Aug 23: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him
Aug 24: John 11:36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
Aug 25: 1 John 4:16 God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Aug 26: Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LordReflections:
We know God is Love. And we know we want God’s Love. And we live in the Love of God.
But what does it mean to choose God?
Saying Yes to God does not mean we receive without giving. Saying Yes to want God’s love is not without sacrifice. Saying Yes, means more than just “I want” – it means “Saying No” too.
Saying “No” to all those that comes between us and God’s love.
It is like saying “I do” in a marriage vow – do you know what you are saying “yes” to? The “yes” is to remain faithful to one, and saying “no” to everyone else. It is the same with our “yes” to God – when we say “Yes Lord!” – we are saying “no” to anything that will make us drift further away from God.
Things such as sins. For sins will tear us apart from God’s love.
It is so easy to say that “the last shall be the first” or to say “thank God for making me mature in my faith” – and slip into pride and deny God’s works in us. “To God be the Glory” is not an empty war cry – it is a constant reminder that we must be aware of all the things that will “separate us from the love of God” – and a constant awareness to reject such things. That is the true meaning of saying “Yes”!
But when we say “Yes” to God, we must also remember that God first chose us, and He has given us free-will to respond, and when we respond, we must respond with faithfulness. We must exclude all sins and temptations, and we must continue to make a constant effort to choose God.
Constant effort. Daily effort. Everlasting effort.
God never says it is easy, but ‘hard’ is not ‘impossible’. In fact, the word “impossible”, when broken down, means “I (a)m possible”! God knows it is possible. We just have to believe that all things with God are possible.
The effort to say “no” to all sins and temptations can be done via three ways – we can cut the action, reason it out, or practise with our faith to curb all temptations.
The first way is to stop the sinful action by way of brute force or sheer determination. For example, if I get angry easily at the person who cuts into my lane while driving, I can practice patience and force myself not to get angry. However, this is not the best method – as it is curing the symptoms but not the root cause.
The second way is by way of reasoning. I can reason with myself that getting angry means getting dangerous. I may act rashly and I will not only endanger my life, but other people’s lives too. Hence, with that reasoning, I am getting one step closer to the root cause, and not just solving the symptoms.
The third way is to ask for God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s intervention, to plant the seed of forgiveness , compassion and empathy in my mind. I begin to think that maybe the other person is in a hurry to reach home to see his loved ones. Maybe he had a bad day and he wasn’t concentrating. Maybe, just maybe, it is not about him but it is God’s way of sending someone in my way to test my patience, to let me choose “yes” instead of “no” – to let me practise love.
And when I practise loving even a stranger, I will be one with God.
Yet I know it is not a destination, but a journey. A constant, daily and everlasting effort.
May God continue to grant me the wisdom and courage to say “yes”! Amen!