this is like that time of the year. thinking of new convictions, reflecting of what didn’t work out last year. hmm….
i think i really need some sort of self-discipline this year regardless of what is going to happen in my life.
reflecting on last year at the moment, lol. coming back from Ethiopia missions trip, everything in the U.S. was so weird. i missed that pure heart, so i tried to hold on to it. my convictions were –
1. no alcohol, no matter what! but then, it changed to, only with people that i was close to, or wine is fine and such – but it definitely had me question on my motives most of the time when i see alcohol or people drinking it. by abstaining from alcohol, i had a chance to share the gospel with a curious brother and that night changed his life. man, it was so worth it!
2. no adding girls first as friends on facebook because i already have enough female friends anyways. why don’t i spend more times on my old guy friends or making new brothers? so i did, but regardless, female:male ratio was still higher. i did become a lot more closer to my guy friends, and even having the desire to add a girl on facebook had me inquire myself… why, man? — so they added me first. jk. less friends, but quality friends. it was great. (coming from female dominated abel area from church and being an older brother of a sister didn’t help much)
3. to have the bible on my table and read verses during my study breaks. well, there is no way a person can tell you are a Christian or not when everyone is studying so hard in a library (that’s where we lived throughout the year). i think it was a pretty awesome way! a lot of friends came over and flipped through the pages or even read. they questioned what my beliefs are and i asked them theirs, and had a lot of chances to share the Gospel on a surface level in a short amount of time. one friend intrigued me the most….
him: so how many times have you read the whole bible?
him: so do you think the book that you are reading (neuro) is more interesting than the bible?
me: umm…. no, but i am just doing what i am called to do at the moment. then i made excuses like, “and yeah… i gave myself fully to the Lord like 2-3 years ago, man” that’s true, but that does not excuse me from not loving the Word.
these were the things that i did outwardly. inwardly and outwardly, i still failed in so MANY OTHER ways, where i could have given much more glory to God. when i don’t know how to discern, i just go all the way extreme to really know what i am all about- with the alcohol thing, i have come to discern more and more about why would i do it or not, like in specific settings and stuff, so i think i am okay now. even adding female friends on facebook, yea, i still don’t do it much, but only if my motives can be pretty clear that it’s a way for the partnership in the Gospel. i can’t have my bible on the library table now because i am not in school anymore, but i am sure God will provide me different ways to share His love.
this year, i am gonna need more disciplines than ever — i feel it already. they will be mostly in characters and wisdom. here are the ones so far –
1. lose 15 pounds in 3 months! yeah, i know. i really don’t have to do this because i look healthy and all. bah. i’m 160 and it will be to 145. it’s gonna be tough losing all the weight including fat and muscles. but then i can surely gain the muscles afterward.
a) well, okay. my family members are not definitely healthy or exercising in anyways. the people at my church aren’t -burmese immigrants in general- neither. i can keep telling them, but they will never listen. me getting bulky just means – fat to them. for their sake, i am gonna go shredded to set an example for a healthier lifestyle. [again, they need extreme to notice something different]
that’s not enough reason, i know.
b) i need patience in waiting for things. working out to get bulky and seeing the muscles is really misleading without actually losing the fat. it is deceiving. while i am at the gym doing intense and seeing all these guys working out to gain muscles already got me jealous already. but no, i must learn to have patience/perseverance and wait for the pure result.
c) in my life, i actually have not been committing to anything much. even in terms of friends, i am everywhere! (okay, that is not that bad) but for my skills set, i am just ‘good’ at things, and i never took the time to commit to one thing. for example, i consider myself an excellent biker who got the agility, speed, and focus…. but i don’t know how to fix or build bikes. i never took the time to. i am really good at badminton/soccer/basketball, and no, i never took the time to develop the skills. i know how to play some guitar cords for small groups (lol, sorry for those who had heard me play) but i don’t know all the cords and strumming. i learned muay thai with another guy for two summers ago, but i stopped doing it after a while because i was getting busy fighting other things off. hah. looking at my life of me doing this and that…. i have spread myself so thin, and ending up not committing in anything.
either i gave myself a lot of options or i was afraid to fail with the commitment. this kinda mentality can carry out through my life especially in my studies. so the closest thing i could do right is to commit on this for 3 months and finish the goal. time to grow in character/patience/muscles. LOL – i will put up comparison pics later as this goes on for those who might be interested in the transformation or get aspired. lol if i can do it, you can!
d) i will use the time of running/biking to listen to sermons.
2. this is the toughest one. i want to finish the bible again by new year. if anything, by the end of lent seaon (it is 02/13- 03/30). well, i am in Deutronomy in the Old Testament already, and almost done QT’ing with Psalms and stuff… and i have kind of finished a lot on the New Testament. this might appear as cheating, but we shall see. the Holy Spirit gotta help me to understand this and i really don’t want to read this just to read, but with a solid intention of knowing the Maker of heaven and earth more. i was listening to John Piper’s sermon yesterday —- ah that man! click for the sermon, here!
“Hear me carefully. I am making no promises that reading or memorizing the Bible will automatically make your life strong and healthy and fruitful. The Pharisees read and memorized the Scriptures more than any of us ever will. And most them, Jesus said, were cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12).I am not giving a guaranteed technique for power. The Spirit blows where and when he wills. I have known seasons of terrible barrenness in reading the Bible. Not in neglecting the Bible, but in reading the Bible. I am not God, and the Bible is not God. God is God. And we do well not to think we can manipulate him by handling his words like beads on a string or fingers on a ouija board. ….I do not promise you that you will shine if you read the Bible and store it up in your heart. But I do promise you that if you don’t, you won’t. So whether you think of the word of God as fuel, without which your lamp cannot shine, or as food, without which your soul cannot live, the point is the same: If we don’t soak in the fuel and eat the food, our light dims and our soul languishes.”
\ my worst nightmare of doing these things is that i might end up doing it for my own glory/looks/selfishness. these are the outward things, but the inward matter more. i don’t think what i am doing is what everyone should do either, but for the worst of worst sinner like me, this is what it takes for me to get my mind not conforming to this world and discern the life i live as a Christian. i am nowhere near to be good, and i admit that. doing all these and that don’t make me any holier, but it does help me fix my eyes on Christ more. and what drives me the most is that, although i will fail and stumble, my Lord my God will always be there for me arms open wide. in faith, i believe that as i continue to live for Christ and put all my hope in Him in His disciplining times, there will be a better man of me to come alive after this year. sigh, writing this blog will really keep me accountable now. – will put everything under the page ‘physical/spiritual self-discipline’ soon.
best verse for self-discipline – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.