By Nathanael Goh
Recently, the STAR scholarship application was opened again for a new batch of SPM graduates and STPM graduates as well as other pre-u graduates. It made me realized that it has already been a year since I applied for it and got accepted. It was truly a blessing from God for me to continue my tertiary education. When I look back at it, I’m appreciative of those who were very supportive of me when I was super nervous while preparing for my interview followed by waiting for the results. I’m thankful
that the prayers were indeed answered and there are some lessons that I learned from the past year that I would love to share in this article.
I realized that we really need to put God in our decision making (James 4:15-16). No matter what phase we are in life, prioritizing God and making Him an important part of our decision making is very important. In all that we do, we ought to bring glory to our Father in heaven (1 Corinthians 10:31). Have we ever stopped to think about how enrolling in a col-
lege or university (for students) or choosing a job (for working adults) could impact our spiritual life? If we choose a university that has no congregation nearby, how would it affect our spiritual well-being?
If we choose a job that consumes most of our time in a day, how would that affect our spiritual growth and efforts of evangelism as well as edification? Have we ever given it a thought to the consequences each decision has to offer? Is it worth sacrificing our spiritual growth and more importantly the work God commanded us for worldly things? Is the sacrifice which Christ made for us by suffering immense humiliation and pain to bear our sins have such an insignificant effect on our lives? With that being said, the point does we take God into consideration when we make decisions, or do we only do what we want without a care of how it would affect us spiritually?
Here’s the thing, life is so fragile, time is so limited and very uncertain. We can be around one day and gone the next (James 4:14; Ecclesiastes 9:12). We need to stay focused on our main mission on earth and not focus on things that the author of Ecclesiastes considers as “vanity.” Here’s an illustration, imagine your house is on fire, would you still be doing some work on your laptop or would you be rushing to get you and your family to safety? If we still don’t know what to prioritize correctly, not only would we lose what’s valuable to us but we ourselves will also be burned to death (1 Timothy 4:16).
Likewise, the problem of sin is very real because as long as sin exists in this world, it will separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and if we have not obeyed the gospel and be baptized for the remission of our sins by the time judgment day comes, we will be in big trouble (2 Thessalonians 1:8). In addition, if we are not careful and fall away, we will face even harsher punishment (2 Peter 2:20-22) so it’s important we discipline ourselves lest
we preach to others but we ourselves become disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27). The chances of that happening are pretty high if we ever lose track of our main purpose in life!
One of the main purposes of continuing my degree should be
so that I can share the gospel with my friends and edify those around me whether it be spiritually or in any other areas of life (Matthew 9:36-38;
Ephesians 4:29). I understand that getting a degree is important for my career but that’s not all I should be focusing on. If I only focus on my studies and on the things that only benefit me, I would be failing to comply with the commandment of self-denial (Matthew 16:24) given by our Lord Jesus Christ.
We ought to imitate Paul as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), we can see how much he focused on serving others and doing things that
not only benefit him but which is good for others. Therefore, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interest of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
The harvest is truly plentiful there, the studying phase of our lives is one of the most crucial time for evangelism. This is because we can make as many friends as we can and to reach out to as many of them as possible. Another thing about this phase is that the friends we make here roughly have a similar schedule to ours so it would be easier to meet. Interestingly, one of the factors the Klang congregation grew so fast in her early years was due to the members’ commitment to evangelize their classmates! The people
we meet and reach out to here will create opportunities to help even more people even when we have long completed our studies.
The point is whether you’re studying or working, wherever you are and whenever the time is appropriate, we could, and we should make full use of our situation and share the truth! A good reminder to have as a student or as a working adult is that we are to be full-time Christians and not part-time ones which mean that we don’t just attend church once or twice a week
to be “holy” but to walk every part of our lives in a worthy manner in the sight of the Lord!
What we need is to do is fully understand what it takes to be the salt and light of the world in our everyday conduct (Matthew 5:13-16). Are we so occupied with work or studies till we forget our duties as Christians which is to preach to the lost or at least behave how a Christian ought to? It’s crucial that we know and set our priorities right. If every member of the Lord’s church has the mindset of a full-time Christian, the Lord’s church in Klang or any other congregation will grow rapidly like it did in the first century.
Lastly, hearing is not enough, learning is not enough, we must do! So, here are some suggested applications to be FULL-TIME CHRISTIANS:
- When you’re alone, mind your thoughts. (Philippians 4:8; Romans 12:1-2; Romans 8:5-8)
- When you’re with friends, mind your tongue. (Ephesians 4:29)
- When you’re angry, mind your temper. (Proverbs 15:18; 16:32; Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ephesians 4:26)
- When you’re with a group, mind your behavior. (Matthew 5:13-16;
- When you’re in trouble, mind your emotions. (Psalms 46:1; James 1:2-8)
- When God starts blessing you, mind your ego. (Proverbs 11:2; 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:6; 1 John 3:22)
- When you start earning, mind your spending. (Proverbs 3:9-10; 2 Corinthians 9:7)
- When you have the truth with you, don’t hesitate to share it with those around you (Proverbs 3:27-28; Matthew 28:19-20)! Recently, there’s a series of personal evangelism workshops being conducted every Saturday at 4.00 p.m. It’s very encouraging to hear fellow brethren sharing about how they are doing personal work and we also get to learn about the different approaches and methods in reaching out to various types of people.
- If you have the love for man and the love for God, then this workshop is for you! We need to prioritize working towards spiritual growth and not wait for the lessons we get twice or thrice a week at church (Hebrews 5:12-14). We must be PROACTIVE in strengthening our own understanding of our faith in order to defend it better (1 Peter 3:15)!
- There’s plenty of resources available to us if we are willing to look for it, we just need to apply Bro Peter Tan’s favorite verse, Matthew 7:7 (A.S.K Principle). For example, it’s not that hard to find these resources, we can find some useful websites listed in the church bulletin which can help us understand certain subject matters better.
In conclusion, I beseech you, brethren, do not let the ways of the world influence our thinking and behavior (Colossians 2:8). So, let us not be side-tracked from our main mission on earth! ALL of us ought to be FULL-TIME Christians regardless of our respective circumstances.
“Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16).