To reign with Christ is a higher form of service. This is what District Apostle John Kriel from South Africa says in his article on our annual motto. What exactly this means he explains by telling us what we need to let go of and what we need to hold on to.
When the Chief Apostle announced the motto for 2023, he specifically guided us into a new understanding of what reigning with Christ means. Our worldly understanding of reigning would have us think that we will be given sovereign power over others. Quite the contrary, reigning with Christ is a higher form of serving. In fact, it is a question of taking our serving with Christ to a new and higher level.
Now we need to adjust our preparations for this calling. We need to confirm or amend our decisions on what we should relinquish (leave behind), and what we should retain (hold on to).
What shall we leave behind? This includes
- self-righteousness. The thought that in reigning with Christ we would have authority over others, is self-righteous, for having attained this position would not have been through our own righteousness before God, but purely through the grace and mercy of God. The actions we take in worshipping, praising, and glorifying God, and in leading people to Him, do not serve to reflect our righteousness, but solely to show God our love.
- status. I once held a funeral service for a deceased man who had been very popular. The church could not seat all those who had come to pay their last respects. At a given point I spoke to the ministers and they voluntarily gave up their seats for those people standing in the foyer. Afterwards, I received a letter from a woman who wrote: “If a priest is willing to get up and give me his seat, this is the Church I want to be part of.” And she indeed joined the Church because of this loving gesture. Our status may entitle us to something which we consider valuable, but let us relinquish this if through such an act we can benefit our neighbour more.
- bearing false witness. God gave the commandments so that we can live in harmony with Him and each other. Today, many bad things are said about people on social media and without knowing whether it is true or not, we forward the messages. May we let go of forwarding nasty electronic messages or spreading malicious talk about others. This is a violation of the Eighth Commandment and in no way contributes to unity or harmony.
And so, these are some of the things we should leave behind in preparation to serve and reign with Christ. But, more importantly, what should we hold on to, what should we retain? This includes:
- trust in God. Currently, there are many devastating events happening in the world. Life seems chaotic. More and more voices are raised: Where is God? Let us not be moved to doubt but retain our conviction: God has a salvation plan for mankind. And He will fulfil it. His Son will return as promised. It will happen! Let us hold on to our trust in God.
- control of our life. We need to ask ourselves: Who or what controls my life. Is it a substance? Is it another individual or a group of individuals? Is it perhaps a way of thinking? Let us take control and reign in our own life. If we do, the Spirit with whom we have been sealed will guide us in our preparation for our godly calling. This is precisely why the Holy Spirit was sent after Christ’s ascension.
- love for Jesus. Let us actively retain our love for our Saviour! We do this when we attend church services and in fellowship celebrate Holy Communion. Through the celebration of the sacrament, we profess our love and appreciation for what He has done and use it to grow in His nature. Being in this fellowship also provides us with the opportunity of serving others with the talents God has given us.
May we during 2023 make an ongoing assessment of what we should relinquish and retain in our spiritual lives so that we are fittingly prepared for our calling as highlighted in our motto for the year: Serving and reigning with Christ!