One of my favourite pastors used to say that when we were non-believers, what God hates most is our sins. When we became followers of Jesus, what God hates most is our self-centeredness. It’s easy for Christians to understand the first part of the statement. However, it took me some time to absorb the second.
You are not the heroine
I started to savour the second part by observing people around me.
We celebrated the past Pentecost by presenting Bible-related dramas, poem recitation or hymns. The whole church was divided into four small groups. Each group organized their own programs and performed them on the very day of Pentecost.
Jessica, and 8 other church members and I were in one group. After a long discussion, we decided to perform a five-minute play and make Jessica the heroine. Others will support the action as the story progresses.
However, as our rehearsal went on, Jessica kept denying herself and anxiously paused the rehearsal for several times. Hence we spent plenty of time in pervading, encouraging and prying for her. But it didn’t help at all as Jessica continued indulging herself in difficulty and impossibility.
Thanks to God’s grace and mercy! Our rehearsal went on smooth later on. The play turned out to be quite successful on Pentecost. Lots of people told us that they were inspired and encouraged by our sketch. While we were all happy, proud and giving thanks to God, Jessica refused to watch the recorded video and looked unsatisfying. She insisted not to watch the video even several weeks after the Pentecost.
This play meant to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit and God’s glory, however, Jessica focused too much on herself and forgot our higher purpose. That’s where I noticed how self-centreless blocked our eyes from God.
If this happened on Jessica, a mature Christian, how much more would I commit the same sin? I asked myself. Disappointedly, I found myself behave almost the same in the similar situation.
Since our Bible study group leader is a British and his translator was on leave last week, I was appointed to help with the translation last Sunday.
In the beginning, I thought the task was simple and could totally handle it. However, I was chickened out when people started joining in!
I just realized that we have several English teachers and mature Christians in the class. How would they evaluate my translation? Will they compare me with previous translator? Is my Bible knowledge enough for today’s translation?
Worries and doubts came out all of the sudden! Thank God that I didn’t forget to pray at that time. Again, thanks to God’s mercy, my confidence was restored after prayer. The class went on fine and my translation was affirmed by the class.
That’s my personal experience of knowing how self-centeredness stole our assurance from God. I learned from this lesson that it’s never we do anything, but God completes His goal though us!
It’s all about God’s name
Obviously, Jessica and I didn’t recognize the significance of God’s name, as most of His great and faithful servant in the Bible does.
When Israelites made a golden calf in wilderness and caused God’s extreme anger, Moses defended according to God’s name rather than mentioning Israelites’ ignorance and folly. Because he knew that God cares more about the integrity of His name. And it did work in the end.
King David, one of the most respectable kings in Israel history. During all his life, he regarded God as his Sustainer and always humbled himself before God. We could easily see it through his prayer: O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8, versus 9).
It’s easy for us to focus on ourselves if we lack of clear understanding of God’s name. We would either look down upon ourselves or boast about ourselves in such circumstances. May God help us to learn from Moses and David, and glorify His name in everything we do!
Cindy Cheng was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cindy’s previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html