“The spirit is willing, but time is fleeting. The mind is aiming, but the flesh is a weakling.” This is a little line that puts my certain frustrations into rhymes. I alluded to Matthew 26:41: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The context of this verse is to keep being prayerful. My rhyming saying, however, is about our earthly life’s limited time and physical abilities.
Are you like me who wants to do it all? Of course, not literally, but just to pursue your every passion. I see this in celebrities who started out as actresses, then became singers, then launched a product line, and some even wrote a book. Creative types–writers, artists, actors, musicians, etc–find a number of outlets where they can channel their ideas into art. Even in students who excel, they do their best in every subject and participate in as many extracurricular activities as they can.
I find no other meaning in life but to have my identity in Him. Whatever I do is for God.
What do these examples have in common? Zeal. We are zealous with our endeavors. I thank God for the desires He put in my heart, the hunger for His Word and the thirst to apply it. To me, to live truly is Christ (Philippians 1:21). I find no other meaning in life but to have my identity in Him. Whatever I do is for God. I guess why I want to “do it all” is because I want to give Him my best. Time is fleeting for me–not in the sense of my life coming to an end but just of 24 hours not being enough–because there’s so much I want to do for Christ. I came to a point where I get dizzy every day, so I call my flesh a weakling. It’s because of my eyes. I strained them doing work and ministries. I’m not writing this to discourage you even when my opening line does sound like it, but what I want to show is that our humanness limits us.
Jesus, being God, set the example of what a true leader is: It’s to be a servant.
What we’re doing with our lives does count. Jesus gave His followers the Great Commission to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). Followers and disciples are the same thing. Christians are disciples of Christ who are to make disciples of Christ. Here at Elevate, our main goal is to bring students to the next LEVEL, which is a Life Empowered through Values, Excellence, and Leadership. This is achieved by instilling discipleship as a lifestyle. Being a zealous follower of Jesus means you live by His values, you seek to excel for His glory, and you lead others to do the same. These are all great pursuits, with the part being a leader the response to the Great Commission.
When we think of leading, we consider it putting oneself in a seemingly high position. However Jesus, being God, set the example of what a true leader is: It’s to be a servant. He said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)
How should we serve God?
In his message called “Serve One Another,” Pastor Marty Ocaya gives 5 things that show the heart of a servant according to Romans 12. I had the privilege of interviewing one of the first campus missionaries of Elevate, Nina Aboganda, for us to see real-life servanthood in action.
1. Serve with the motivation of God’s amazing grace
“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
It all starts with the mercy of God, which is enough to save all who believe. If Jesus hadn’t brought salvation, there would be no hope for the world. We’d all be doomed to hell. This is the very reason why Christians share the gospel: The world needs saving. This salvation doesn’t only admit us to heaven but also transforms us into people worth being residents of it. Yes, it’s Christ’s righteousness that God looks at, but He also wants us to be like Him. What’s so amazing is God changes lives. He doesn’t want us to be left in bondage of sin.
This salvation doesn’t only admit us to heaven but also transforms us into people worth being residents of it.
This transforming work of the Lord is what motivates Ate Nina to serve in campus ministry and in sharing the gospel in general. Her life changed when she got involved with Jzone, which was what Elevate was called back then, so she wants others to be changed as well. She wants people to have Jesus in their lives.
in our world now, it’s harder not to conform, but for us not to, first, we must be grounded in God’s Word.
2. Serve without being easily distracted
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
What the apostle Paul says after offering our lives to God is to not be conformed to worldliness. What we must do is to set our minds to seek the Lord’s will. I asked Ate Nina how she applies this verse in the ministry, and she said that in our world now, it’s harder not to conform, but for us not to, first, we must be grounded in God’s Word. Then, she said we must think that “it’s easier to pull someone down than lift them up.”
Thinking you could minister to people when you do what they do, like getting drunk or smoking, for example, is disobeying God even if you think you mean well. These substances are harmful, and taking them is basically agreeing to causing harm. If we’re not careful, instead of us being the good influence, we might be the ones falling into bad influence.
3. Serve with humility
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
Serving for a long time in the ministry, Ate Nina, along with other ministers, always struggles in maintaining humility. Her advice is for us to remember how Jesus found us and that we Christians are all sinners saved by grace. Being a leader or having experience as a minister of the gospel doesn’t mean you’re the better person or that you know a lot more.
remember how Jesus found us and that we Christians are all sinners saved by grace.
She shared Luke 17:7-10 where Jesus says that a master doesn’t thank his slave when he does the things commanded him, so we too, when we’re commanded, must think, “We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”
God wants to reach everyone in the world so that they may see He is the solution to everything.
4. Serve with love for others
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10)
Romans 12:9-12 presents the many ways to love. I asked Ate Nina how she shows them as she ministers. She loves the people she ministers to by being involved in their lives. She got acquainted with their parents, visited them when they were hospitalized or were mourning their dead, and bought groceries for those in need. She stays positive by delighting herself in the Lord. In times of trial, she remembers He is close to the brokenhearted. In the groups she’s had, they’re accountable to one another. She prays and fasts weekly for the ministry. When she was on campus, she did prayer walks.
There was one time when a student was so against her sharing, but she was still able to impart the good news of Jesus to this person. The student asked her why she’s evangelizing, she answered that Jesus is so amazing, like finding a cure to cancer, that she just has to share Him to others. Their conversation turned out well, and in this, I see the love she has for people that even though they attack with insults, she still cares enough to share the gospel with them.
5. Serve with the ultimate desire to please God
“Present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1b)
Asking for what her main goal is in ministering, I got the answer that she aims for people to have Jesus in their lives. Out of her excitement about Him, she desires for people to see that He is the best there is. We’re commanded to share the gospel because God wants to reach everyone in the world so that they may see He is the solution to everything. He wants people to come to Him and have the relationship that satisfies the soul like no other. When we bring people to Christ, we’re fulfilling His Great Commission, and thus, we’re doing what pleases Him.
He wants people to come to Him and have the relationship that satisfies the soul like no other.
This is what being great looks like. If you want to be top-notch in God’s eyes, instead of you being served, you must serve those around you. That’s the practical way of showing people you love them. It does seem like difficult work, yet once you see that sharing Jesus will give the best life to people, you can’t help but be a walking testimony.