I started writing/journaling a blog series here called “6-Month Discipleship Plan” last July for the purpose of reflection, reminder and even accountability. But I kind of missed out on posting anything this October. It is not that I have not been doing anything (quite the opposite actually!) but I have been intentionally quiet, and here’s why.
I have been pretty drained lately — not the type that I want to isolate; but the type that I need to say “no” to some things (like writing here and reading books) in order for me to be able to physically and spiritually rest. I had weeks of cough and colds, allergic rhinitis and sleeplessness. My days recently have been consumed by intense volume of work in the office, preparations for my teaching job this term and a speaking engagement, coordination for school partnerships, thesis research, revisions and consultations, ministry appointments, and many things in between… while being in antibiotics and anti-allergy medicines.
We recently finished evaluating our first 3 months, reflected from it (what went well, what went wrong and what should be prayed for) and thanked God that we undeservingly made it past 3 months. However, along the way, I had this constant inward prodding to rest, to not slip into the mode of just working hard and to remember the heart and reason behind the things I engage in.
I needed to rest in the Lord, to spend more time simply being with Him, getting to know Him, speaking to Him and hearing Him speak to me. I took some time off from work (even if it meant triple-load of work when I get back in the office) so I can “reset” and “re-prioritize”. I had to put my thesis-writing aside for weeks (even if it meant slow progress contrary to its fast-approaching deadlines) so that I can just spend quietness with God. Of course there are panic moments when deadlines are right in front of your eyes but those panic moments have become prayer moments.
I finished spending time in the books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, and I recently started digesting and revisiting the book of Romans.
I realized that while journaling a weekly reflection and keeping track of a discipleship plan are good things, it lessens stillness before God. The trouble with posting updates is that it got me in a position of having to think, “What did we get out this week?” or “What did we learn from this week?”, and there was just a self-imposed pressure that I need to update or track what we were doing and learning along the way.
In 2 Samuel 24, satan incited David to take a census of Israel. At first, I thought, “Well, it’s good and important to take count, right?” and “Nothing wrong. God speaks through numbers anyway.”
But no! God got angry at David for taking the census. Why? Two reasons. One, David did it NOT out of God’s command but out of what HE THINKS is right and helpful (which apparently is a satanic incitement). Two, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Obviously, Israel isn’t David’s. If a man takes a census without God’s command, he is in serious trouble. In Exodus 30:12 God told Moses, “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them.”
This resonated to me in the midst of doing our 6-Month Discipleship Plan because even if “counting” updates looks right and helpful, I can not and should not count without the “go signal” of the Lord. At the same time, I have no right to count a progress that isn’t mine to begin with. So unless there is a “go signal” from God, I should not track, measure, journal or document the plan’s progress. It would be foolish for me to continue to go ahead trying to do things in ministry that God never actually asked me to do.
Discipleship plans are good but it is not as good as personally being with God alone. Yes, I will still continue to write on this blog series but this time, only on the basis of God’s go signal. Rather than write every week, I will write when there is something timely that God wants me to write.