Reasons To Cultivate a Deep Spirituality 1
Ng Wee Keong
I think the oft-heard word these days is “unprecedented”. We are truly living in unprecedented times as the upheaval and turmoil brought on by COVID-19, racial riots, global recession and natural disasters have made 2020 drag on seemingly longer (or shorter!) than it is.
In this increasingly “I don’t know what is happening” world, we need to regain a deep, personal spirituality, to effect change on the only environment we have control over: our inner lives.
God, through this pandemic, may be orchestrating a change for the score-card on what is spiritual success. Perhaps God is going to “midwife” something deep in us... to let go of some traditional ways of following Him, learn new ways to be closer to Him, and fulfil His dream in us, for us and through us.
We need the practice of disciplines like Silence, Solitude, Sabbath, Scripture and Spiritual companionship, just to name a few. We need to spend much more time reading the Bible and praying. To have a personal Sabbath once a week instead of once every quarter. We got to have an athlete mind-set in our private devotion to God – to worship with intentional effort.
Here are some reasons why we need to reclaim and cultivate deep spirituality amidst cataclysmic things happening around us.
Grounded in God
If there is anything we need now, it is to be grounded in God. The world is in chaos but we are called to withstand hurricane force winds, with God by our side.
“The politicisation of Christianity” is when believers infuse their Christian belief into partisan ideologies. This is not just a modern day phenomenon, but has existed for millennia. The Roman empire, the church in the Middles ages, Nazi Germany, Nigeria in the mid-2000s, many countries now… the list goes on. But we are not supposed to align with left or right; we are to be aligned with Jesus Christ.
When we think of the turmoil around us, we sometimes fall into despair as we bemoan why things are so bad and so complicated compared to the past.
Yet, as we survey history, the things of men have always been complicated, turbulent and chaotic. From Jesus’ days till now, the world has always experienced cyclical ups and downs of humanitarian, economic and social upheavals.
Therefore, it is important that we are GROUNDED in Jesus. Learn to tell yourself: "I have nothing to fear from apparent losses and nothing to gain from transient achievements!" I am free because my anchor is in Christ and I am living out of loving union with Jesus.
Read Ephesians 2, 3 and the Book of Acts and realise how the dividing walls in the ancient Greco-Roman world has been brought down by Christ! The Hebraic Jews, Greek Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles all had hatred for one another. Jews said Gentiles are fuel for fire in hell. Yet Jesus brought these down and build a new entity: the CHURCH. This church transcends race, culture and social class; yes all barriers… we are supposed to be a new society, a new people.
When I get discouraged about the systemic evil of racism, I am reminded that this is NOT the way God wants it. Jesus already paid the price and gave us the church. There is nothing more we need to do to purchase our souls. And this gives me hope.
It Will Give Us Perspective
In Habakkuk 1:5, God told prophet Habakkuk: “for I am going to do something you will not believe even if you were told.”
Habakkuk was writing at a moment of history where Babylon had surrounded the city of Jerusalem and they were about to conquer it. The Babylonians were evil, idolatrous and blood thirsty; they reeked with opposite values of the God of Israel.
Think of this verse in today’s context. If someone told us six months ago that the world will be in multiple lockdowns, hundreds of thousands of people will die as a result of a virus, and the global economy will sink to historic lows, not many of us would have believed it.
We NEED to deepen our spirituality to gain perspective. “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts. I will look to see what He has to say to me…” (Habakkuk 2:1)
We are to wait in expectation toward God’s plan. Spiritual perspective gives us HOPE. The lack of it imbues us with despair.
When Habakkuk was in silence and solitude, God told him to write down these words in Habakkuk 2:3, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
In other words, though it will take some time, God’s Word will be fulfilled.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
From an agricultural standpoint, he says that though there are no figs, no grapes, no cattle… yet we will rejoice in the Lord! Why should we?
Perspective will help us see the truth in this statement...
Transformations always happen over a period of time.
Almost always, transformation involves pain and suffering. There is no other way. Someone once said, the end of something is the beginning of something else. Most times we think the end is failure, and failure is painful so we always try to avoid it.
We end up working our way around pain. We protect ourselves and our loved ones from pain. Yet remember this: Jesus did not resurrect without experiencing death. The end is the beginning.
Whenever a door closes, the world opens up. Perspective helps us to stop pounding on the closed door and turn around and learn to accept other ways that God has opened up in the world to us.
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Ng Wee Keong
After serving in the full time ministry in Central Christian Church for 25 years, Wee Keong stepped out on faith to seek outside employment and continue his adventure with God. He is now doing mediation work and considers his salvation, his wife and sons and his spiritual experiences the greatest gains in his life.