Friday, December 24, 2010

Don’t Waste Your C.I.

Christmas Institute or commonly known as CI is the most awaited event among the young people in The United Methodist Church. Who will want to miss this event wherein you’ll be having a 5-day camp with fellow brethren in Christ? As Methodist youths from different areas are given the chance to know Christ deeper, everyone is also sharpened by one’s faith and love.

Nonetheless, this significant event can be wasted. It can be enjoyably spent but not God-glorifying. It may be a time of knowing about God but not knowing God Himself. And worst, sometimes busyness for the CI work may deprive us of solitude and quiet moments with God.

I am attending the CI since 1997. And though I am not already part of the UMYF, this upcoming CI will be my 13th time. My dear adings, I am praying that CI will not be wasted by you. I will mention three things that may help you not waste this CI.

GOD above all

UMYF’s motto is Christ Above All! Actually it is very familiar to you. But shouting Christ Above All is not just a motto; it is a lifestyle. It means God should always be the priority and the focus of your life. CI can be an avenue to be Christ-centered but attending the Bible studies, the lectures, the games, the devotions and other activities prepared by the EXECOM doesn’t mean that you are already Christ-centered. You may be there but the mind or the heart is not there, what’s the use? You may be attending but you are hunting for girls/boys and not seeking Christ. You may be listening about God but not interested to have a deeper relationship with Him. You may be singing praises but the heart is far away. You may be crying He is the Lover of your Soul yet the lifestyle denies Him the throne in your heart. May you never forget the most important commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30).

Grab every opportunity in these five days that you have to know God deeper and to indeed love Him with all of you. He is the reason why you are attending the CI; do not waste it by emphasizing more of yourself.

The passion of the unwasted life is to joyfully display the supreme excellence of Christ by the way we live…The way we display the supreme worth of Jesus in our lives is by treasuring Christ above all things. (John Piper)

Others above you

Think about your co-campers more than yourself. We always tell campers from our church this principle: ‘Wag kang papayag na may mas mabait sa’yo. It does not mean that you should compete with others. It is an encouragement that you give your best for the welfare of others. CI is an opportunity to minister to others. And ministering to others is not just being BS facilitators or lecturers; you can do something for others. Words and conversations which are Bible-saturated are soul-edifying. Good actions will give God the glory. Jesus says let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). God-glorifying lifestyles will speak that Christ is your treasure. Do they see Christ as your treasure? Do you encourage them to treasure Christ as He ought to be treasured and magnified?

Grab every opportunity in these five days that you have to minister unto others. An author naming John MacArthur says that a person with deep conviction is not hunting for something to say. Rather, he is hunting for someone to say it to. Indeed, if you breathe for the glory of God, you will have every chance to display that there is little of yourself and much of Him in your life. Do not waste this CI by just focusing on what you want and what you enjoy and minding your own business and avoiding things that you think will deprive of your enjoyment. Rather, make this CI an avenue of self-denial by putting others above you.

You - His Beloved

Yes, this is now the time for you. You can enjoy this CI even by placing yourself last. Many people are deceived by pursuing happiness outside of Christ but if you want genuine happiness, then you should be drawing nearer to God, the Source of Perfect Happiness. When Jesus was asked by the teacher of the law which of all the commandment is the most important:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Where is self here? Is God concerned about our happiness or enjoyment? Yes. Love God and love your neighbor. Christ above all and you will find the only one who can quench the longings of the soul; the one who can soothe the aching heart. The joy of knowing and treasuring God is found the moment you learn to deny "self". The call of discipleship is an invitation to exchange fleeting and mundane niceties of this world for that which truly satisfies the human soul: intimacy with God. (John MacArthur)

Therefore, don’t waste this CI by prioritizing yourself than others. Don’t waste this CI by following your heart’s desire than obeying the will of God. Don’t waste this CI, my brothers and sisters.


*This post is inspired by John Piper's book Don't Waste Your Life.

*Image is made by my brother Donnie.

Copyright His Beloved 2011.