Discovering the abundant life
By Xianjun Xia
During the first two years of college, I lived a life that most university students lived. There were two types of lifestyles: the first was to indulge themselves as it was very convenient for the university boys to gamble, drink and watch pornography videos. The other type of students buried themselves in studies, trying their best to get higher scores to win scholarships. For me, I waffled between the two kinds of lifestyles. At first, I felt totally free when I left my parents and could do whatever I wanted. I often missed classes because of laziness and cheated in exams being careful not to be caught. I forgot the bible teachings that I was taught during school days. Gradually I felt a sense of panic when I saw some students got prestigious scholarships. I became envious of them and realised I had to catch up, So I buried myself in my books.
THE PURPOSE OF LIFE
Soon I came to realise that everyone in my school was making a choice according to his own will. Some want to have enjoyable life, others desire to seek fulfilment by excelling in studies. In my second year in the university I made up my mind to make a choice. I decided my goal was to study diligently in order to win a scholarship, to land a prestigious job thus bringing honour to my parents and fulfilling my filial duty to them. I achieved that – my good academic results won me a full scholarship, paying all my fees in my Master Programme plus a comfortable living allowance.
During this time, I had time to reflect on the situation of those of my course mates. Those who enjoyed their new gained liberty in drinking and gambling were actually under the bondage of alcoholism and addictions. On the other hand. l realised that the diligent students were also similarly caught in their obsession to pursue excellence to earn eventual material gains. I surmised that all of them would eventually end in disillusionment and disappointment. Hence early in life, I began to see the truthfulness of God’s description of human life: they are stagnated in the whirlpool of life, trying desperately to achieve self-centred aims. They are living a selfish life with no regard for their Creator God. ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ became glaringly obvious.
I also realised that I was no better than those around me. I realised I was also a sinner. I needed someone to save me out of my selfish futile life. So, in a quiet moment, I confessed my sin and made a decision to follow God’s way. I accepted the only way to be saved from my selfish life is through Jesus Christ who paid for my sin and reconciled me to my Creator God.
I joined a church and began to serve in the church’s Youth Group, but I soon grew tired after a few weeks of church attendance and busy activities. Another thing I discovered about my Christian life was that my spiritual mood was not based on my desire for God but was determined by many man- made factors, e.g. my church attendance was not prompted by my desire to worship God, but a response to the peer pressure of my Christian friends. My satisfaction in my ministry was influenced by the amount of human praises I received rather than by the fact that I was serving my Lord. This roller coaster mood of my ‘working’ in various church activities drew me to despair.
LIFE AFTER LIFE
One day in my Bible reading God highlighted a passage in Matthew 11:28-39: “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Thus God gently reminded me not to do things with my own human effort which was burdensome and heavy, but to surrender myself to Him, depend on Him and walk close to Him. Then He will make my life restful and easy. Therefore through a gradual process, with the help of caring brethren in my church, He is teaching me to yoke myself to Him and learn from Him.
Tek said, “I met Xianjun’s parents in church when they came to Perth. His mother is very vocal about her faith. She told me that she became a Christian because Jesus had helped her to calm her aggressive character. She was constantly in conflict with her neighbours in the village until someone brought her to a Christian meeting. When her son was to leave for Australia she told him to go to meetings in buildings that have a cross. I asked her how come her son a simple village boy can be given a scholarship to read his Ph.D. in computer science. Without hesitation she told me it is the grace of God. The father is a very humble quiet man but when I asked him about his life, he described in great detail his skill as the village butcher. He too acknowledged his ‘clever ‘son is a gift from the good God.