Because some things got in the way of what I had planned today, I only now finished reading Cultivating Your Inner Life. But it’s all good. Today was an awesome day!
Seems to me that there’s a recurring theme in the things I’ve been reading. Live Life on Purpose basically enlightens you on what life is really about. Reverend Edmund Chan’s Cultivating Your Inner Life does the same.
It’s a simple book with Reverend Chan’s simple reflections on, as the subtitle does say, “Spiritual Formation in Discipleship Today”.
It’s a quick and easy, yet very profound, read.
The reflections found in this book bring you back to the most trivial, yet most overlooked principles of what it really means to have that relationship with God.
“The greatest incongruence in Christianity is wanting God but not surrendering to Him. Absolute surrender is the key to absolute victory!”
Reverend Edmund Chan
Many of us Christians nowadays want to have a relationship with God without having to surrender to Him. It’s quite sad. We totally miss the point. I guess our aim just sucks sometimes, huh? Haha.
I’d like to focus on the five key processes that Reverend Chan mentions in his book. These are the processes of having that deep, flourishing relationship with God.
1. The Deep Search - Notice how Reverend Chan calls it the deep search, and not the quick search. This chapter really hit me hard, cuz I realized that I’m always just in a rush at the expense of the quality of my time with God. Good thing that I just came from a prayer retreat last weekend wherein we were taught how to just be still and know that He is God. That is precisely what Reverend Chan talks about in this chapter. Be still and know that He is God. Basically it means to trust in His timing, in His judgment, in His Word. And to really trust Him means to obey Him, obey His timing, obey His judgment, obey His Word.
2. The Desperate Struggle - Inevitably, we’re bound to experience struggle when it comes to being still and knowing that He is God. It’s important that we understand His will and do what we understand about His will. But it’s hard to just understand and do. Natural tendency is to “resent the struggle”, but Reverend Chan advises to, instead, “grow through it”. To do this, we ultimately just have to depend on God for the strength. But more importantly, it leads us to the next point…
3. The Full Surrender - Here, Proverbs 3:5-6 is mentioned. But after reading this, I realized that I had been looking at this verse with such shallow eyes. “Trust in the Lord (got this covered in ‘the Desperate Struggle’) with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.” With all our hearts, we are supposed to trust in the Lord. In all our ways, we are supposed to recognize that He is God in our lives. I do believe the key word here is all. It’s easy to say, but it’s as hard to do as it is easy to say. But this is a very significant process in our spiritual growth.
4. The Upward Service – Basically, this chapter was talking about how we are serving God, not anyone else. And if we are to truly serve God, we are to serve Him without any conditions. We are to serve Him “on His terms”, not our own. That’s what it really means to serve “upward”.
5. The Inner Significance – In this chapter, it talks about how we find significance in life through having a relationship with Jesus, not in being involved in ministries, not in doing good. Significance is found in the relationship itself.
This book, once again, helped a lot in putting things into perspective. I realized that we Christians have so many misconceptions nowadays of what it really means to have that relationship with God. We often make our relationships with God shallower than they should be. We often make it about ourselves, fooling ourselves somehow into thinking that we can somehow still make it about God while still holding on to things we aren’t willing to surrender.
But, as I learned from Live Life on Purpose, life isn’t about me, or you, or you, or you, or you, or you. It’s about God and worshiping Him alone.
I highly recommend reading this book. There’s still so much more to be found in here!
Now that I have finished reading Live Life on Purpose, I will now continue on my date with God with Cultivating Your Inner Life: Reflections on Spiritual Formation in Discipleship Today by Dr. Edmund Chan, the senior pastor at Covenant Evangelical Free Church in Singapore.
This book was given to me by my parents from when they came back from a conference in Singapore this year. I really don’t know what to expect, but I know I’m in for something great.
Praying to finish this book today. I’ve still got a lot that I want to read by the end of the sembreak!