It was on 26th December 2010 that I experienced a sudden conversion during a bus ride on my way home. Indeed how true it was a testimony to Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” At that instant, my spiritual eyes were opened and my dull mind made sober. My immediate thoughts were how all pursuits in life were meaningless and that I should commit my life to serving God. I wondered how I should go about entering Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC), the only Bible college I knew back then. But on hindsight, it seemed as though I mistook this call to salvation as a call to the ministry.
I continued to dwell in my sins despite the constant prompting of the Holy Spirit, and even upon receiving the Lord’s chastisement, I was unrepentant. But by His gracious providence, through the glaring examples of His faithful servants time and again, my heart was stirred and rebuked. Convicted to repent, I took gradual steps to cease from my wrongdoings. In the meantime, as I began reading the Bible more seriously, I was compelled to obey the Lord further.
By mid-August 2016, I was daily burdened by thoughts which indicated that the Lord might have indeed called me to serve Him full-time. I reflected on God’s work of sanctifying grace in my life, and how I had been convicted to give up my addictions, worldly interests, hobbies and relationships that are not pleasing unto Him. I am determined now to live my life for the Lord and strive for holiness in order to be a good Christian testimony. I also had an insatiable hunger for His Word which compelled me to deepen my Bible knowledge; in the past, I would never engage in any form of reading, let alone read anything related to God’s Word.
But this question soon crept into my mind: “What will it take for me to wholly commit my life to serving God?” My reply was, “Maybe after retirement or until I attain a source of passive income.” This was followed closely by thoughts of critical illnesses, disabilities or impairments of any sort that would cause me to be a liability to my family members. All these dealt a resounding blow to me. I was also reminded by the verse in Luke 12:48b: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” This induced a sudden fear in me, reminding me that if I were to ever flee from God’s will – even after seeing His guiding hand in my life and receiving His manifold blessings – He will not spare me and is certainly able to take away my life or incapacitate me as and when He pleases.
I then made up my mind and on 24th August, I looked up the application requirements on the FEBC website. I was soon discouraged as I was certain that I was unable to produce sufficient evidence to be included in the write-up on my call to the ministry. Later that night, the Lord used Proverbs 24: 10: “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small” to reprove me for my weak determination. I humbly admitted to my little faith, as I decided to forgo the thought of application. I was well-informed of the many challenges and difficulties which I would have to face. Neither was it comforting to know that the ministry is not an “iron rice bowl” nor will it be without consistent hard work, opposition, stress and heartaches. Moreover, thoughts of the persecutions suffered by the prophets and apostles made me even more apprehensive of entering the ministry. All these drawbacks were eating up my will to accept God’s call. My weak faith caused me to secretly pray that the Lord would not appoint me to undertake such a lofty duty.
But in the meantime, by His providential grace, the Lord was using His Word through my daily devotion on the Gospel of Matthew to encourage, comfort and most importantly, teach me to put my trust in Him. I read of how our Lord Jesus called His disciples and they immediately followed Him. Though they started out with little faith and a lack of understanding of His sovereignty, Christ did not once forsake them, but continued to train them up in preparation for the greater works to be done after His ascension. All that was required of them was to have faith in Him.
God was gracious to recognise my need of this same faith and assurance, and at the opportune moment, He led my eyes to the words of Christ (in red) in Matthew Chapters 8 and 9. Providentially littered across the two chapters were Jesus’ words in the following order: “Go”, “Follow me” and “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?”
The following day, the Lord provided me with yet another sign. Bro Maritus, a current FEBC student, asked me to consider enrolling in FEBC to study God's Word. I was a little dumbfounded when he brought up the topic out of the blue, as it was completely unexpected and we had never before held any similar conversations. But I am truly thankful for his concern and see it as God’s special providence.
Through this entire period, I have been mindful not to be presumptuous nor to make light of this higher calling that has been pressing me. I have also been praying daily (and will continue to do so) for God to humble me, that I may consider and check myself for any wrong intentions, as well as for His will to be done in my life.
I have also ensured that these thoughts did not stem from the recent completion of my studies, nor are they due to a wish for a change in career or working environment. In fact, only a month ago, I was notified of my eligibility for a course which would greatly enhance my knowledge in a specific field and therefore increase my employability in the accountancy industry. I was eagerly looking forward to the registration period which was two weeks away, but when the time came, I had already lost all interest in the course, in view of this high calling. New challenges and learning opportunities at work were now not as enticing as before. My accomplishments did not bring me satisfaction, and I was daily dragging my feet to work with a heavy heart.
Thus I am convinced that God’s plan for me is to dedicate myself to His service, and believe that I will have no peace until I submit to His will and call. I am ready and mindful to take heed to the Lord’s words in Luke 14:27-28: “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” And in Luke 9:62, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ forewarns that “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In humble submission, I enrolled in FEBC and began my studies there on 3rd January 2017. I have counted the cost and am determined not to look back. May the Lord help me to serve Him faithfully with a cheerful and grateful heart always.
– Kelvin Li