Hey friends!! I hope you’re all doing well as summer progresses. As for me, I have never been as well as I am right now. June has been such a good month! My Father has been holding my hand tenderly, walking me through some of the more mature lessons as I graduate from drinking spiritual milk to eating spiritual meat (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and Hebrews 5:12). It’s amazing how He knows exactly where we are and how He gently guides us to where we need to be; all we need to do is call on Him and yield our hearts to Him. Let me share with you some of the lessons He is teaching me.
I am one of the many that suffer Catholic guilt. I was raised with a rather high sense of accountability and personal responsibility, so much so that I alway think everything is my fault. If you walked into a pole, I would say sorry as if I tripped you into it. If you failed, I would take the fall and somehow think it’s my fault you failed, whether it’s because I was there or because I wasn’t there. I will find a way to make it my fault, one way or another. For people like me, forgiving oneself is not the easiest thing as it requires a lot of persuasion. And when you’re surrounded by people who are willing to let you take the fall for them, you’re in trouble.
In this season, my Father has taught me a lot about grace for self and for others, moving me farther and farther away from a legalistic disposition. I am currently studying Paul’s epistle to the Romans and I am amazed at the depth of God’s love for us. Earlier this month, He Led me through an exposition of Galatians, where He gently instructed me on the folly of thinking He loves me because I am ‘good’ or because I have done ‘good’ things, or because I am doing everything ‘right’. The danger of this way of thinking is that when I get it wrong, I will question His love for me, yet His love for me is unconditional and not tied to my being ‘good’ or my getting it ‘right’. 1 Timothy 2:13 tells us that even when we are faithless, He remains faithful. That even if ‘our’ faith fails, He remains true, that He cannot prove false to Himself. Such is the God I am betrothed to : )
He has taught me about contentment. 1 Timothy 6:6 tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. While one might expect this to elicit a frenzied hunger to gasp and grab for things and moments of happiness (because ‘life is short’), it instead makes me content with even the troublesome aspects of life. I have a deeper understanding that all grappling is temporal in nature, for we are just passersby. The result is that I have found a more excellent way to which I am committed, the way of love. If the action is not governed by love, don’t do it. If the words are not prompted by love, don’t speak them. If the sentiment is not clothed in love, don’t share it. I have found great gain with contentment : )
Another thing I found myself grappling with was forgiveness, of which I was assured I could not do in my own strength, and that God had no expectation that I would be able to by myself. So I woke up every morning and gave him my wounds, because sadly the insults continued undeterred into this month, which marked a year of the conclusion of our shared life. God gave me the strategy to eschew these and I am relatively safe now, thanks to His guidance. But I have learnt that forgiveness is God’s domain. Our part is to ask Him to help us forgive, and to declare we have forgiven until we have forgiven. Helping us forgive is the terrain of the Holy Spirit as we yield our hearts to His workings.
Another thing the Lord is laying on my heart is the concept of discipleship as this is how we mature in Christ. This is how Christ is formed in us and how we come to resemble Christ in our thoughts, our actions and our lives. This is best achieved in small groups of two or three, allowing a deep dive into the character of Christ that should be reflected in us as we advance His kingdom with actions steeped in love. With COVID19 restrictions in place, the field is ripe for small home churches (as promoted by pastor Francis Chan for many years now), where we meet in our homes instead of meeting in church buildings. Such a setup allows for closer fellowship where the members truly know each other and helps carry each other’s burdens. No man is an island unto himself, and especially as Christians, we are called to grow in community, for as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). My heart is ripe for discipleship and I am in prayer for my Father to lead me where I need to be.
Yet another lesson my amazing Father is teaching me is that He wants me to pay attention to my dreams. I have a separate blogpost scheduled to go up on the topic of dreams where I explain the importance of paying attention to our dreams as that is one of the ways that God speaks to us. Suffice to say here that the Bible is replete with instances where God spoke to his servants through dreams. It’s how the birth of Jesus was announced; it’s how Joseph was given instructions to save Egypt from famine and starvation; it’s how Solomon was imbued with supernatural wisdom, etc. I am now writing down my dreams every morning and praying for revelation over them each time when I wake up.
Endurance is linked to the growing of our faith, another key lesson I am finally understanding. I didn’t get why prayers are not answered when we would want them answered, but slowly I have come to the understanding of what it takes to build our faith, that the various trials we encounter are to strengthen our faith and build our stamina in the spirit, for there are so many battles to be fought and won. James said it best in 1:4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” I am not in any hurry in my spiritual growth journey, for I want to lack nothing. Phrases such as “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4) and “at the appointed time” (Psalm 75:2) are the blankets I wrap myself in as I rest comfortably in my Father’s arms : ) He holds the whole world in His hands and that includes lil’ol delicate you and me : )