As I reflect back on my experience at Campus Challenge 2017, God has blessed me abundantly. It is my prayer that my sharing would be an encouragement to anyone who is reading the newsletter. One thing I would like to share about is a new perspective God has given me on what it means to follow Jesus. For the past few years, I found myself struggling to understand God’s character. To me, he was a control freak who forced me to obey Him, so that His name would be glorified. I thought all following Jesus simply meant was following His commandments. Because I am a Christian, I need to study hard for God’s glory, I need to evangelize to my friends, I need to pray and spend quiet time every day, I need to serve on worship team. Actions of obedience became burdensome to me, as I struggled to reconcile the relationship between grace and obedience. At CC, I’ve learnt that to follow Jesus means to follow Jesus, and this is not only about actions of obedience. To follow a person requires one to draw close and walk with him or her. In the same way, when Jesus calls me to follow Him, it is an invitation flowing from His grace and love, for me to draw close to Him, to enjoy His presence, to soak in His love. Just like the parable of the vine and the branches in John 15, as I abide in Him, fruits will be born, and actions of obedience will follow. It is such a foundational and simple truth, yet it is only when God speaks, that I could come to realize my own misunderstandings of Him.
First week following Campus Challenge, I felt renewed, determined to follow Jesus. There was nothing better than being in His presence. But as time went by, my passion began to die down. I felt the constant battle against sin and my lack of desire to draw near to God. The mundane full-time work schedule made me feel aimless and demotivated. It was frustrating to see that that there was no transformation in my life, even after witnessing all the amazing things He has done at CC. I started to doubt myself… Would God’s Kingdom ever really break into my life? Am I a true follower of Jesus? Do I really know Him? How can I fall back to my old self so easily? As I vented my frustration and asked God all these questions, one of the Beatitudes came to mind: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” God reassured me of His work in my life by reminding that the fact that I was grieving over my brokenness was an act of humility, and through that, His Kingdom is already breaking into my life. I know that I will fail again, but going back to John 15, apart for Him I can do nothing. I need to depend on Him every moment, whether it be victory and failure.