Sunday, June 26, 2016

20 Years of Wasted Life and 20 Years of Fruitful Life

June 26th is an unforgettable day in my life. This is the day that I was drawn to the Lord Jesus and was transformed by His Holy Spirit. Indeed, I was chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4).

To know how my life was before believing in Christ, click on the following two articles:
It is interesting that I was born in 1976, came to the Lord Jesus in 1996, and this year, i.e. 2016, I celebrate 20 years of my life in Christ and 40 years of my existence in this world.

As I enter this day, I see that I wasted 20 years of my life on earth. From the time I was born until I turned 20 years in 1996, I lived a Christ-less and wretched life. Thankfully, from 1996 to 2016, my life has been fruitful in Christ. And from now on, may my good Lord make my life even more fruitful until He calls me home.

There are numerous lessons I have learned in my twenty years of my life in Christ. Let me briefly share some key lessons with you for the edification of your heart.

1. Seek to know God intimately. 

Ever since I was born-again, my heart became hungry to know God intimately. Nothing fascinates me like the lives of men and women who devoted themselves to prayer and walked humbly with God.

I must love theology and doctrines, not as mere information, but to grow in knowing the Lord as He revealed Himself in His Word. Sadly, there were numerous situations where my heart became cold. Nevertheless, to know and experience my Creator personally has always been the cry of my heart. This is nothing but the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

I have learned not to be satisfied just by studying the Bible. I shouldn’t be content simply by doing good works and good ministry. I must pursue to know the Lord of the heavens and the earth realistically, experientially and intimately. Let the passion of the Psalmists be our yearning too, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2)

2. Do Not Neglect Personal Devotions.

In my years of Christian living, I have learned to give priority to personal devotions. This doesn’t mean I was firmly consistent in this discipline. I have failed more than one can count. Yet, by the Lord’s grace, I make effort not to neglect my personal devotions. This is the most important and enjoyable time of my every day life.

In my personal devotional time with the Lord, I meditate on His Scripture, write the insights I observe, and simultaneously spend time in prayer and worship. I wonder whether the rest of my life would be sufficient enough to share the lessons I have learned in personal devotions.

My great example to imitate in personal devotions is the Lord Jesus Christ. After his tiring ministry in the evening until night, this is what is written about him the next day, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35).

3. Walk with integrity of heart in family life. 

How I live my Christian life at home is more important than how I do ministry outside. Regretfully, I cannot express how many times I failed in obeying the commandments of Christ at my home. And when my wife and kids saw my worst conduct, I had to confess and repent of my sin before God and my family.

The most important place where I have to follow Christ and represent Him is in my family life. If I fail at home, I fail everywhere. I may be a good preacher, writer and leader; yet, if I don’t make effort to practice godliness before my wife and kids, I am simply a hypocrite. Therefore, it is my passion and pursuit to live a godly life at my home.

Many Christian leaders have terrible testimony in their family life; they only enjoy the praise and applause of those who do not know their walk at home. I have understood that more than what I preach and teach and write, what is more inspiring to my people is my practical Christian walk at my home. Like the Psalmist, I resolved, “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house” (Ps. 101:2).

4. Ministry is loving people. 

Just as it is possible to marry without love for one’s spouse, it is also possible to be in ministry without love for people. I have observed how terribly likely it is to have a passion for ministry without having a passion for people.

I have learned an important lesson that my first priority in ministry is to love those whom the Lord has put into my life. I should be interested in their welfare. I must listen to their sorrows and joy. I ought to be excited about their achievements. I have to serve them to see them grow and excel in the Lord.

Ministry is loving people. All the ministries that I do—such as preaching, teaching, writing, counselling…etc.—must emanate from my love for people. Without love, my ministry is dead. Although I may have a shining testimony in the eyes of people because of my knowledge and abilities, God does not care about my ministry if it is not done out of love.

The ministry that I do must reflect the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:15, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?”

5. Never forget from where you came. 

When the Corinthians acted arrogantly, Paul wrote to them, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1 Cor. 1:26). What a humble reminder!

I was born in an inner-city slum and grew up in a poor family. I lived a terribly sinful life. It is from this situation that the Lord in His grace had saved me. I must never forget that I am a sinner saved by God’s grace. I deserved eternal condemnation but was accepted into God’s kingdom because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

One dangerous temptation I have seen is that when our influence grows, we tend to build our image based on what people think about us, forgetting our low and degraded state from which the Lord had saved. Constantly reminding myself from where I came and how I am saved by the Lord’s grace keeps me humble in life and ministry.

6. Work as a team. 

We know two are better than one (Ecc. 4:9). Also, three are better than two. And four are better than three. When I read the book of Acts, I seldom see Paul traveling and doing ministry alone, except perhaps when he was in prison. He always had traveling companions and did ministry as a team.

This is what I have learned—never do ministry alone. I work in church ministry as a team. I oversee TENTS ministry as a team. When I go to other places to preach and teach, I love travelling and doing ministry as a team.

My team has been a great strength, encouragement and support in the ministry that I do. I can’t imagine myself doing ministry without my team. I stand on their shoulders and serve the Lord. Further, I am blessed to have mentors, friends and mentees who are a great delight to my heart. Glory be to God for bringing them into my life!

7. Be generous in your giving. 

In Acts 20:35, Paul spoke to the leaders of church, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” It is not actually the prosperous that are greatly blessed but the generous.

I have seen how exciting it is to express our passion to live for the Lord and serve Him. However, when it comes to money, many of us are not excited to give cheerfully and generously. The true test of our devotion to the Lord is not our head and mouth but our purse. Of course, generosity must be practiced with wisdom and discernment.

God’s Word has taught me that I cannot be Christ-like without being generous with money and material things. In loving us and giving His life for us, Christ became a living model of generosity to us. Although not so easy, I resolved to keep up my commitment to give away money regularly to my local church and to the needy, be it in good times or bad times.

8. Life is short. Don’t waste your time.

Psalm 90:10 says, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” In our stressful, polluted and wrecked world, not many may live up to seventy or eight years. Even if we live for so many years, they are soon gone and fly away. This speaks the fact that life is short and soon passes away.

As I turn forty this year, my heart is concerned that I am drawing closer to death. Surely, if I die it would not be a hopeless death. There is eternal life in Christ Jesus. But I have to give an account of my life to God so that I may receive what is due for what I had done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Cor. 5:10).

What is it that I have accomplished in my life till now and how much more I have to work hard with the strength God provides is a growing conviction of my passing life! Life is short and I have less time to fulfill the ministry God has given to me.

Hence, if I don’t want to waste my life, I must not waste my time. I must use it as a precious treasure. What the Lord Jesus said to His disciples often pierces my heart, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work” (Jn. 9:4).


Glory be to my Creator and Redeemer for blessing me with a glorious and wonderful life in Christ! I love my Lord Jesus and I can’t imagine living a moment without Him. I praise Him for dying on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins, for rising from the dead to give me the hope of eternal life, and for His promise of second coming to take me to join with His saints in His everlasting Kingdom. Blessed be His Name forever and ever.



No comments:

Post a Comment