Sometimes, I just forget. I don’t seem to remember who and what really is at work. Then, my forgetfulness turns into desperation; desperation turns into hopelessness. Where is hope for these people and me?
I look at people and it is just frustrating to see no growth whatsoever in their lives.
I look at my own life and I see the little growth that I make throughout the years as a man of God and as a leader.
These people are broken and they need help and they don’t even know. Their sins are written all over their faces and on everything that they touch, and they live as if they are just okay. No repentance in their sins and no desire to grow. When being told of what their sins and mistakes are, there comes the bitter responses. Some may have been in the church too long and yet no relationship with Jesus Christ. They do church things and they are choked up with worldly things. Some may come from broken families and they are always the ‘victims’, and everyone always has to give them grace. Some show up and once and awhile, but never read the Bible nor pray, but they like to be sure that they go to heaven. Some are just enjoying their teenage years and doing whatever sins they can engage in. Some are just full of pride that no one can touch them, and they have to be right and they always have to be good.
The last point is for me — as I am working all I can for the youth and I sometimes get into habits that I have to be right and always acting as the ‘good’ leader. Do I have to do that? I don’t think so. If I have that mindset, what will happen when I don’t feel so ‘perfect’? Who is perfect anyways, aside from Jesus Christ? The feeling of ‘I have to be good’ and ‘I have to be right’ put me into a failure mode. It is like saying, “I actually have to perform well for me to be worthy as a leader.” The Asian churches make you feel like that, don’t they? It is never said out loud, but you can hear it.
As I care for these people, I have to let go of making this all about me. Making things about myself… is sinning. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and yet make yourself the master to change people from their sinful ways. If it is not God who works…. My performance does not save anyone. My ability does not improve anyone. My smooth talk does not fix anyone. My rebuke does not change anyone. My weekly meet-up does not affect anyone.
While driving back home from a very frustrating day, it came to me, “It is the GOSPEL!”
I cannot do anything but the Gospel can because it is where God has stored up all his grace and wrath for the humanity. For the ones who believe, it is the good news. For those who do not believe, it is foolishness and it is also their condemnation. And I am only here to serve and make space so that the Gospel may be preached into their lives.
IF ANYONE BELIEVES IN THE GOSPEL, THEY WILL NEVER GO UNCHANGED!
What I also need is the Gospel. Struggling with this sin of stealing glory from God and trying to change people with my own efforts, of course, things become hopeless. Often times, I am deep into my own sins of selfishness and pride. I need my daily bread here – a reminder, so that my eyes can be opened up.
I need no other message to know that I am a beloved son of God. If I were to need another way of life to make myself feel secured, oh… my soul is in deep trouble. Because by the blood of Christ… I am loved. I am accepted. I am valued. I am treasured. I am free. I am worthy. I am spotless.
It is not about my performance in school or in church; It is purely by the grace of God that I am who I am (1 Corin 15:10).
The message of the cross is the “power of God for salvation” as Paul says in Romans 1:16, and may I be shameless for the Gospel. May I be so shameless for the Gospel that I will forget myself. May I be so shameless that I would be the lowest of the lowest of the lowest. May I be shameless like Adam and Eve in Genesis – because my righteousness has been found in Christ and I am in right with God in Christ’s blood.
It is the Gospel. It is the Gospel. I am in debt to it, and its message is life-changing. It is only the Gospel.
The amazing grace that has transformed me is the message of Cross, and that is the only hope I can hold on to. Oh, how can a person be still the same once they taste the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ? No one! For the Gospel shows us our sins and does not let us to stay hidden in the dark, but exposes us to the Light! It then must be my goals to see the changes not in merely the behaviors and habits of a person, but in their soul’s satisfactions.
Me being the recipient of that grace, I now am the seed planter.
God being the giver of that grace, God will make the seed grow on its on time.
I will trust in the faithfulness and mighty hands of the Lord Almighty.
I look at the Cross, and I see hope again. Hope for a broken youth pastor like me. Hope for the wandering flock of sheep. Hope for the world that is full of darkness. I see the Chief Shepherd who is coming again.
For I can only tell them that they are sinners in need of grace, but the Gospel can show them that they are sinners and that it, itself, is the grace that they need to be changed.