Friday, October 17, 2014

Get God's SWAG

I am excited to have Sophia as one of my guest bloggers. She loves life and God but most of all she loves to proclaim God in her life. Here is a recent proclamation that she recently made in our congregation that has inspired us. 

Take it Easy in God's Blessings

One of our cool young professionals brought up the word, “SWAG” during the casual conversation time at a recent church retreat. This word got my attention. SWAG sounded like a funny or odd word to me. So I asked, “What is SWAG Anyways?”  He briefly explained, “It means someone who has a lot of confidence. Like an abbreviation for swagger.”  

SWAG sounded very similar to the word "PHAT" from the 90's or  like the word  "bad", in the 80's. If I was a bit older then perhaps word "groovy" in the 60’s would had been that decade’s SWAG.
Since I have heard this term before with a different meaning, I decided to do my Google research. In the  urban dictionary, SWAG means "something we Asians got", (which I thought was funny since I am Asian). Another meaning that seems more common is that SWAG means, Stuff We All Get in reference to the gift bags given at conferences, or award shows.

Then I found an intelligent blogger who defines SWAG in the same way that my younger millennial church goers understand the term as “a type of style or presence that exudes confidence and is sometimes interpreted as arrogance.”

Now my thoughts turned back to the conversations from our church retreat. I began to recall all the people that I know who have SWAG. They exude confidence without even trying. They have SWAG no matter what they wear, say or behave. I thought to myself, “I should try to reinvent myself with some SWAG.” Then I asked my younger family members about how to get the kind of SWAG that would increase my confidence and cool factor just like the Millennials. As I learned about what it takes to get the cool up to date SWAG, I thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of effort to feel accepted as cool.”

Thank goodness being God’s child does not require that kind of effort.  Unfortunately, we like to set rules and definitions of how people should behave in order to receive acceptance. We allow popular culture to define us by the worldly SWAG  This type of phenomenon does not just happens in a secular society, it is also very common in the Christian circle, we want to be accepted by church goers and so we try to live according to their perceived rules. This merely Christianizes worldly SWAG into a form of Christian SWAG.

I remember not knowing how I should act when I first became a Christian and started to attended church. The concept of Christianity was so foreign to me.  I thought in order to be considered a "good and practice Christian" I should:

Go to Church every week
Be part of a fellowship
Pray before I eat
Use Christian jargons (ie. “Let go Let God”, “WWJD”, “We humbly bow” and “Lordship”)
Read the bible at least once a day
Hang out with Christians

And the list goes on Sometimes I did all these things and at other times I did not.  I really wanted to be a good Christian. As I reflect on that time in my life, what I really wanted was the Christian SWAG.

When I began to read the book of Galatians, I saw how the Jewish Christians were pressuring the new Gentile Christians to have their form Christian SWAG. Some these older believers thought that the Old Testament ceremonial practices must still be followed. They even believed that circumcision for new adult converts was necessary in order to be a called a Christian. I can identify with how these newly Gentiles Christians were a little confused about living a Christian life.

As I read Galatians 3:26-28; 4:7, I believe that I have found the real SWAG from God that gives me confidence because of the Salvation We All Get through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Chris have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew or Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus….So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (NIV)

(1) We ALL get to be His Children.

(2) We ALL get the to be Clothed in Christ’s character as we walk with Him in life.

(3) We ALL get to be important to Christ no matter our life’s status in the world may be 

(4) We ALL get to receive His inheritance of eternal life saved from judgment.

The good news is that we are all able to receive God’s SWAG! 

This is the SWAG I want for my life. What about you?

Sophia Vi-Tsang
October 2014

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