What motivates you to serve? Do you act out of fear, appearances, and the applause of others? Or the love of God and the glory of His Kingdom?
A resounding “yes” is what I hope to hear in response to the last question. However, I must admit that I have been struggling with my “yes” these past few weeks. At times, I find myself yearning for affirmation in the work that I do. And because I live in a world that values success based on works of the flesh, I tend to forget that bearing fruit does, in fact, take time and patience. Success doesn’t happen overnight! As such, these moments of doubt serve as an invitation to review what it means to follow Christ.
The Meaning of Human Struggle: God’s Grace and Truth
One day, when disappointment and discouragement superseded gratitude in my heart, I expressed the context in which these feelings arose to my spiritual mentor. Removing me from the pit I wallowed in for a couple days, she posed a question that re-rooted me in God’s truth:
“Who told you that struggling is bad, Kate? This is a misconception we were taught to believe. Remember this: if you speak the truth from a place of love and are falsely accused and rebuked for it, do not regret being unable to refute and defend yourself. You know your truth, and so does God. Rest knowing that you’ve done your part. Now let God do the rest and truth shall prevail.”
From then on, I felt so much lighter and realized that this was an opportunity to grow closer to Christ, and weed out the bad from the good. The moment I redefined this experience as my chance to imitate Christ and grow in virtue, I felt this rush of warmth, which granted me the grace to see where I fell short, and how to move forward even if I don’t receive an apology. For as long as I am sincere to myself and God, I learned that nothing could go wrong.
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
God permits pain and struggle so that we may learn, and mature in spirit and truth. Growth and change cannot happen without pain and discipline after all.
This may sound unappealing and intimidating, but I invite you to revisit this, and identify what suffering reveals about human resilience and God’s Merciful Love.
God is Love
Oftentimes, we think that God will only bestow His Love upon us if we do whatever is asked of us. Not true! God loves us so much that He gave us free will, so that we may all have an opportunity to do what is right. At the end of the day, He wants us to choose Him, to be free to desire goodness and detest evil.
Moreover, God’s Love is not merited, earned, nor deserved. His Love is unconditional! No matter how imperfect we are, there is so much hope for as long as we hold on to our Faith. Creative and wild in offering boundless possibilities, God is so generous that all we have to do is receive the free gift of grace and submit to Him. Therefore, we must be careful not to put God in a box. Instead, we must cooperate with His Truth and Grace in order to proliferate hope, faith, and love.
Still in the process of solidifying my faith, I tend to fall prey to doubt because of all these uncertainties in life. Lately, I’ve been raising an eyebrow and questioning whether God will help me overcome these obstacles or not. What needs to register in my mind and heart is that nothing is too small or big for God. I need to believe that God can do it, and build on the virtue of certainty in Him.
I find it helpful to remind myself that through Christ, God took on the most gut-wrenching path possible, so He knows what human suffering to the worst degree is like, and thus understands us. Every time I recall how Christ was stripped of everything because the world hated Him, I am instantly moved and humbled by His willingness to sacrifice Himself. Christ was and still is willing to walk alongside human ignorance. He knows how to brilliantly use and transform what is incorrect and flawed.
What are some flaws you could offer up to the Lord? From there, how do you think you can grow in intellectual curiosity and holiness?
Dream High, Aim High
Did you know that God does not call the qualified? He qualifies the called! Hence, I believe that the greatest tragedy in life would be not becoming a saint since we are all called to sainthood.
It’s a matter of choosing this path to heaven—taking it one step and day at a time.
Discipleship: The Road to Sainthood
More than being a disciple of God, ask how you can evolve into a disciple-maker. Now, open your Bible and turn to Acts 2:42. Meditate on the four components of discipleship, and outline how you can integrate at least one of them into your life: the breaking of bread, prayer, fellowship, and Apostles’ teaching.
Respond to these questions as you discern:
- Which component resonates with you most?
- How would you like to focus on one component this week?
- Which Saint do you admire most? Take note of three things he or she has done.
May your journey to sainthood produce abundant fruit!
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Kate Cabigao is from the Philippines. She is a graduate of NYU Steinhardt’s Education Studies program with a specialization in Global and Urban Education. She loves to write about her thoughts, feelings and experiences ranging from the silliest to the most serious moments. Her life goal is to inspire and empower those around her to make the most of their lives and to play to their strengths. Find out more about her here.