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I'm saved by grace. I have nothing to boast except for the fact that I have the greatest Being on my side.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

different? yeah i hope so...

"SET APART. That's you.
You don't labor for your own name.
The life you live is for His cause.
You bear the colors of the cross.
You are the REALITY of Jesus to this generation."

Thank you, Nikki, for this really inspiring and thought-provoking quote. You couldn't have timed it any better when you sent the text message to me.

To the faithful readers of my blog...I'm back! Yes, it has been more than a month since my last entry. A number of really important and newsworthy events have happened since the April 22 concert. I made several attempts to make an entry where I enumerate the different summer activities I spent with the fellow OWLS and with my family (overnights, trips around Baguio, gimmicks, youth camp, etc.). However, I found myself always struggling to get the right words out. They say that if you stop writing, you end up having difficulty trying to start again. I think this is why this particular entry is a product of five previous attempts to keep the flies away from my already decaying blog.

You might be wondering why I found Nikki's (or Monica, for those who are more familiar with her being called that) text message so thought-provoking. Two words: SET APART. Or, my own translation: BE DIFFERENT. Different in various aspects of life: how we react to our problems, how we talk and relate to others, how we respond to tempting and compromising situations, etc. In other words, being set apart reminds me that I am a Christian, and what I do should not equate itself to what the rest of the world does. And let's admit it. It is so darn difficult to live up to the saying "set apart." Why, the world is just so fond of luring young minds (and old minds, for that matter) into it's big ugly mouth of sinful living. I look around and realize that the thought of knowing Jesus doesn't immediately assure you that you're free from sinful living. I'll be honest. Christians are still so capable of engaging in pre-marital sex or other forms of sexual impurity. Christians are still capable of swearing. Christians are still capable of cheating, lying, gossiping, and slandering. Christians are still capable of prejudice. They are still capable of so many outward actions that can easily tarnish Christ's image in their lives. Why? Because it is our very nature. We are all sinners to begin with. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23)

But then...that's no excuse, when I think about it. Isn't our salvation in Christ, the righteousness that we have in Him, His Word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit our own weapons in resisting the desires of our sinful nature? I believe they are, and when we go ahead and give in to our sinful nature, we neglect these weapons that the Lord gave us to keep from falling back to our old ways. The Lord has equipped us with everything that we need to pursue a life different from that of the world, but it won't help much if we don't even bother to use what he has given us.

In two days, I'll be leaving what is termed "the teenage years." I am no longer going to be a teenager on the 17th of June. I think back to the almost twenty years of my life and reflect: Lord, have I set myself apart? I know there were times when I did, and other times when I did not. Living a life "set apart" for Christ has and continues to be a struggle for me. Why? Because of my wanting to fit in with the crowd-- show them that I know how to have "fun," show them that "hindi ako others." Or because of the excuse, "He's doing it too, so why can't I?" But, hey! Are we getting the favor of men here in the first place? No, we're not. And I doubt that God's plan is for us to primarily get the favor of men in the first place. Our priority is God, not man. And yet...how easy it is for us to forget that...

I don't think being set apart is the same thing as being exclusive. Exclusivity connotes something negative: it's like saying you do something intentionally to stand out, and it's usually with an effort to gain a reputation. Being set apart, on the other hand, means "thinking of what Jesus would do," because we have been called to live our lives His way and not ours. In the end, being set apart doesn't mean standing out for ourselves, but rather, projecting more of Christ in us. He should be increasing and us, decreasing.

Having said all this, I have a goal now set for me. I want to be different. Set apart. May the Lord guide me.


My dear OWLS...things have not been easy since after the youth camp. We've had, and we will continue to have certain struggles in life. But rest assured that if God is for us, the world can do nothing against us. Absolutely NOTHING. As some of you continuously tell me that we'll go through this, I can honestly claim that now. We may not have the favor of men, but we have the favor of God. Just a thought that Mom shared to me: When you feel the attacks of the enemy, it can only mean one thing...he sees you as a threat. (I like how that sounds...^_^) So, at least we're reassured of one thing...we OWLS are giving the serpents a hard time.


Blogger Autumn Solstice said...

I remember when Pastor Pads preached before... Although I don't remember exactly how he said it, the thought that stuck was that; whenever we go through hardships, either through trials from the Lord or attacks from Satan, we should take it as a compliment. The former because He's molding us to be more like Him, the latter because of just that... he sees us as a threat. And while it is a flattery that he is so intimidated by us... doesn't change the fact that a hardship wasn't called hardship for nothing. It's hard.

11:01 PM  
Blogger beyond-clear-vision said...

yeah...i know it is...and that's why it is called a trial too...because it does test the limits of your own faith in God, as well as your patience and your relationships with other people...

12:23 AM  

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