Reasons To Cultivate a Deep Spirituality 2
Ng Wee Keong
COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented times. Even without the pandemic, the vagaries of life throw us enough problems to rattle and stumble us. Add on all the issues that 2020 seems to conspire to throw at us, and we face a perfect storm of obstacles.
Here in this continuation our last article, we further explore how we can reclaim and cultivate deep spirituality amidst the cataclysmic things happening around us.
Enables Us To Live With Integrity
The temptation to live a duplicitous life is greater than ever these days. We read of story after story of people pretending to be somebody else while writing from behind a nickname or handle on some social media platform. The Bible says:
...keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:16)
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.(Proverbs 11: 3)
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. (2 Corinthians 8:21)
In the 3rd Century, Abba Theodore, a Desert Father who had a huge following of disciples, was visited by a man who begged him for a word of wisdom. For some reason, Abba Theodore did not wish to engage with this man, despite his pleading. After three days, the man went away sad. Abba Theodore’s disciples asked him why, to which Abba replied, “This man is a trafficker who seeks to glorify himself through the words of others. I shall have no part in aiding him.”
Abba Theodore somehow knew this man only wanted to grow his reputation through the words of others, and not by his own convictions. He would only be projecting an illusion of glory, to mask the crook that he really was.
A deep spirituality helps us to live a life of integrity. What is better than masking our shame? It is to live a life without guilt and shame in the first place.
Trust God In The Long Haul
We need the grace to trust God for the long haul despite what is happening in the world and around us.
Think of a caterpillar that spins a cocoon. It takes time for the caterpillar to prepare for its transformation. If we force ourselves and others to come out of God’s planned situation BEFORE the process is complete, we will die spiritually. It is critically important that we trust God in the long term, so that we can be transformed into who God wants us to be.
We may be young or old, but know this...
The first 20 years of our spiritual lives is God trying to DO something IN our lives, not so much as THROUGH us.
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24: 1-14)
In other words, things grow in the dark. Consider these: babies grow in the dark of the womb, seeds germinate when buried in the soil and the resurrection power comes from within the dark of the tomb!
The end of something is the beginning of something else.
If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. (Ecclesiastes 10:10)
Solomon warns of the need to compensate for a lack of sharpness of the axe’s edge with brute strength. But when one is skilful, he can still get the job done. I think of myself as the axe. The more I spend time with God, I may get sharpened. But even if I’ve reached the limit of how much I could be “sharpened”, God is going to help me get the job done.
If we take time to be with God, the work will be easier. If the axe is dull, we will put in much more effort and it may frustrate us more. In this age of “too much to handle and too little breathing space”, I am all for resting in God and finding peace in Him.
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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.