REFLECTION OVER 2020 - HOW DO I MEASURE UP?
Dear Members in Christ,
Reflection over 2020 – How do I measure up?
The year-end can be a very busy period for many people. Enterprises will close their accounts and take stock of their earnings for the year, businesses will review their opportunities and setbacks, teachers will help students review their grades with the aim of improvement. As children of God do we take stock of the way we have progressed in the past year? In the year past many events have shaken the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the physical landscape in which we live, it has changed our work practices, our children’s lessons in schools, and even the way we worship. As the year 2020 draws to a close, it is a good time for me, and for all of us to reflect on the spiritual impact of what God has brought into our lives in this year.
With these thoughts, we recount the things that have happened in our lives, with the aim of learning and improving our spiritual walk. Undoubtedly, there will be the good hallmark events, and good decisions which we have made which will be cause for rejoicing. Thinking back, there may also be the less pleasant things perhaps like, sins which I have committed, mistakes I have made, or unkind words perhaps that I had better left unsaid. All told, it is best that we all reflect on these things and measure ourselves if we have been obedient to the word of God.
A Checklist of Two Items Only
When the Lord Jesus was tested by the religious leaders of those days, He was asked, amongst the many commandments, which is the greatest? Indeed, the ancient scribes and Pharisees observe many laws and traditions. The Lord Jesus replied that the observance of the whole moral law (the Decalogue) may be summarized in two points, that is, to love God with all our heart, soul and might, and to love our neighbour as ourselves.
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
What an elegant solution the Lord had taught! The numerous laws and observances in the Mosaic law can be expressed concisely in the way a person walks with God and the way in which he interacts with his fellow men. The whole measure of obedience can be summed up quite simply as, love towards God and love towards men. Perhaps one way of reviewing my spiritual walk in the year 2020 can be to ask myself if I have been true in my love towards God and to my neighbour.
Our love towards God
One might ask, “How can I demonstrate my love for the Lord?” Let’s begin with worship. The bible teaches us that worship is of prime importance. The psalmist in Psalm 29:2 exhorts God’s people to “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” The psalmist tells us to give, to ascribe our worship towards God – it is an action of one who gives willingly. Rightfully so, for God is glorious in His mercy and grace towards us, so we praise and glorify Him for it is “due” to Him.
With this, a reflective thought for the year 2020 ought to be “have I been worshipful towards God?” In these times of the pandemic, we are restricted to live-stream worship. Whilst we are all worshipping from our homes, do we worship with the same attitude of reverence and honour towards God as we do when we gather in person in the church sanctuary? The question is rhetorical, really. Meaning to say, the expected answer is, “yes I do worship with the same reverence towards God whether in-person or at home!” I know of a brother who rise early every Lord’s Day to spend time in meditation of the scriptures and in prayer to prepare himself for worship. It is good to prepare ourselves and our children, dressed in their Sunday clothes for home worship. Let us be encouraged to worship God in reverence, in mind and body, whether in-person or at home. Prepare yourself mentally and spiritually for every Lord’s day worship, sign-in 10 to 15 minutes early, quieten your hearts and minds in prayer and confession before the start of the worship. For if indeed we are giving glory to God and the worship due to His Name, we ought to do so with deep reverence. Let not CJ members be habitual latecomers, or be like those “rush into-the-sanctuary” worshippers. Honour God! Prepare yourself early to worship God.
Moses taught the people “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12. Service and love goes hand in hand. Reflecting over the past year, we ought also to think about whether we love the Lord by serving the Lord with gladness. Looking back, I see many missed opportunities to serve God in the year 2020. Some of these opportunities are neglected due to lack of diligence, I pray that God will graciously forgive. But let us resolve to serve God with greater zeal. One way we can serve the Lord is to encourage and edify one another during these times of the CMCO. If there is something you can do to help someone in the faith, do so for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember the command to edify one another. If it is within your power, invite an absentee brother or sister to re-join the church worship. Encourage such a person to come into the fellowship with God’s people. By doing so, you are serving your master’s command to edify and strengthen one another.
Our love for our Neighbour
The year 2020 is unique in the way people across the world are forced to change the way they interact with one another. The Lord Jesus in His ministry often expressed compassion for others. The Bible teaches us in Matt 9:36, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” The word “compassion” in the New Testament language carries the meaning of deeply felt pity, an emotion from your innards. Thus we understand that compassion is simply love bundled with mercy which we offer to those in need. The Lord Jesus expressed His love for the people by showing compassion for them. The Lord Jesus healed their illnesses, He fed the hungry, He delivered them from spiritual distress and most importantly, He preached to them the Gospel of salvation.
We remember the Lord’s teaching, “Then saith he unto his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;” Matt 9:37. In the year past, have you sought out opportunities to share the Gospel with those in need? You may ask, “Who are those in need”? Anyone who is not born again is in need of the Gospel, whether it is our unsaved loved ones, friends, neighbours – they all need the Gospel of salvation.
Let no one say, “I don’t know how to share the gospel!” On the 28th November 2020, many participated in Calvary Jaya’s “Evangelism Workshop I.” Those who have attended would have received the knowledge of the message of the Gospel. In 2021, God-willing we will continue with Workshops II and III.
Reflection and Spiritual progress
Let this be our closing thoughts for the year. Have I honoured and worship God as I ought in the past year? Have I loved and served my heavenly Father as a blood bought child ought to? Have I loved others as I should, and encourage our brethren to grow in their spiritual walk with God, and finally, have I been faithful to the Lord’s command to tell of the good news of salvation? Where we have accomplished good works, let us thank God for His grace. Where I have failed, let us confess our sins and resolve to serve with greater zeal and devotion. May God’s name be praised.
In Christ, Dn. Lim SB