It’s my 22nd birthday today, and I want to share to you the lessons I learned for the past years. 🙂 It’s wiser if you learn from others, right? So, I hope you’ll all learn from these.
LESSON # 1: CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A GENETIC TRAIT
Being raised in a Christian Family is not an assurance that I’m saved too. 🙂 I’m a certified church kid before, and I can’t even sing a worldly song then. But when I became a teenager, things started to change.
It was just last year that I realized that I’ve been fooling myself and believing that I am a Christian, but my life doesn’t show it. My college days played a big role in this transition because it showed me how sinful I was. It showed me that my heart is still a heart of stone, and I still haven’t fully submitted my life to God.
When you come to grasp who God is through the things He revealed to us through His Word, everything will follow. You less complain about your life, you become not centered to your needs. And believe me, that’s the best thing you’ll ever do to yourself. Love yourself not in a selfish way, but in a way that glorifies God more for only in Him you’ll find your real worth. 🙂
LESSON # 2: NO RELIGION CAN SAVE YOU, BUT FALSE DOCTRINES CAN PAVE YOUR WAY TO HELL
Living in a country where there are many professing Christians and Christianity is so diverse, it’s hard to know who’s telling the truth, but when you finally find the truth and the Word of God revealed it all to you, you’ll realize that no religion can save you.
It’s only through Jesus Christ and He is not a religion. He is the Son of God. He is not build around laws because He is the complete expression of God’s grace. I don’t consider the things I love to do for Him as something about religion. I see them as an expression of my love for Him, and even expressing those things is not my work. It’s through the work of the Holy Spirit that I’ll be able to love Jesus for who He is and for what He has done for me.
When you start to live around your religion, you’ll start to boast about it as if you can save yourself, but the truth is, no amount of laws set by religion can save us from God’s wrath and fury. If you live a life that’s like that, Christ is still not visible in your life. For it’s only by grace that we have been saved through faith in Christ alone. It is not a result of our works so that we cannot boast about it (Ephesians 2:8-9).
LESSON # 3: YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. -Ephesians 6:1-3
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. -Colossians 3:20-21
I spent my teenage days as a hard-headed daughter because I’m not yet a Christian then. 😦 But when you come to Christ, you’ll finally realize your sinfulness and eventually you’ll become willing to give up your life to God. You’ll start to listen to your parents. You’ll love them more and thank them more for all the sacrifices they’ve done for you. You’ll even miss them more and long for their hugs and words of wisdom. You’ll realize that you should have listened more before because they all just want the best for you.
We are not called by Christ to disrespect our parents. We are to obey them just like how we obey our Father in heaven. 🙂
LESSON # 4: TALK TO YOUR SIBLINGS. LISTEN TO THEIR STORIES.
For my case, I only have one sibling, and he is six years younger than me. We don’t have that much close relationship because I went to high school and college far from home. I lived half of my 22 years away from my loved ones. He is one of the greatest answered prayers in my life. I still remember before how much I wanted to have a sibling that I cannot stop asking God every night. Then one day he came, and that’s one of the happiest day of my life. 🙂
Last month he texted me regarding his college entrance exams and his plans to avail for a scholarship. I was so happy because that’s the only time he opened up to me. 🙂 I realized I should talk to him more often. He knows how much I support him in his decisions. We love him whatever plans he has for himself. I’m glad he does all things with God’s guidance.
LESSON # 5: NO AMOUNT OF MEDALS CAN MAKE YOU FEEL YOU KNOW IT ALL
When I was in grade school, I was an overachiever. I don’t know what happened during high school and college years where I got lazy on studying. I have no regrets though. I realized that no amount of medals can make me feel I know it all.
I live not for worldly achievements anymore. I live for the glory of my God whose worth is priceless. No one can buy Him because He owns everything. I’m glad to be loved and known by Him, and that’s all that matters. 🙂
LESSON # 6: ONCE IN YOUR LIFE, YOU’LL ENCOUNTER BULLIES. JUST HAVE SOME PATIENCE FOR THAT SEASON.
I’ve already talked about childhood and teenage bullying I’ve experienced in my post entitled “If We Only Know the Reasons Behind“, and I don’t hate those who bullied me because just like me, they need Christ. 🙂 I hope someday I’ll meet them again. And maybe that time I’ll have the courage to tell them who Christ is. It’s only through Him that they will be changed. 🙂
LESSON # 7: YOU NEED CHRISTIAN FRIENDS TO SHARPEN YOU. 🙂
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another –Proverbs 27:17
I thank God for giving me Christian friends during college. They played a big part in God’s molding. I realized that you need to learn from them. You need to listen to their advice. It’s great to keep Christian friends close to you because they’ll help you fight your struggles and they’ll keep you from making friends to this world.
They also become God’s instrument to let me know that I was not yet a Christian when I met them. It’s because my lifestyle is different from them. They’ve become my mirror for me to be convicted that all these years I’m just professing to be one but not yet one. With all my heart, I thank them for their love, compassion and patience to people like me.
LESSON # 8: I NEED TO LEARN FROM THE OLD MEN
Lately I’ve been loving the works of the people in the early Christian world. Some of them are John Calvin, Martin Luther, The Puritans, Charles Spurgeon and A.W Pink. Their works impacted my life so much. What I love about them is their love for God’s Word. If you examine and read their works, you don’t see them as people who speak only their minds. They are the people who speak for the truth, and their life proves that through the persecutions they went through. They have the most dramatic life, and it’s all because of their love for God.
Examine their lives and you’ll know who is really guided by the Holy Spirit. I have so much respect with these people. I pray that many Christians will rise up and think like them. I’m not designed to become a leader that’s why I expect Christian men to lead us. 🙂
LESSON # 9: IF YOU HAVE A TALENT, USE IT. DON’T HIDE IT.
I spent my childhood days around music. Piano in particular. But when I reach high school, I hid it so hard that no one from my classmates even know I play. Although I haven’t reach the Bach, Chopin and Beethoven level, but I do know and play it very well. 🙂 But as I grow older, I found less love to practice it that it even came to a point that I cannot play a piece I love to play before. That was frustrating that sometimes I cry myself to sleep thinking how much time I’ve wasted hiding what I really want.
I talked about this on the blog post “When Your Actions Don’t Match With What You Understood.”
LESSON # 10: YOU DON’T NEED TO BE OUTSPOKEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD
I’m so short-tempered, nagger and frank before, and I’m not proud of it. If I’m given a chance to bring back the time, I could have talked less. You don’t need to be loud to be understood by people. Be kind and gentle in your words and people will love you more.Give advice in a good way. Don’t rub people’s mistake in their faces until it hurts. Telling them how messed up they are is not the right way. Talk to them with love. Your words should show who reigns in your life. 🙂
I’ve talked about this in my blog post entitled “Reminiscing My Wasted Time”
LESSON # 11: AIM A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. TOO MUCH LOVE FOR FOOD IS LUST. 🙂
In my past years I’ve been fat. It even came to a point that I reached obesity. I started to lack confidence, and even hated myself. But just this year I started to sweat it out. Now I’ve said good bye to obesity and on my way to make it to my normal weight. I’m glad God showed me how to do it. He showed me that the enemy I have on this is myself, and the lust dwelling in my flesh.
When you come to Christ, His Spirit illuminates your sin. He shows you what’s the root of your unhealthy lifestyle. When you come to know it, His works start and I’m happy doing it all for His glory. For I don’t own my body anymore (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). It’s God’s property so let’s keep it healthy.
LESSON # 12: TREASURE YOUR FRIENDS. THEY’RE MORE THAN DIAMONDS.
During my college days, I learned the importance of friendship. I was able to meet great friends who never left me even after college. They may have been away from me for a very long time, but I’m glad to know that they’re just a call away. I miss them so much. I hope and I pray that we will someday be reunited. I miss their birthday surprises and all. You all know how much I miss and love you all. 🙂
LESSON # 13: I DESERVE GOD’S WRATH AND FURY, BUT HE CHOSE TO SAVE ME
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. -Romans 3:21-26
Before we dive into the loving presence of Christ, there should first be an inner conviction that you are a sinner and you deserve hell. No amount of works will ever save you from it. But then God gave His only Son to become an atonement for our sins. And faith through Him alone can save us from what is waiting for the wicked people.
But somehow true faith is not conditional only in your fear of punishment. Authentic Faith in Christ dwells on the works of the Spirit and not of this world. He delights more in following the will of God than planning his every step. He perseveres in suffering, and praises God even whatever happens. And most especially, God knows him more than what he knows about God. For only those whom God knows will be with Him for eternity. 🙂
LESSON # 14: YOU DON’T NEED TO BLEND IN
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. -Romans 12:1-2
During my teenage days, I’ve struggled over knowing where I belong, but it was only through Christ that I realize I don’t belong here. I don’t need to blend in. No amount of worldly things can ever satisfy me. It’s only in God that I truly belong. You don’t need to prove yourself to the world or blend into its culture and foolishness. We are made to be sanctified from glory to glory, and not to belong to this perishing world.
LESSON # 15: GOD IS THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN SATISFY MY DEEPEST LONGINGS.
Before, I always try to look for what’s lacking in my life only to find out that Christ is what is lacking in my life. I may have heard about Him from others but no amount of information can really sink in to you unless God will be the one to convict you through His Word. 🙂 It’s not by might nor by power, but by God’s Spirit that I was able to know Him (Zechariah 4:6).
I’ve talked about this on my blog post “Where Will My Soul Be Ever Truly Satisfied.” 🙂
LESSON # 16: TEST YOUR FAITH. EXAMINE YOURSELF. YOU MAY HAVE BEEN LIVING AROUND HERESIES.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. -2 Corinthians 13:5-7
One of the greatest things that God has given His church is discernment. And let Him alone be glorified for it. We should ask wisdom and discernment to know if what we believe is true or not. Examine yourselves if your faith is genuine. I believe a true Christian doesn’t lack discernment, but before that you should build your life around God’s Word. Don’t live your life searching for something that is beyond the Word He has given. If you want to have an intimate relationship, read His Word, and ask for wisdom to understand it.
LESSON # 17: NO ONE CAN SEPARATE US FROM GOD
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[ against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-37
It’s such a comfort that God will always be there for me, and help me fight my enemies. All glory belongs to Him alone. 🙂
LESSON # 18: MY LIFE IS FOREORDAINED. THUS, I SHOULD NOT WORRY.
For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. –Romans 8:29-30
One of the things that really comforts my soul is the fact that God has foreordained my life. It’s such a comfort that He knows everything even what is ahead of me. He knows my needs and He knows where I am going. Whatever happens in my life, I know it will always be for my good because I love Him. But what humbles me down is that He loves me, and without His love, I will never be able to love Him back (1 John 4:19). Every time I think of His Sovereignty, Supremacy and Providence, I cannot help not to praise Him, and humbly say, “It’s my joy to glorify Your name. Though my life is nothing compared to You, You still chose me to worship you for eternity”. It’s my joy to become a slave and a friend of the One who owns every good things. For He alone is good, and I rest my life in the arms of His goodness. 🙂
LESSON # 19: WHATEVER HAPPENS, FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2
This world has been on the raging storm against darkness, and sad to say many people love the dark instead of the light (John 3:19-21). And so in this cruel world, I chose to fix my eyes on the only perfecter of my faith. To the one who knows everything. And in Him, my Vine, I found life. 🙂 I even learned that even in my season of singleness I must fix my eyes on Him for He is my everything. Let’s wait only in Jesus Christ. For from Him alone comes our salvation (Psalm 62:1). 🙂
LESSON # 20: YOU NEED TO WRITE DOWN YOUR THOUGHTS.
There are times that when I come across a passage in the Bible, I cannot help not to write down my thoughts about it. There’s a need for us to write down the lessons we learned and this blog has been a great help for me to keep the lessons I learned. I pray that when I experience trials and sufferings, my own lessons will encourage me to go on and live my life in the loving presence of Christ. 🙂
LESSON # 21: DON’T LOSE YOUR SOUL OVER WORLDLY ACHIEVEMENTS
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? –Mark 8:36
I always wanted to become a doctor, but sometimes the worldly things that is attached to it is tempting. But when you come to Christ, you’ll learn that becoming God’s daughter is more precious than being called a ‘doctor’. I may still want to have it today, but not in a selfish way anymore.
I want to go to the mountains where health is compromised and people are dying with illnesses that can be cured, but no one ever bothered to reach out to them because they don’t have money. I want to live that kind of life where I’m concerned more on other people’s needs because that’s a way of showing God’s love for them. My life is not about me. Thus, my dream is not about me either. I’m not after any worldly pleasures anymore because it will be gone someday, but the kingdom of God will last for eternity. 🙂
LESSON # 22: YOUR MIND MAY BE FULL OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HOW GOD WORKS IN A MAN’S HEART, BUT IT TAKES A PURE AND HUMBLE HEART TO MAKE IT REAL IN YOUR LIFE
Knowledge is good especially if it’s about God’s Word, but if the Spirit of God does not convict you and make it real in your life, it doesn’t make sense. Our aim here is not to know everything about God, although deeper knowledge about Him leads to a deeper worship.
You should check your motives first why you’re after that learning. Is it because you want to worship Him deeply or you just want to outsmart Him? The latter is foolish, while the first one is a mark of a true Christian. Our study of the revealed things of God through His Word should lead us to deeper worship of Him. But accept the fact that we cannot know everything about God for what He revealed to us is just a small part of what is to come for us in eternity (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Our knowledge should lead us to love Him more, love His Word and love His people. He didn’t gave us a Word to manipulate it and make it pleasant in our ears. Don’t worry if it’s not palatable to some. Your concern is to give it to others the purest as it is. And remember to let the things you share be real in your life (James 2:14-26). 🙂
Seek God every second of your life. Trust in His Word, but don’t lean in your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make you walk in the counsel of His will. Obey God at all times. Do everything out of love. Desire Him above all else because from Him alone comes all the things you need from now to eternity. God bless you, and may God keep you.