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Pay It Forward

Posted by Alan Leung on

“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

Who does the good work? What is your interpretation of good work? When have you done, prioritised or planned to do His good work? Where do you see God calling you to do His good work? How do you trust or know you are doing His good work?

Have you ever paused and realised that we were made to do His good work? In John 13, there are three major themes, starting with Jesus washing his disciples’ feet; Jesus predicting his betrayal; and Jesus predicting Peter’s denial. The wisdom imparted in these events to come is simply breathtaking.

After washing the disciples’ feet, the question he asked was profound. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” When we come to faith or re-commit our faith, maybe through Alpha, a conference, an outreach event, ministry or some form of gathering, the question is “What’s next?” The excitement, tenderness and vibe gets to us like when we have a nice cool drink on a summer day or going to a dream holiday to satisfy that hunger to do good work.

The issue is when all these emotions of good work taper off. Our heart, mind or even our soul is longing for the next thing to uplift the doldrums of life. We prioritise our life according to what fulfills our desires, and we leave our relationship with God on the back burner. We don’t see God’s good work being able to fill that cup and overflow it with happiness compared to what the world has to offer.

Now going back to John 13, this reminded me of the part when Jesus predicted his betrayal and told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” Clearly, no matter what, God is unchanging and His grace and mercy is on full display.

Everyone is in a different season. By imitating Christ’s humility, the theme of Philippians 2, we can truly love one another and look past turbulent emotions. Before reminding Peter of his future denial, Jesus gave us the key to do His good work. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). It starts with us by not denying our calling but paying it forward by confirming our calling and election as His disciples (2 Peter 1:10), his chosen people, his royal priesthood, his holy nation (1 Peter 2:9).

I will leave you with this quote from Elisabeth Elliot:

“Faith is a decision. It is not a deduction from the facts around us. We would not look at the world of today and logically conclude that God loves us. It doesn’t always look as though He does. Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling – feelings don’t help much when you’re in the lion’s den or hanging on a wooden Cross. Faith is not inferred from the happy way things always work. It is an act of the will, a choice, based on the Unbreakable Word of a God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Let us pay it forward by:

  • Thanking God that our life is purposeful when we choose to be partakers (2 Peter 1:3-4) and our impact can be greater (John 14:12) to glorify Him.
  • Asking God to help us be in awe of Him by knowing the truth that gives us freedom if we see ourselves as his disciples (John 8:31-32). 

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