Joy is the hallmark of true discipleship.
Joy is not a natural reflex to trials. It is a Kingdom response by a disciple of Jesus who sees reality from God’s perspective.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
– James 1:2-4 NIV
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ””John 3:19-21 NLT
Do I delight in the revelation of God or the ways of the world?
Lol ok so the wording might be a little funny because i was actually crafting this for a personal essay of sorts but i went over the character limit and had to chop things up. I wasn’t even really done but since i had to start editing i thought i would just post this here in it’s little incoherent, wannabe self~ (parenthesis added on WP don’t worry they are not in my uni application lol)
Over the course of my 6 years in Track and Field, I represented the school in the javelin and discus throw, attaining good finishes and occasional podium positions in the National Inter-School Track and Field Championships. I was also blessed with the opportunity to represent Singapore in the MSSM-WALA-SSSC International Little Athletics Championship(just something to show for yknow). Achievements aside, doing the same thing for 6 years may seem like a strange choice. Perhaps it indicates a passion for the sport or a competitive spirit with achievements abounding. The truth is that in those 6 years there were many times I wanted to give up and there were perfectly legitimate reasons to: in injury, transition from secondary school to junior college. What kept me going and what I would consider the biggest takeaway from the entire experience was the ‘team’(#TRUTH). The sport certainly helped me develop emotionally, mentally and physically through the rigour and drain(monotony) of numerous trainings and pressure-situations of competitions. The team however, was what kept me there to reap these rewards and spur me to become a better version of myself. Which is why I believe this concept of ‘team’ is so important and the lessons from it a quality feature to expound on.
Independence is important – especially in this day and age, but learning to rely on others in areas you are weaker in and playing to a other’s strong suits is important. Apart from learning this in track and field, this lesson was really cemented in the Singapore Maximum-18 Tchoukball team I was a part of in 2011(more things to show for). This concept was learnt on court with Tchoukball as a team sport and off court in Track and Field where there was more responsibility and management to be done(this point quite unclear right, but i didn’t have space to properly explain so fingers crossed…i do think that there was managing relations to be done, among peers, seniors and juniors and uh teachers? i didn’t rly dabble in that last bit though #smallfry). ‘Team’ also taught me to pull me own weight in whatever ways I can. It is always easy to slack, thinking someone else will pick it up in a team(i don’t rly know what this means lol but i do think that there is value in whatever words of encouragement and advice, however short like even just a JY). But to truly reach greater heights, I learnt that my effort always matters even if no one else notices. Another thing this concept of ‘team’ taught me was to look beyond myself. We all have our off days and although we always try to pull our own weight, I learnt that sometimes you should help others with theirs too. There will be days my load will be unbearable as well. It does seem that using the concept of a team as a microcosm and representation for the world might be a little naïve but these are simply qualities and lessons I as a person would like to carry through into not only university but also the different phases of my life.
I’m too lazy to properly write this out as a blog post and i know that if i hold it off i will come up empty handed so this post is a better than nothing reminder to future me and maybe something nice(hopefully) for my lovely teammates to read or something if i decide to share it…that’s all i guess
Today God reminded me to praise him. Not just in song during ‘quiet time’ but in Everyday things. Just like how David praised God for even hearing his cry! It was also revealed to me that the issue with pride and why “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” ref. Prov 16:19 and Why “The Lord despises pride…” In v.5 is because pride puts our human self at the center. It means that the impetus and motivation for actions are our own selves. If let be, more sin will only be likely to follow, to indulge one’s self and feed one’s pride. Which is why “…evil is avoided by fear of the Lord.” (V.6) In Recognising our almighty Father with holy fear we will place him in the center again.
God’s commands reveal his character and how we fulfil it, reveals ours.
This may not be theologically sound, but how I imagine it to be, and one alternative take of when God said in Matthew 5:28 “but I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with last in his eye has already committee adultery in his heart.” Here, the command was to not commit adultery, but the manner in which we fulfil it reveals our sinful nature. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the inner workings of God’s commands. When commanded to honour thy father and mother, while I may not speak ill of them to others or disobey, how I go about it is just as important. Of course to pay attention to that the command has to be first followed and there is some good in that but it is not enough. This reminds me of how Jews follow many old testament laws; laws that tend to be outward and it’s adherence measurable. While some of these are still relevant, the meaning behind these commands and understanding them above simply following them is equally if not more important. Which is probably also why NT commands focus a lot more on the ‘inside’ things not immediately apparent and without a tangible measurement.
By paying attention to how we carry out the commands of God, we begin to engage our entire being in this process of following Jesus. Fun fact, we also edge closer to fulfilling the greatest command: to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind(ref. Matt 22:37).
The Cainites, on the other hand, had not God in their thoughts, and therefore gave the more heed to the requisites and comforts of the present life.
Can Self-exaltation Be an Act of Love?
Someone may ask, “How can it be loving for God to be so self-exalting in the work of the cross? If he is really exalting his own glory and vindicating his own righteousness, then how is the cross really an act of love to us?”
I fear the question betrays a common secular mindset with man at the center. It assumes that, for us to be loved, God must make us the center. He must highlight our value. If our worth is not accented, then we are not loved. If our value is not the ground of the cross, then we are not esteemed. The assumption of such questioning is that the exaltation of the worth and glory of God over man is not the very essence of what God’s love for man is.
The biblical mindset, however, affirms the very opposite. The cross is the pinnacle of God’s love for sinners, not because it demonstrates the value of sinners, but because it vindicates the value of God for sinners to enjoy. God’s love for man does not consist in making man central, but in making himself central for man. The cross does not direct man’s attention to his own vindicated worth, but to God’s vindicated righteousness.
This is love, because the only eternal happiness for man is happiness focused on the riches of God’s glory. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forever more” (Psalm 16:1 1). God’s self-exaltation is loving, because it preserves for us and offers to us the only all-satisfying Object of desire in the universe – the all-glorious, all-righteous God