substance & seeking

I took part in a one-meal fast last week with my church to reorient myself for 2019. I was doing the fast very intentionally on a personal level because I wanted to really devote my time to thinking and praying over how I want to live out my life this year. One of my conclusions was to start blogging about my Bible readings and QTs! I usually write in my physical journal, but I feel that it would be worthwhile to have an online medium as well that I can easily access whenever and wherever.

I'm going to tag these devotional posts as "bread." Because His Word is bread and food for my soul!

What I've been thinking a lot about these days is my purpose on this earth; which, I guess is inevitable as a second semester senior with the "real world" looming straight ahead. However, I've been realizing that besides being specifically called by the Lord to do something (whether it be vocational or not), it's our main duty as believers to fully live out this life of faith in every situation and context—every high and low, every environment and space, every joy and hardship.

While in LA, I attended Tapestry Church and distinctly remember the New Year's sermon on Micah 6:6-8:
With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of ram, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
The pastor emphasized the significance of living a life of substance. It's not only avoiding hollow religiosity, but also striving to be more like Jesus. It's not about me—it's about Him and the fact that He breaths substance into us. Jesus embodies verse 8 perfectly: just, loving, merciful, and humble. While ruminating over this passage and sermon, I was reminded of the famous phrase:

What would Jesus do?

And with perfect timing (as always!), on the first Sunday back at GCC in Philly, the sermon was about what it means to 1) live out our lives as we are called to, and 2) live out our lives like Jesus did.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19

Think about it: when Jesus was up on the cross, breathing his very last, He was attentively listening to the two men who were dying beside him on their own crosses. What would Jesus do? Even amidst His own painful suffering, even with the end drawing dangerously near—He was other-focused. That patience, that compassion, that strength... how unfathomable for us humans?

But! Don't worry! The beautiful truth is that we can learn to grow that very patience, compassion, and strength through the Lord, as long as we are seeking Him with our all and truly (+ humbly) walking the walk of faith. It's not about how much we know, but what we DO with what we already know. We won't ever be as great as Jesus, but we can set an example for those around us who aren't yet familiar with Christ's amazing love. This is the ultimate calling for each and every one of us.

Jeremiah 29:13 has been on my mind these past few weeks:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
To strive to be more like Jesus means that I am looking towards Him with my undivided attention. That I want and desire to know Him more. I'd like to aim for that this year... to pour my whole heart into honoring the Lord. What does being more like Jesus look like? Hmm...
  • Listening, for He always hears us
  • Forgiving, because His mercy for us is forever
  • Loving, as He fills us with the love that He wants us to give to others
  • Remembering, that He is good
  • Building, to fulfill the incredible purpose of kingdom work that He's bestowed upon us
And so much more. What's most important is that I know that He'll be with me through it all. With you, too. :')

I'll end with Ecclesiastes 3—A Time for Everything. It's an eloquent chapter that reminds me of God's perfect and never ending work in us.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end... I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him... So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot.
I am yearning to seek Him and to cultivate a heart like His.
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