THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
OUR STRENGTH IS IN CHRIST
went through a lot in his journey with God. He had been radically
transformed from a staunch opponent of the gospel to the foremost
proclaimer of the gospel. In serving Christ, he had many ups
and downs. From winning to seemingly losing many battles.
From being loved by brethren to being maligned and attacked
by so-called brethren. Through all these, Paul simply persevered.
the end of his life, Paul could rightly claim: “I have
competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”
(2 Tim 4:7). Paul was faithful to God’s call to him,
he gave it his all, and he could look with satisfaction at
what God had allowed him to accomplish.
was the key to Paul’s perseverance and strength? In
the face of intense oppression and suffering (see 2 Cor 11:23-28),
he simply kept doggedly plodding on. Paul had learned the
secret. He was simply focused and centered on Christ, who
was the absolute source of his power and effectiveness.
have the strength for everything through him who empowers
Our strength is in Christ! It is his Spirit who empowers us.
If we live our lives for him, through him, in him, with him,
then we also will have the strength for everything. Nothing
will ever faze us in our life and mission. In fact, when the
negatives come up, such as seeming failure or persecution,
we can even rejoice. In Christ, we see that it was his seeming
defeat on the cross that resulted in his victory in glory.
And now we are called to embrace his cross and to proclaim
the gospel of the cross. If we are deemed worthy to suffer
for the cause of Christ, then we simply must rejoice.
know that our life in Christ will be full of wonderful blessings,
but there will also be suffering and pain. Jesus talks about
the abundance of these blessings in this life, and how we
can look forward to eternal life (now that will really be
abundant!), but wedged between the blessings of this life
and the blessings of the next are persecutions! (Mk 10:29-30).
we do not look to being blessed, but to simply serving Christ.
We of course know we will be blessed, because the blessings
are part of the package. But they are not our goals. We do
not serve for selfish purposes. Further, we do not define
what blessings are, i.e., only the good things. In Christ
and in the fulfillment of his divine plan for us, if we live
our lives for him, then everything is gain. For Paul, the
earthly gains have become loss, while the seeming loss of
all things has actually become gain (Phil 3:7-8).
If this then is our posture, then we have taken hold of the
secret to spiritual well-being as we serve the cause of Christ.
is how Paul puts it: “I have learned, in whatever situation
I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to
live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with
abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have
learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry,
of living in abundance and of being in need.” (Phil
4:11-12). Notice how Paul talks of extremes--being well fed
and going hungry, living in abundance and being in need. That
did not matter at all to him. Whatever God allowed to happen
in his life, he was content, for he had already learned the
As the community of CFC, we ourselves experienced these extremes.
We soared high in the first 20-25 years of our existence,
but we were hit by a great crisis in 2007 when the community
almost disintegrated. But even in the depth of our desolation,
God was continuing to teach us and to form us. And I might
say, God has been continuing to prepare us for greater things
that are to come.
fact, the key, or the secret, is precisely in knowing how
to accept both blessings and tragedies, both spiritual abundance
and desolation. Further, the key is in knowing that whatever
happens, both high and low, good and seemingly bad, God is
at work. Indeed, God intends such redemptive suffering to
happen, in order to better prepare us for the greater work
that is to come.
are weak and sinful human flesh. On our own, together with
our worldly reactions to good and bad, we cannot become the
effective and powerful instruments of God. But because we
look to Christ and the power of his Spirit, then we will have
the strength for everything.
we can truly say: “my God is now my strength!”
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