by: Dr. Laurence C. Mascay
More than 2,000 years ago in the garden of Gethsemane in Israel, a Man in agony prayed earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. He said, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine”. Jesus made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant and selflessly humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death for the sake of the people He came to save. Indeed, the embodiment of selflessness humanity should emulate for a better world.
A human being due to his fallen nature is egocentric - self-centered and thinking only of himself to the extent of degrading and taking advantage of others and disregarding their feelings and worth. The challenge for us today is to level up our way of living from the human nature of selfishness to the new nature of selflessness or “the quality of caring more about what other people need and want than about what you yourself need and want.”
Billy Graham said, “Only God can give us a selfless love for others, as the Holy Spirit changes us from within. This is one reason we must receive Christ, for apart from His Spirit we can never be freed from the chains of selfishness, jealousy, and indifference. Will others see Christ's love in your life today?" Selflessness is experiencing God’s love and goodness and selflessly extending it to others or paying it forward. Selflessness is putting others’ well-being or benefits first than ours. In a deeper sense, however, selflessness is putting God first. Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.” Consequently, the J.O.Y. of selflessness is Jesus, Others, You.
In implication, to be selfless, in practical ways, is to be patient, kind, and not envy others or boast to them. A selfless person does not dishonor people, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered and he keeps no record of wrong. Furthermore, to be selfless is to let God work in us and through us for His name’s sake and glory. Such virtues and acts of selflessness seem tough to live with yet by the help of God we can practice them before our family, neighbors, friends, and colleagues. Finally, as we choose to live in selflessness the joy of the Lord is our strength, and God’s favor is our portion.
by: Micah A. Tecne
The general concept of obedience is related to hearing or hearkening to a higher authority. Three of the action words that are associated to obedience are hearing, listening, and trusting. In our daily lives we hear two different voices, it can either be the righteous one or the wicked one. In our daily choices, who we listen to matters because it can either make us or break us.
Throughout history, we saw some stories of kings and rulers who yielded to wicked advice, and brought them and their nations, condemnation and eventually their downfall. Tragic results happen when we trust the wrong voice. The voice that we trust is the ones that we follow so we are encouraged to be more cautious who and what we listen to. We need to discern whether these advice or counsels are righteous or not. If we want to accurately build our lives, our homes, our agencies, and our nation, then we need to listen, trust, and follow righteous counsel. Following the righteous voice brings righteous decisions that will eventually bring righteous results.
When we trust the voice that counsels us, we submit to it and obey it. As Jesus emphasized the relationship between a shepherd and his flock. The shepherd goes ahead to guide and direct his flock to guide them because they are prone to wander and be endangered. His sheep follow him because they know his voice. We cannot deny the fact that our minds are limited and we need people to give us advice and direction. The Almighty has provided us the means and will lead us to the people who will direct us. May we listen, trust, and obey His ways knowing that His plans and ways are higher than ours. Let us dot us do this with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, in all our ways submit to Him and He will make our paths straight.
Sometimes we tend to compromise righteousness in order to please the crowd and gain the favor of men. But we are encouraged to listen to the right voice. We shall know this because there is an inner peace, confirming and assuring us that we are doing what is right. One of the characters in the movie God’s Not Dead 2 said, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God”. Our obedience to the Righteous Voice will bring us to a safe place that no one else can. By the end of the day, the choice would be ours, will we choose to obey the righteous voice or the wicked one?
by: Nathaniel A. Saquiban
The value of decisiveness is applicable in all areas of life. One of which is the seizure of opportunity that suddenly occurred. The failure to lay hold of it or pursue it may create adverse consequences to the person entitled to it. It can be a loss of profit or benefit supposed to be received. As it is written, a double minded person cannot expect to receive anything because he or she is unstable.
Another application is in the area of productivity. Decisiveness makes a person accomplish more in a day by immediately starting a lawful activity rather than taking time on waiting for stimulus or a good mood. It will also discard unnecessary apprehensions that are baseless and speculative.
Decisiveness, however, should also be applied in the area of righteousness. One who decided to change for the better must remain as such and pursue excellence all the way through. As it was said, “no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”. There are only two options. It is either wickedness or holiness, darkness or light and no one should live at midpoint. A person who lives in between the two options is considered indecisive. The person is not even considered fit for godly service as he or she cannot achieve progressive change. That person always go back to his or her old way of living or dark past.
The story of the prodigal son illustrates this subject. The son asked his share or portion in the family estate, went to a distant land, and pursued extravagant life. He wasted all that he had by lustful and luxurious living. When he ran out of wealth, he became impoverished, hungry, and found himself eating rotten foods that pigs eat where he was admitted to work. He then realized how fortunate he was at his father’s home which he did not value. He came to his senses, repented before God, and decided to travel back home. At that moment, he already anticipated what would be the reaction of his father and probably his brother and the servants of his father. However, he was determined and decisive. He said to himself, “I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’” So he arose and came to his father and there he was restored to his original state which he never expected.
How many of us who wanted to follow such example? That once we decided to change, we are determined to fulfil it at any cost. That at one divine encounter, there is a total turning around from evil ways. In life, we often receive wake-up calls, reminders, or warnings from God in order to direct us towards righteousness. It could be challenges and problems that enlighten us of our shortcomings. Sometimes, it is in the form of a sermon, teaching, or discourse of the truth in a values restoration seminar, training, or symposia. Oftentimes some are enthusiastic and energetic to start reformative actions within themselves and to their workplaces but quickly lose such enthusiasm or energy soon thereafter. This should not be the case. Once we decided to carry out transformation, first to ourselves, then to others, we should adhere to it without any reservation.
by: Keren May B. Busaing
Accountability is a value we often demand from people in position - those with authority such as high-level executives or managers, religious leaders, teachers, politicians and more. While it is true that such is expected from them, let us delve deeper into this value and realize that accountability is a requirement from all of us, regardless of who we are and what position we hold. It doesn’t even matter how many people there are above and below us. We are to be accountable towards each other.
From this realization, we are about to understand that accountability, whether in small or visible ways, must become an integral part of our day to day lives. It is a manifestation of the integrity that we are admonished to uphold. Being accountable in small things leads to consistency, which, in the long run, results in us being dependable and trustworthy.
How, then, exactly can we incorporate accountability in our lives? Firstly, we have to see that in every action or decision we take, which is an everyday occurrence, there will always be reactions, effects, and results. A good result with great intentions may fail in the area of accountability depending on the method/s we choose to take. Accountability in this case will require us to be very conscious and aware of everything and everyone that is involved in the accomplishment of our goals. It is a condition where we operate beyond ourselves and consider others.
Before we move further, let us take a look at why we have to be accountable. Accountability, with all its concepts and ideologies, will ultimately be among what is in question when we stand before God. We have to be accountable with the people he surrounded us with (lest their blood will be on our heads); to the resources entrusted to us; and to the assignment/s He tasked us to accomplish. We have to account for all these things before Him and even before our fellowmen. So yes, accountability is indeed necessary for us to bear in our consciousness and to build within our innermost being.
Moving forward, let us nurture the value of accountability by making a conscious decision bound in righteousness every time. Let us take action based on sound judgment and readiness to stand before God and before men. Being able to look them in the eye and face the consequences of our actions. Be willing to learn and be corrected while being at peace knowing that we are motivated by love for God and for others. We have to make decisions that we can carry through to the end and take responsibility for every reaction and result it triggers.
Applying this to our current battle with the Covid 19 pandemic, how was the value of accountability exercised? Let’s take a look at this morning, when we walk out our door, what decisions and precautions have we translated into action, knowing fully well that we will be among other people? Vaccinated or not, how did we exercise accountability? Apart from taking all precautions not to be infected, let us take the notch higher by doing so because we can’t be the carrier to infect others. This is not a campaign to get vaccinated against Covid. This is just a reminder for us to be accountable for whatever decision we choose to take. For the unvaccinated, we have to understand that the risks are higher and we must choose to stand by our decision by exercising all precautions. Same goes with those who are vaccinated, we must exercise the same level of precaution as those who are unvaccinated. We cannot think that it is unnecessary, as this very thought is already a show of failure in the area of accountability. If we cannot do it for ourselves, let us at least do it for the benefit of others. Social distancing? Let’s decide to keep that distance even if no one else is looking. Relaxed protocols? It’s up to us to still exercise what is not being imposed upon us. Again, in everything and in every way, let us decide based on the premise of accountability.
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.