Sunday, May 31, 2009

More of “O”, less of “I”

Phil 2:4 NIV: Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The word son is spelt as s-O-n whereas the word sin is spelt as s-I-n. Herein lies the attitude that we should all try to have more – think of others more and less of ourselves.

The Son of God, Jesus has the welfare of others in mind when he walked on the earth. Sin, on the other hand, is almost always about “I” – what I want, what I can benefit, how I can be gratified, how I can have the upper hand, how I can be number one, how I can be richer, mightier, stronger, why am I not the leader, the CEO, the President, why am I not the award winner, why must I give in, why must I forgive, why must I share, why must I let go, where is the honour and prestige I am supposed to have, where is the big house and car that I am supposed to enjoy, where is the power that I am supposed to have, to do what I want. “I” also speaks this way, I am rich what, I am smart, I am gifted, I am strong what, I have many supporters, what can they do to me, I can never be caught, nobody will know, what. It may come as a surprise to you, “I” also speaks this way, I am too poor, I am too stupid what, I am too weak, I am not loved, I have no supporter at all, they will all laugh at me, they are all going to eat me up, it is no use and I might as well give up.

So when you make “I” very big, you are going to attract temptations of all kinds of sin – covetousness, love of money, self-centredness, pervertibility, pride, haughtiness, unforgiveness, oppressiveness, wickedness, lawlessness, poor self-image (does not glorify God), sexual immorality, anger and suicide.

One of the practical ways to counter selfishness is given by Hebrew 10:25 –

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Firstly, we must gather often. A Christian is not meant to live alone. Go to church, go to a home cell, gather with other fellow Christians.

Secondly, when you gather, consciously, try to replace the “I” with “O” often. It defeats the purpose of gathering, if you are going to emphasize “I” all the times (It is not to say you should not address the struggles that you are having or it is wrong for you to want others to pray or help you. In fact, sometimes and in some struggles you really need others to help you for breakthroughs). Putting on the “O” as in Son means having the heart of Jesus, have the welfare of others at heart and encourage others. Often people go to a gathering/meeting only when they have needs. When their needs had been met or currently they have no needs, they will not go anymore. Or some people would stop going to regular gatherings/meetings because they feel they are not benefiting from the gathering/meetings. At times, this is very sad when such attitude comes from supposedly matured Christians and for regular gatherings/meetings which require help from more mature Christians. If we are indeed more mature, we should ask ourselves whether or not it is time for us to serve and help others, instead of leaving a group because we think we are not benefitting from the group, especially we think more can be done to improve the sessions of the gathering. If you do not need an encouragement in the gathering/meeting, encourage somebody who needs it, since God already has encouraged you by letting you to come to a state of not needing an encouragement. By consciously replacing the “I” with “O”, you keep sin at bay. On the other hand, if you emphasize “I”, temptations of sin come clinging to you, and when you commit sin for more times, you will get more and more dull to holiness, your heart will get more and more hardened.

Can you encourage one another without physical meetings? Yes, but it is much more effective if the people concerned have met before. I know physical gathering takes up more time. But making time for others is, replacing “I” with “O”, so please make time.

Just made time, so that you may be encouraged.
Anthony Chia

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