Monthly Archives: September 2012
When we do something very often, it can become mundane and ritualistic. We can end up just going through the motion without experiencing its true meaning and purpose. Church going is one such activity that we should be careful of. Do we just go in and out of the church without experiencing edification and transformation? Are we just mere church-goers? Let us not slip into spiritual lethargy for those things that we do repeatedly; may it be attending prayer meetings, church services, bible-study or fellowship. We can find meaning in all these things we do as Christians as long as we take time to listen to what God is saying to us and translate what we got into valuable spiritual lessons. These things can be opportunities for us to grow in the Lord and experience Him in a new way. Not only can we be edified, we can move on to help to grow the church too. Do not just always wait for people to attend to us or to spoon-feed us, true growth happens when we invest in the lives of others and impart what we have learnt to them. Let us choose to be church-growers and not be satisfied with just being church-goers.
There are many things which we compete for with one another in life. We use competition to drive ourselves to be better than others. This same spirit can happen to us in the church as well. We may be competing with one another for power or positions or some other things in church too. Churches can end up competing with each other over their dominance and resources as well. Rather than competing, why don’t we learn to complement one another? Isn’t this the way God has created us to be? We are all different parts of the same body. We cannot do without the other, including those who are weaker. Whether we are believers in church or among churches, we should be complementing one another in the kingdom of God. We should be supplementing one another in terms of our manpower and resources rather than just being concerned with building our own “kingdom”. Only when we learn to complement one another, in big or small ways, will we be able to live out the fullest potential of what we are meant to be. Let us accept one another. Let us also accept one another’s church. Let us stop having that competitive spirit that put ourselves up above the rest but choose to complement others so as to bring out the best in others.
With an overdose of knowledge in this world, there is a greater tendency to know a lot of things without learning them. Knowing can just be head knowledge. There are people who know the Bible inside out but yet never learn from God Himself. One good example is the Pharisees in the Bible. Jesus said that their hearts were actually far away from God. When we read a Bible passage or listen to a sermon today, we may be quick to say that “we know already”, but by saying that we know, we are actually shutting the door to our learning. Dear friends, we must not stay at knowing, but let the knowing become a learning experience. Learning is about internalizing our knowledge such that it becomes relevant, meaningful and applicable to our lives. In this way, the Bible becomes living and active in us. The true essence of the living Word actually transforms our inner lives and changes our conduct, resulting in good deeds that leads to praises to God. We would then be able to not only do the Word but also teach the Word to others.
The Bible is like a mirror to our inner souls. It shows us who we truly are. Therefore, for one to experience transformation, we need this mirroring process to happen as often as possible. This mirroring process is actually the process of self-discovery. The more we discover about ourselves in God, the more transformation we can experience. Many people ignored the fact that we can only be transformed by the measure we discover about ourselves. If there is no self-discovery, we would live a stagnant life. We would live in denial. When there is self-discovery, not only would we know more about ourselves, we would also discover the character of God and His will for our lives. So don’t ever let this self-discovery process cease so that we may conform to the image of God more and more.
Some people do not see any value in the people and things around them. They only care about themselves.
Some people do not care whether there is any value in the people and things around them. They do not want to invest in anything.
Some people not only do not invest in anything, they are good at putting people down.
Some people only want to invest in people and things that have value. They only find people and things that are worthwhile to invest.
Some people can transform and develop people and things of no value into people and things of value.
What kind of people are we today? The Bible tells us that while we are still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus actually takes us who are of no value because of our sins and give us the highest value as God’s beloved child. Are we prepared to do the same for others?
God’s intention for us is to be holy like Him. He wants to restore the image of God in us through the relationship with Him. Thus God puts us through the processes of change. However, the change in a believer’s life can be transient or transformational. Transient change usually occurs when the spiritual life is shallow. The change usually focuses on rituals, behaviours and programs. It fails to deal with the inner spiritual life. As such, there is no inner transformation that results in lasting change.
The Bible, however, advocates transformational change that recreates the inner man to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. This is a lasting change which starts internally and gradually impact on the external life of the believer. This is done by a deliberate choice to cooperate with God to effect those changes. Yet it also calls for a dependent spirit to lean on God, to allow His words, His Spirit, His people and His environment to bring these changes. When there is a deliberate choice and a dependent spirit, it would then result in a deep transformation in the inner spiritual life.
Are the changes in our lives transient or transformational? If there is no transformational change, we would be struggling with our Christian lives. We would feel that there are lots of restrictions. We would always looking for ways to satisfy our sensual gratifications. We would, at most, act to be spiritual. Let us aim for transformational change by allowing God to renew our inner values and principles in life. Then we would be able to understand God’s will for us and live an abundant life in Him.