On 13th of July, Rev Noddy Sharma, CEO of Operation Mobilisation (OM) Australia, shared about the keys to finding life in the Out of the Comfort Zone (OCZ) Asia 2016 conference at Port Dickson Methodist Centre.
The keys to finding life is countercultural to the world
The world insists on the notion of immediacy. Yet, God uses time to fulfill His purpose (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
The world insists on relative truth. Yet, God holds the absolute truth in His Word (John 17:17).
The world insists on ‘me.’ Yet, God holds the universe in His hands – that all things come from Him, through Him and for Him (Romans 11:36a).
The key to finding life is in losing our life to God
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-26).
Yet, Rev Noddy shared how the church has imbued young people with a deep sense of entitlement, of a God who is supposed to serve them and bless them.
“When young adults come into a church and hear about sacrificial living, serving others and sharing the good news, the gospel becomes unappealing to them. Young people think, ‘Being in church does not help me to go where I want to go.’”
Young people are leaving churches by the fold. Pew Research Center in 2014 found that that only 56% of today’s younger millennials (born 1990 – 1996) in the United States call themselves as Christians, even though about 80% of them were raised in religious homes.
But the truth is life on earth is all about God and not about us. Like John the Baptist, we need to resound the message – Jesus must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30). This is the countercultural way of God’s way of living. To lose our life for God, is to find life.
The key to finding life is in losing our flesh to God
What does denying ourselves mean (Matthew 16:24)? To deny oneself is really to deny the works of the flesh or to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).
The works of the flesh manifest themselves in adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelling, and similar behaviours (Galatians 5:19-21).
The works of the Spirit manifest themselves in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Although we are ‘not in the flesh but in the Spirit’ (Romans 8:9), we have the free will to choose to walk in the Spirit or walk in the flesh. It is wise to choose to walk in the Spirit because ‘the Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing’ (John 6:63).
How do we walk in the Spirit? Firstly, get rid of all moral filth in ourselves (James 1:21a). Secondly, we need to humbly accept the word planted in us (James 1:21b). Thirdly, do not merely listen to the word, but do what it says (James 1:22).
Also, pray to the Holy Spirit to help us (John 14:26, John 16:12-15, Luke 11:13, 1 Corinthians 2:13). The Lord said, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:27). When we say ‘yes’ to God, the Holy Spirit works to enable us to both will and do for God’s good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
The key to finding life is in losing our life for others
Rev Noddy shared how a lady in Rwanda took the murderer of his whole family to be his own son, after a ten-year healing and restoration in love by the Lord.
It is this kind of love – that is unthinkable and unimaginable in this world – which turns the world upside down.
“It is remembering that Jesus is the one who paid the price. And because of that love, it should stir in us to do extraordinary things.”
Jesus said, “But whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).
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