WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW AND UNDERSTAND
IN THESE TIMES of great difficulty, many people seem to reduce their aim in life to mere survival. While most people would be content with earning just enough to be able to get through each day, there are those who are trying to make a difference. They want more than just to survive in this hostile world; they aspire to conquer it. They would stop at nothing but to achieve their dream of perhaps building a business empire, securing a leading post in government, writing a bestseller, or doing whatever they think would bring them fame and fortune.
In the process, there are some who begin to believe that the advances they make toward reaching their goals are product of their own abilities and efforts. Giving credit to no one but to themselves, they go so far as to boast of their wealth, knowledge, or strength.
In the end, they would only find out that placing their trust and hope in these things do not make their lives truly meaningful. For although knowledge, strength, and wealth are useful, they do not provide lasting happiness and peace. As impermanent and limited as other earthly things, they cannot free man from the worries of life. The wise and wealthy king, Solomon, himself, attests:
“You work for something with all your wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and then you have to leave it all to someone who hasn't had to work for it. It is useless, and it isn't right! You work and worry your way through life, and what do you have to show for it? As long as you live, everything you do brings nothing but worry and heartache. Even at night your mind can't rest. It is all useless.” (Eccl. 2:21-23, Today’s English Version)
Many people in this world have experienced this to be true. Many wealthy individuals, for instance, have invested a great deal of their time and money in acquiring education and training in order to become affluent and successful, only to die and leave their riches behind to heirs who may have had little or nothing at all to do with what they had achieved. Moreover, a good number of rich people lead restless lives and experience financial worries which, in turn, have caused nothing but stress, anxiety, and various health problems.
Furthermore, though knowledge as he claims to be, man until now has failed to discover the cure for the common colds. In spite of the tremendous advancement on various fields, the problems of widespread poverty, unemployment, and the absence of peace still prevail in many places in the world.
Thus, man cannot and should not boast of his wisdom, wealth, or strength. He should not place his trust and hope on these things. In whom should man trust and hope?
“The Lord says,
“The wise should not boast of their wisdom,
nor the strong of their strength,
nor the rich of their wealth.
If any want to boast,
they should boast that they know and understand me,
because my love is constant,
and I do what is just and right.
These are the things that please me.
I, the Lord, have spoken.” ” (Jer. 9:23-24, Ibid.)
Man should recognize the Lord God rather than his own wisdom, riches, or abilities. As God Himself pointed out, only His love is constant and only He can do what is right for us, which includes solving whatever problems we have especially in these times of uncertainty.
THE REASON FOR LIFE’S UNCERTAINTIES
Why is this life filled with uncertainties in the first place? Why has this world become such an imperfect one, beset with troubles and confusion? God Himself proclaimed:
“Listen, earth! As punishment for all their schemes I am bringing ruin on these people, because they have rejected my teaching and have not obeyed my words.” (Jer. 6:19, Ibid.)
People have only themselves to blame for the misfortunes that plague this world. Since time immemorial, man has rejected God’s teachings and disobeyed His words. Many give Him very little or no regard at all, as the Holy Scriptures points out:
“The wicked tell God to leave them alone;
they don't want to know his will for their lives.
They think there is no need to serve God
nor any advantage in praying to him.
They claim they succeed by their own strength,
but their way of thinking I can't accept.” (Job. 21:14-16, Ibid.)
Is this not the attitude of many people in the world today? They spend all their time to be rich and successful, yet would have no time on serving God or in praying to Him. Others even feel that it is counter-productive or disadvantageous for them to spend their precious hours in serving God and following His commandments.
On the other hand, there are those who say that they want to serve God, yet do it in the wrong way. As the Apostle Paul foretold:
“The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. 4 They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends.” (II Tim. 4:3-4, Ibid.)
Serving God in accordance with sound doctrine or the truth is as important as the act itself of serving Him. In fact, it is the only form of service which God accepts and by which man benefits fully from His grace and blessings. As the Bible teaches, a person will never stand to lose for dedicating his time in serving God and in obeying His commandments, for he will receive the greatest reward:
“This calls for endurance on the part of God's people, those who obey God's commandments and are faithful to Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Happy are those who from now on die in the service of the Lord!”
“Yes indeed!” answers the Spirit. “They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them.”” (Rev. 14:12-13, Ibid.)
Thus, if a person desires to serve God and receive his guidance and blessings in this life and in the hereafter, then his service must be based solely on God’s will and commandments.
THE WILL OF GOD
The will of God for all men is explicitly stated in the Holy Scriptures. In Ephesians 1:9-10, this is written:
“Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” (New King James Version)
God’s will is for all men to be gathered together in Christ by becoming members of Christ’s body, which is the Church:
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (Rom. 12:5, Ibid.)
“And He is the head of the body, the church.” (Col. 1:18, Ibid.)
The Church which the apostles are referring to is the Church of Christ:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.” (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)
To be in the Church of Christ is to be cleansed of one’s sins, because it is the Church which was purchased or redeemed by Christ. In turn, to be cleansed or forgiven of one’s sins means to be saved from the wrath of God and, thus, inherit His great promises (Rom. 5:8-9).
Not only should we place our faith in God and entrust our life to Him, but also make sure that we belong to the Church of Christ. It is in this Church wherein our service to Him can be truly worthy. Significantly, by serving Him inside the Church of Christ, we have complied with His will and, therefore, have proven that we fully trust in Him. In this way, we ensure ourselves of His everlasting guidance and eternal love—in this life and in the hereafter.*
PAMPLETS/PASUGO GOD’S MESSAGE/AUGUST 2002/PAGES 21-22
Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.
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