The Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:1 that we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God as this is true and proper worship.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
It is easy when you offer it with your conditions, such as God, “I offer you my all, but please don’t send me to Papua New Guinea” for example. Or one such as, “I offer you my all, but you must give me a an amazing spouse before I give my all”. When we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, we need to be in complete abandon to Him especially in the times He has called us to do so more abandoned than other times.
I did not want to share my lineage history sometimes because it may sound arrogant. But I came from a line of merchants in Asia. My great-great grandfather was a merchant from the Middle East. He had at least one trading ship that goes back and forth to Asia Minor several times, until he decided to resettle himself in Asia Minor and married a woman of nobility from a nearby kingdom. She was the daughter of a prince.
My great grandfather was the youngest son of my ancestors, and he became successful in business and was very wealthy. He married the daughter of a merchant from China. They were so successful that they were the third wealthiest family in the state they lived. They were in a way, the equivalent of ‘Vanderbilt of America’, because they built railroads, electricity, telegram posts and helped with the establishment of the postal service, and building infrastructure. They owned several iron and tin mines, as well as a few silver and several palm oil and rubber plantations that helped to power the Industrial Revolution of Europe (where do rubber for tires come from?).
At the time, the British Empire was still ruling the country, and my great grandfather partnered with them for business.
That is until the Second World War came and the Japanese Invasion took over, and business was interrupted. My great-grandfather got sick from an infection in the lungs and eventually died due to the Japanese Invasion’s interruption of medical supply import, and on the restriction of access of medicine to my country’s people. He was succeeded by two wives, daughters and sons, with the oldest son being only ten years old.
The Japanese Imperial Army confiscated some of our land, and none of it was returned to our family. She raised my father and my uncle to be educated with university education. And then my father and uncle got their degrees at one of the most prestigious, competitive and oldest universities in the country.
My father became an influential person, with the social circle of influential people. People like the conglomerate owners of resorts, casinos, plantations, industrial manufacturers of Asia, people who have international and global economic powers around the world.
And then he sent me to the United States. His vision for me is to learn to become a professional with an impressive degree, with an impressive resume, much like the children of his peers who themselves studied in impressive universities in the UK and Australia and our nation, but he never got that dream fulfilled.
As much as I tried, it never happened. Other things just happened. Maybe it is a phase that is similar to Job’s, or maybe it is a season that is much like Joseph’s time working for Potiphar or being in the jail, but I know I have a hope. I know I have a future. And I have destiny. And that Jesus is going to prevail it for me.
When I was in college, I earned an award for my research with a research team in my college, and won scholarships and grants with it. Not once, but twice. It was partly funded by the NIH. It was going really well for me.
Then there came a dry season of underpaid work and overwhelming stress with becoming a Christian with a family who’s Muslim, and also the other things in life. I started to feel the humiliation of going so low. With the investment that we put in and everything, I understand how my family feels about everything and about their expectations for me. I am their daughter. I have a responsibility to carry the family’s legacy, because if I don’t we would break the tradition of our familiy’s line of builders of success.
But God’s plan for me is far greater than any of the things that are most dearest to me and my family. He wants me to understand and possess the abundance that He has for me, that no wealth can buy – Jesus, His Son. He wants me to be grafted into a family of a far greater royalty than my family can offer, and be a part of a greater legacy than my family has, and of a greater lineage than my family and I can boast about.
You see, I had to give up my family’s wealth, nobility, legacy, lineage, reputation, influence and everything that is very costly for someone who is born into a family such as mine, to follow Jesus. I had to give up my father’s and mother’s approval and expectations just for Jesus. I had to give up my inheritance and my culture just for Jesus. I had to give up marriage because of not wanting to be yoked with an unbeliever just so I can honor God. I had worked for free for a year because I do not want to conduct evil. It was costly. Very costly.
And a lot of consequences came with all of that. I did not become a millionaire. I did not become famous for going through all of that. Instead, things got worse and worse. But God was faithful. In the last eight years of being a Christian, I never had to beg for bread. I never had to sleep under a bridge. I was at the brink of homelessness and losing the little that I have. A lot of my financial troubles that started were beyond my control. There was just nothing I could do, many times all I had was the choice to take consequence A with minimal loss, or take consequence B with maximum loss. Most jobs that I got were either underpaid or did not offer me enough hours.
I gave it my all and my best efforts. But the more I tried the worse things got. I got to a point of depression, and into a place of feeling like giving up every. single. day. Sometimes several times a day. But every time I got to that point, I cried out to God. I asked Him to not allow me to give up.
And He did not allow it. No matter how much the pain, the humiliation, the agony, the exhaustion and the overwhelm haunt me, God would come back to me and tell me to hold on just a little longer. It felt like forever. It was suffering, it felt like hell.
But God reminded me of the molting season of eagles, in which eagles lose their eyesight, their ability to fly and hunt for food when the molting season comes, and during this season, older eagles who had overcome the molting season would drop food for the eagle that is in the molting season. Interestingly enough, all the people who brought food were older. And they literally dropped food at my flat, and pretty much flew away. Well, we fellowshipped and prayed together as well.
In amidst of all of that God began to give me visions and the interpretations, dreams and interpretations and interpretations of dreams and visions that I had years ago, some even more than a decade ago.
God gave me new songs in tongues to worship Him in, and the interpretations of some of them, and He began to renew me in His Word and my walk with Him and it became so refreshing, like cupping water from pool with crystal water, basically from the fountain of life – Jesus.
And then God just provided and provided. And they had nothing to do with my prayer and intercession ministry or my writing. They did not even know that I write so actively. As far as I am concerned, they have not read my blog or my articles. So basically, all of the people that have heard or read the healing words of my articles, or benefit from my prayer and intercession ministry are all paid for literally by Jesus.
And I do what is right and what God wants me to write simply because I now have a deep trust for Him. A trust that assumes His best interest is my best interest and a trust that assumes His love and favor for my brothers and sisters will not conflict his love and favor for me.
God revealed to me not twice, but three times of what He has in store for me in the Kingdom of His Son. Although I am confident it is from the Holy Spirit, just for the conscience of others, I know very well, that even if these things were not true, I would still be happy to just keep going forward for the LORD, because I no longer doubt His love and favor for me. His love is so unfailing and He is just so faithful.
In all of this, I realized that God called me to share the pain, suffering, and sacrifice of His Son in order to share the His glory later on (Phil 3:10, 1 Peter 4:13 and Romans 8:17). I was living a sacrificial life for most of my entire Christian life.
Jesus had to give up His Heavenly abode in order to be incarnated. He had to give up His ‘wealth’ in order to become the Messiah. He had to give up His earthly inheritance to die on the Cross. He had to give up His potential for building his earthly legacy of being a son of David (by getting married and having an earthly offspring – we know that the plan all along that He knows He was going to die, but we shouldn’t minimize the possibIlity of His humanness) to become the Messiah. He had to give up His earthly lineage and everything that means so dear to Him.
Like how God called Hosea to share His pain, Jesus chose me to share His pain, and through that pain and suffering I was able to identify with that suffering and sacrifice. But all of the pain, suffering and sacrifice that I went through, it was only a tiny sliver of the intensity of the pain, suffering and sacrifice that our Lord and Savior went through, and His pain, suffering and sacrifice is a million times over in intensity than mine. It gives us to an extent the depth of His agony at the Cross, so as to remind us of the cost, not so we may be grateful or feel indebted, but to know the depth of His love for us and the need for others to hear about His Salvation.
Our trials are not meant to be a place of condemnation. It is actually a place of true and proper worship. I am not saying that one should deliberately look for trouble. Please don’t. Don’t go and just sell off all your land possessions unless you know Jesus truly wants you to do so. Don’t try to squander everything you have just because you wanted a sacrificial life. A sacrificial life is a calling for every Christian, but the intensity of it is not the same for everyone. Whatever you are called to do, do it with obedience and humility, because God loves you so much.
Do not miss the opportunity to obey Him and take part in the walk of glory through trials and suffering if you are called to and for you to be identified with the Son of God so you may be able to take part in His glory and honor as well.
I just have complete abandon and surrender to God today that I never had before, knowing and trusting Him that His plans are to prosper me and to give me life and life more abundantly.
I used to wonder how could Paul and Steven live so surrendered lives to Jesus.
I believe I now know how – that is the love of Jesus in the wake of their most lowly places, finding His true love for them as being so unconditional, that their cup overflows with that same unconditional love that they too began to love Jesus unconditionally – to love Him until death and no matter what happens.
And by the nature of His Holy character, I know that His plans for my brothers and sisters in Christ are to prosper them and to give them life and life more abundantly. God is good. He will never test you beyond your capabilities and he will not revoke any promise that He has given in His Word – the Bible.
If you trust Him at this level you will realize that with God truly nothing is impossible. With Him all things are indeed possible. And when you come out the other side, either on this earth or in the eternal, you will find an intimacy with Jesus that you never knew you could have before – one that brings peace that surpasses all understanding and guards your hearts and minds in Him as your Lord and Savior (Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 6:33, Phil 4:6-7, Romans 8).