I loved the preaching tonight.
The new series we have at church is called Faster. Higher. Stronger. I would’ve preferred for the series title to be Faster, Higher, Stronger! since those periods chop up the whole idea. The latter just strikes me as more energetic and “olympic.”
I digress. Sorry.
The scripture we used tonight was Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
It is just appropriate that we’re on this series now because I feel like I’m going through a dangerous stage of stagnation in my Christian life.
I am still reading my bible everyday. I do still pray everyday. And I still am actively ministering to a growing group of young women. On the outside, it seems like everything is fine. But I know that a lot of things are not okay.
I know this because I haven’t been my usual self spiritually the past few weeks. I’ve been insecure about ministry. I have voiced my displeasure about feeling like I’m invisible to more than a few people. I’ve grown impatient about being used in the church, feeling like I’m not needed here anyway and maybe I should just transfer to a different congregation where I will be used according to the gifts God has given me. It’s been very tempting, really. I really, really want to teach. I want to minister to more women. I miss being part of the youth ministry. And I am ashamed to admit that I feared I might be in the wrong place.
Now, it’s starting to look like I might have the wrong heart.
Tonight, Pastor Ferdie talked about three things we must go through to prepare for the race set out for us to run. Every single point hit home.
Here they are:
WORD: We must continue to be in the word of God. I have to admit there are days when I am more excited to read Christian books than the Bible. I want to get to the point when I crave for His Word so much that I can’t get enough of it. I have felt that many times in my Christian life. But I know it’s not something that just magically comes and goes. Like our pastors always say, even if you don’t feel like it, read your bible anyway. And I do. But I just pray that I would go back to craving for it again.
WAIT: Not everything will come when I want it to come. Waiting is difficult but if we are to run a race and expect to win, we need to be patient and wait. Training for the Olympics is not something an athlete will do for six months. Many gymnasts start as early as four years old and they don’t get to actually compete until after six to eight years. Training for athletes is not a 2-hours-a-day deal. When I used to play women’s basketball for Ateneo, I had to wake up at 5AM to be able to make it to our 6-9AM practice five to six times a week. Then, I had to give two to three hours of my afternoons three times a week for weight training and roadwork. And that was just to play for the UAAP. Imagine if I had to train for the Olympics!
Training is not easy. And results are not quick to come. But if I just remain faithful and wait, I will get the victory God has promised in the different areas in my life where I still struggle.
WASH: You have to understand that I am a person who hates to be wrong. On the one hand, I like correction (I am a person committed to improvement). On the other hand, if I can help it, I don’t want to get to the point where someone needs to correct me (I would rather catch myself first and self-correct before someone else found out about my wrong). As a child, I took pride in being the ate (ate = big sister) among us cousins. I would always be tasked to look over the kids while we played. And you would never catch me doing anything wrong, because I felt like I was always expected to be the best behaved. And so, until now, I can be quite cautious. Sometimes I get upset because I feel like I can’t be myself because I’m always watching that I say and do the right things. I think that’s why blogging became a chore sometimes. I felt like I was always editing myself.
But in preparation, we need to consecrate ourselves. We need to come clean about nasty habits (I remember hiding the fact that I smoked while I was in the varsity, mostly off-season and sometimes even during the training season [yikes!] but I’m sure our coach knew, because I was often out of breath, especially at the start of the training season.), wrong motivations, and areas of sin. I can’t edit anything from God. He sees it all, even the things I myself can’t see.
If I am to get anywhere near victory, I need to come clean and confess to God and allow Him to change what needs to be changed in my life. There is no way it’s going to be easy. But it’s something that must happen, better sooner than later.