Spotlight 14/2023: A journey that begins today
Following Jesus also requires us to exercise restraint. In his Spotlight, District Apostle Edy Isnugroho reports on fellow believers who have impressed him in particular fashion. And he goes on to explain why it is still worthwhile.
When contemplating the concept of serving God, many brothers and sisters may initially entertain some apprehensions. It is not uncommon for us to envision a significant commitment of time, thought, energy, and resources, which would potentially require us to take some distance from our family responsibilities. From a human perspective, such concerns are not entirely unwarranted. However, it is paramount that we reflect upon our divine calling—a calling extended to us through God's grace and election, designating us with a unique purpose, namely to serve Him.
We stand consecrated unto God, to serve Him and to offer—as Paul said—our lives as a living sacrifice for God. It is important that we are always aware of this so that we can do our part in His plan and work of salvation. In this endeavour, we must prepare ourselves for the imminent return of Christ, striving to become future kings and priests within His kingdom of peace, and to become a blessing for many others. Let us never forget the promise of Jesus: “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30).
Those who wish to follow and serve Jesus, and enter the kingdom of God, must at times exercise restraint in certain things:
- material wealth. Earthly wealth should never eclipse our devotion to God.
- comfort and ease. We must be prepared to leave our comfort zones and to work hard and struggle.
- family. This also represents the society in which we live. We do our duty in society, but we do not let it dictate our conduct. We obey God’s law, even if it puts us at odds with society.
- spouses and children. There is a precept in the law of Moses which states that even if the child or woman you cherish urges you to serve other gods than the Lord, you should not listen to them! (cf. Deuteronomy 13: 6–8).
- renouncing ourselves, namely all aspects of our personality that could disturb our fellowship with Christ (Mark 8: 34).
Serving Christ implies numerous sacrifices. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that the Lord bestows upon us far more than we give up for Him.
In the Philippines, I encountered a frail grandmother and her granddaughter, both of whom had arrived early for the divine service. Their fervent desire was to receive God's word, grace, and blessing. This was coupled with a heartfelt intercession on behalf of fellow brethren who were unable to attend.
An integral part of reigning with Christ is the cultivation of self-control. The adversary persistently attempts to separate us from God and entices us in one way or another. The devil can do whatever he wants, and our neighbours can say whatever they want. But the devil cannot have his way with us as long as we resolve to remain faithful to the Lord. As expressed by Jesus in John 10:28-29, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.”
In Sumatra, Indonesia, a devoted family found themselves in a remote town, far removed from relatives and without a congregation. The husband is a member of the House of Representatives, while his wife serves in a local government office. Initially, their co-workers tried to persuade them to cheat a little bit, to be cunning and dishonest, which is what everyone else seems to do. In so doing, they were told, they would receive better facilities. Undeterred by the ensuing coercion and threats, this New Apostolic family remained resolute in their faith, firmly declaring, "Regardless of the circumstances, we shall not waver. We want to remain faithful to God as New Apostolic Christians.”
Every child of God, no matter the circumstances, can serve and reign with Christ— starting today.