Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Desire to Fall (My New-Year Meditation)

For the past two years I've nurtured ambitious desires within me. All are intrinsically amoral. All can be means to glorify God. But it is impossible to fulfill them all simultaneously. And there the conflict lies.

A part of me wants to be a Christian mangaka. I was dreaming of the birth of "Soterioon" manga, aiming to make it as theologically symbolic as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress yet as graphically good as the manga I read and the anime I watch. But I'm just a novice. I need time to hone my drawing and writing skills.

A part of me wants to be a successful programmer. I'll be happy if this would be my lifetime profession (I was really happy when programming became my job). But there are many languages, systems and frameworks yet to learn. I need time to read, practice and get more geeky.

Silently, a part of me wants to know who my godsend really is, the girl God has prepared to be my lifetime partner. Silently, a part of me longs to be freed from a nine-year illness and the sorrow it produces deep inside of me. Who would dare disagree that it takes time to do these?

A great part of me wants to pursue biblical and theological studies, and be an exceptional (lay) theologian. It was actually one of the reasons why I collect books and join theological fora. I want to know more about the Being who shaped this world and saved my soul. I want to see him more by faith. But though I have the resources I need, it requires time to have in-depth studies.

Still a greater part of me seeks to be a youth shepherd. Yet tending a flock requires time. Time not only to attend to their needs but also to really become a part of their lives. It's hard. Harder than the aforementioned desires. Especially because of my weird personality.

So I wrestled with Time with all my might. I didn't mind sacrificing my health. I knew I have to win this bout.

Unfortunately, I was losing. From time to time I found myself sacrificing one desire for another. I was trying to make the losses minimal (at least that's what I thought). Until my eyes were opened and my heart was broken when the sheep cried in despair, showing me how much I sacrificed them. I have no one to blame but myself. I felt like I betrayed the people I love most. But more than that, the thought of failing my Master tore me to pieces. I was so wrong. I realized that I can't win against Time... because Time is not my enemy in the first place. The sinful Self is.

If it has been the Lord's will, I could have done all those things simultaneously. If it has been the Lord's will, conflicts would not occur. But I followed the Self. And the sinful Self is cunning. It is impatient and seeks gratification under the guise of "good desire". It does not seek the heart of God. It forgets priorities and justifies self-seeking. It must be mortified.

As the new year dawned one verse kept ringing through my mind:
"Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24)
The word "unless" reminds us that this is not optional. It was the only way for Christ to save us all. Likewise, it is the only way for us to be fruitful in His vineyard. To not mind the worries of life. To forget the self for the good of others. To be more serious in discipleship. To give our lives away.

This new year I welcome all good desires to bloom within (including the ones I mentioned above). But only insofar as they will be subservient to this one great desire: to give myself wholly to following His will and serving others unto death. To fall to the ground and die. Just like the Lord Jesus. It will be painful. It will take sacrifices. But it's the only way to bear fruit. Spirit-produced fruits. Fruits with eternal value. The only kind of fruit a discipler would want. The only kind of fruit a disciple of the Lord must seek.

May the Lord enable me to do so.