2/28/2022, Alice Apartment

     Years ago, I  remember my Sundays to be the best time to wake up late (I usually get up at noon) and I remember spending the rest of my time with whatever I want to do. Fast forward to today, however, I wake up at around the same hour that I do on the workdays (that means I still get up early),  and my entire time is filled with commitments.  

    And I love it.
    I do not know if it's not any more obvious but it is my favorite day of the week. Sundays feel like my awaited summer break after a draining finals season or ... like a refreshment after a long day of wandering in the desert.  Haha, I don't know if my similes were enough, but to say it directly, it's something that I look forward to simply because it is a routine breaker for me. It feels like a reward to have a day off of the digital world and more of the real one - less of screens and more of people. 

    My Sundays look the same yet also different every week. The same in a sense that my activities are already fixed - attend church, participate in the women's Bible study, or help in the children's ministry then go home. There are weeks that are more exhausting than the others and there are weeks that are just simple with nothing out of the ordinary.

    If I'm being honest, even when I claim to love Sunday so much, there are also plenty of moments where I wake up less excited about it. Those days that I get up and show up at church because that's what's expected of me and that's what I am supposed to do as a Christian. And I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way. We can easily make our Sunday routine feel like work or an enforced responsibility.

    I was just amazed at how God could work through people and situations to refresh me about Who He is and what He has done. 

    Yesterday, while we were doing our usual Bible study with the ladies at church, Ate Claire, who was leading at that time, said some lines a couple of times "the gospel changes how we blah blah" and "the gospel affects how blah blah"  and I know what she's saying is true but I didn't pay much importance to it. The pride in my heart thought "I already know those and have heard about it a million times already." 

    We were studying Philippians and Paul in the opening chapter was thanking God for the church's partnership in the gospel. And so after a few discussions, she then asked us an application question and it was about the things/activities that we are doing as partners in the gospel. 

    It made me reflect on the busyness that I deal with every day and try to find things that might be the answer to the question. Sadly, my days were spent mostly working and a few 'fun' things in between. I also realized I haven't even sent a "how are you" message to anyone at church in the past weeks. 

It was tragically the opposite of what we were reading earlier.

Then it made sense. What Ate Claire said earlier made sense and struck really hard. 

I claim to know a lot about the Word and yet I fail miserably in living it out, especially in the aspect of caring for others. 

The Gospel is supposed to affect how I care about other people, especially those in the church. 

    When Paul encountered Christ, he was drastically transformed especially in the way he views his own life and the lives of others. 

    The world these days yells at how we should prioritize ourselves and how we should isolate ourselves from people who do not serve good in us. But Scripture calls us to be counter-cultural. 

We are called to serve others and view them as more valuable than ourselves. 
When we think people are being difficult, we are called to give grace and not cut them off. 

[I can almost hear your “What? But that's so hard!”]

I know. This kind of humility could be so struggling and even impossible but as followers of Christ, we are to strive, by His grace, to imitate His example of obedience - when He emptied himself, took the form of a servant, and obeyed the Father even to the point of death. 

    The gospel motivates us to be more generous with our time, money, talent, and resources. The gospel compels us to give and be there even to those that we think do not deserve our love.

    I love what our Pastor once said: The gospel changes us from being self-centered to being people-centered.

    The point of this whole narrative is not just to remind us to love others as we love ourselves but also, I'd like to point out how important it is to show up at every church gathering. 

To me, it was just another day with my churchmates, but God moved amazingly and mysteriously in my heart at the preaching of His Word. I know it was the work of the Holy Spirit that awakened me with the same sentences that didn't mean something earlier. His truth broke the walls of pride and self-sufficiency pointing me back to living dependently and solely on His grace. 

    For sure, there would still be weeks where I will feel less motivated but "I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you  will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)

    I know that Paul was talking about God sustaining the Philippians to endure in their faith despite the hardships that they went through but that encouragement could also be extended to Christians who are struggling internally and externally today...like me and you.

The God that saved us is faithful and we can have confidence that He will not let us go. 

    I am also convinced that no matter how mundane, boring, or repetitive the coming weeks will be, I have to show up because it is essential for my being and that would bring glory to my Lord.  I could go on talking about how important church is but that would be for another blog. Naks! 

That ends our storytime.  I hope you have a great day. See you around!

- N