ is not the easiest thing to do since we no longer have a mask to wear to hide our fears and insecurities. This itself is scary and needs tremendous courage from us. Fortunately, God’s strength can sustain us through this transition period. No mountain is too high for Him to conquer, including the embracing of our new identity. Embracing new identity means living a Christ-centered lifestyle, building a discipleship relationship and start to be held accountable to a more spiritually experienced brother/sister, listening to worship songs, serving God and His people, developing habits of doing devotion and reading Bible daily. Much of these require discpline to fuel myself to keep on going. 

One Step at a Time. It took me such a long time to build a habit of doing devotion, and there are days I still fail to read God’s Words, due to various excuses I can find, more commonly laziness. Habits take approximately 20 days to be developed or destroyed (for bad habits). So persevere on! Try to do something differently for 20 days consecutively, whether to build a new habit or destroy an old bad habit, and you will see it being embedded neatly into your lifestyle. If you get angry easily, perhaps try not to get angry for 20 days? OH GOD HELP ME! 

Honour Your Parents and Love Your Family

For us First Generation Christian, it can be difficult at times especially if you do not have a close relationship with your parents. You may hold grudges against your parents. Your parents may have wronged you in the past, or done something that angered or disappointed you. Perhaps their parenting skills were not up to your par, and you wanted more. Perhaps you wanted your parents to hear you out, to share your stories with them without any unfounded prejudice and judgment. But you knew it is not possible because knowing them since young, you knew they will surely judge and say hurtful things.  

Truth remains this; the first commandment of God with promise is to honour your father and mother, so that you may life long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12) 

Regardless of whether you like your parents, God expects us to love them and honour them. It is safe to say most parents love their children, but they may not have adopted the right methods to love their children. Children who do not recognize their parenting style will end up being angry, bitter and disappointed. Perhaps remembering that we are the only vessel of God in the household will give us the encouragement much needed to spread the love of God, for our love should spring from the abundant love God has given us. 

Ultimate Mission

Despite all odds are stacked against us, from our family background to our environment, for instance our circle of friends and nature of jobs, we have the omnipresent God who watches over our back. Our mission is therefore to focus on seeking Him daily, to run towards Him, to bask in His overflowing love, and to pray steadfastly that He may use us as His vessels in expanding His kingdom on earth. This means making ourselves available for Him to work miracles. Less of us, more of Him!

Let's finish the race strong! Strive for Gold! 

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