I was excited but my heart was not prepared for NCLS 2017. When my ate Vivian invited me for this five-day event about two months ago, I immediately filled-out the registration form. Deep inside however, until the first day of the event, my heart was heavy-laden.
My prayers were inconsistent and shallow. My personal time with the Lord and His Word were also inconsistent and self-centered. I was not sharing the gospel boldly as Jesus did. And I was in chains because of a secret sin. I was stressing over difficult people. And my desire to follow Jesus’ pattern of ministry was stagnating. I was even secretly blaming other people for such stagnation. I was trying to hide all these from the people around me, even more so with my family and loved ones, but I could not lie to God. I was trying to hide all the effects and consequences of my poor choices, even my hurts, but I could not hide anything from God.
God sees everything beyond crystal clear (Psalm 33:13-15, Psalm 139:1-3).
The topics during the first two days of the summit that rebuked me to the core were the topics on Lordship and Hypocrisy. The Word of God convicted me of my self-centeredness and lack of submission to God’s will. And by the end of the second day, during a prayer time, I was crying my heart out – of repentance and surrender to the Lord.
Jesus loves me so much, but I was loving something and someone else more. I was in love with my worldly and self-centered desires (productivity at work, tennis camp success, accomplishing school requirements, future plans, sometimes my family, maintaining a good reputation, etc.) over the will of God in my life (to love Him above all else and to love others as Christ loved me). I was prioritizing and investing on (and even distracted by) things with no eternal value.
My eyes were not fixed on Jesus and the way He lived. I was deliberately using all the time, talents and treasures that God has given me for my own gain instead of investing it on souls for Jesus. Sure, I was committed to follow Jesus but my commitment was half-baked. Lukewarm therefore of tasteless value.
And I was foolishly expecting fruitfulness with this kind of hypocrisy in my life. God had to use people around and situations in my life to reveal how hypocrite I was as a Christian. I was telling the people I Bible study with to seek Jesus first in all that they do, but I was inconsistent in practicing what I preach. I was encouraging the people I reach out for Jesus to share the gospel to others, but I was always in constant hesitation of sharing the gospel to my friends and neighbours.
I was the hypocrite that Jesus was referring to in Matthew 23:4, “They (referring to hypocrites) tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
I had to confess all these to God with a truthful heart. The guilt and shame were hard to admit it before the Lord but the Holy Spirit led me to do so. I praise God because through Him, I am able to claim 1 John 1:9 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 today in Jesus’ name.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
I am thankful because God allowed and blessed such event to happen. It was a God-given opportunity and privilege. I was constantly encouraged and challenged by the testimonies and insights of the people I interacted with. The things I heard and learnt woke me up to the point of renewing my commitment.
I was on a mountaintop for the past five days, a place where God healed and refreshed my heavy-laden heart. Today moving forward, by God’s grace, I will continue to run in the mission field where “I will finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24)”.