“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14)
We are taught in school about principles, laws, and even theories in order for us to gain an understanding about many things. While trainings and hands-on activities give us better perspective on how things happen in reality.
Julius Ceasar recorded the earliest version of the proverb, “Experience is the teacher of all things”. Experiences may not be favorable all the time. The bible says in James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”.
Therefore, to know something better, it is best for us to experience it and have personal encounters – this involves “willingness” not “readiness”. An anonymous quote goes “How much knowledge you gain depends on your willingness to learn”
In our relationship with Jesus, we need to be “willing” not “ready” – to suffer, to feel intimidated by other’s comfortable life, you will be troubled. No one will be ready and accept being on suffering, intimidated and troubled.
But the Lord said, “You are blessed”
Why do most of us perceive “readiness” as an important factor in knowing Jesus Christ?
1. Most think that competence is a requirement.
Therefore, we desire to prepare ourselves to be competent for Jesus. But the bible says, “Not that we are competent to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).
Our relationship with God is not like an employer-employee set-up wherein competency in our field of work is the top requirement to be in, and if we fail to meet competency requirements we can be terminated.
We should be like a child that performs in front of the crowd without fear but with gentleness, our performance may be not as excellent when compared with professional performers, but we must remember that our parents’ love never decline and because we are willing, we make them proud and happy. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (1 Corinthians 8:12)
2. Most think that they must be deserving for God.
It is written, “For many are invited but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). We are invited by God for a personal relationship, only few were chosen. Why? Many of us thinks we do not deserve being into such relationship because of our ‘sins’.
Most have the concept of sin which boils down from arguments over right and wrong. Biblically, it is defined as something that falls below the perfect standard of God.
As we receive Jesus as our personal Lord and savior, we must take baby-steps and soon bigger steps as show of reverence to him. It is doing something out of the grace that we receive from God – we must choose to be willing not ready.
Paul is clear with his message to the people of Ephesus about being deserving. He said, “Walk in the manner of calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). Same with the Colossians and he said, “Walk in manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10).
3. Most focus on ‘status quo’
Status quo is defined as the status on which we are now. We used to conform to the norma of this world, whereas the bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Millenials are now living in a fast-paced, perfect-seeking world to feel the sense belongingness in their outermost being, but full of voids from within.
Most of us think that we can do great things for God by becoming great first on our own. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).
Apostle Paul pleaded three times to God to remove the spirit of being conceited.But this is what the Lord revealed to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We must be “willing” not “ready”. God used people who are ‘incompetent’, ‘undeserving’ and ‘ordinary’ for His greater glory:
1. Abraham was old but he is “willing to wait on the fulfillment of God’s promise that he will have a son, and he will be the father of many nations”;
2. David was a young sheperd but he is “willing to show that His trust is in God”, because of this he killed Goliath and became the King after King Saul;
4. Jonah ran away. He was not “ready”. But as God called him, God’s calling will remain still. Isaiah 46:10 says “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” He will make us roll over to be “willing”.
5. Peter’s up and down discipleship journey showed that being a disciple is a matter of the heart. But despite this, Peter has been a “willing” disciple – from having shortcomings he became a strong church foundation. When we look at the situation when He encountered Jesus, he may not be “ready” – but who can say know to the Messiah?
6. Matthew persecuted church.
But despite of all their being less, they have one thing in common – they are “Willing” to be used by God for a purpose that will give glory to Him and Him alone.
Will you be willing to know more about Jesus, and have that personal relationship and encouters with Him? Pastor Simon Eng said in one of his preaching at HOPE Church Singapore, “We cannot rely on historical faith and encounters alone. We need to have own fresh, encounter with God”
The first step in having a relationship with Jesus is to accept Him as you personal Lord and Saviour. It does not require ‘readiness’ where competence, being deserving or anyone’s status is being looked up. Come to Jesus with a willing heart that sees no fault nor flaws but love. He was not sent by the Father into the world but to save the world through Him – He is our salvation.
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I thought my life was fine flowing based on my plans and will until He has changed the road i am travelling into the road that leads to Him - along that way I met Jesus.
A self-centred life became God-centred as I learned to honour and to devote myself to the One who has endured it all to save a wretch like me.
I am a favoured engineer by God at work, but serves as a Sunday School teacher (a builder) at Hope Church Singapore (in His Kingdom). It is because I see the value of reaching out the kids at their young age for Jesus.
To share testimonies on how God is changing me into whom He wanted me to be is one of the encouragement I can tell the world, but it is He who should gain the honour. Apart from him I have no good things.
I spread the seeds, some may water it but it is only God who can make it grow.