Our Adequacy Is Found Entirely In Him

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Have you ever felt inadequate?

We know that as Christians, we should be the most confident people on planet earth (and some say, in the heavens too). And yet, there are times when we experience doubt. We look to men and women of faith for encouragement only to feel worse. These, we feel, are to admired and revered, but only from afar. Finally, we end up comforting ourselves by rationalising that we can’t be ones God will use. Yes, the speaker was inspirational, the anointing was strong, my heart was moved. But nah, it must have been for someone else.

Allow me to share a reflection with you:

It has been a very exciting journey for me since being led out of the institutional framework of church. That said, there have also been many moments of anxiety and doubt where I find myself questioning and rationalising. After all, who am I, really, to be awakening the Body of Christ through the ministry of Archippus Awakening?! I’m a nobody!

Although the Lord spoke very clearly that the days of spiritual celebrities are coming to an end, and that He will begin to raise His army from the ground up, I couldn’t help but still look to the big names for the necessary breaks. Perhaps, I thought, if I would be noticed by some prominent leader, it would open the right doors with the right connections and provide the right platforms for me to launch Archippus Awakening. Well, I did get to know some ‘key’ people over the past year, but nothing happened.

Interestingly, what has taken place is more the opposite. The ones excited about the message of Archippus Awakening are brothers and sisters from smaller congregations, the lesser known communities in the Body. Through these, I get introduced to others, and the message gets passed along, quietly but steadily. For example, I will be speaking at three church camps of average size this June; and all have requested for Archippus Awakening to be declared! The past two ‘overseas’ trips to Philippines have seen Archippus Awakening being shared in Kidapawan City and the town of Tanauan, both small and unknown. Talk is underway for an Awakening Event in Cameron Highlands to awaken the young adults of Malaysia.

Sounds really good, doesn’t it? And it is very exciting that KINGDOM101 has been launched and the expository journey will begin on 18 March and every Wednesday thereafter. Wow! … and then … that ol’ familiar feeling of inadequacy hits me again! Waves of doubt come over me, taunting me, “Who are you as compared to those who have done so much? What’s so different about your message? What if you can’t sustain it over the next months? Who are you that anyone should even consider coming on 18 Mar, much less the next weeks or months?”

This morning, I flipped my Bible and it opened to Galatians. My heart leapt when I read Gal 2:6:

“But from those who seemed to be something – whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favouritism to no man – for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.”

Our feelings of inadequacy are very normal. And if we’d allow the enemy a foothold, he would be most glad to help you sink further and deeper. The reminder from this verse is clear and simple. Our eyes are not to be on man, but on God. For sure, there is lots to learn from the experience of those who have achieved more. There is also great value in what they have to offer. That said, it is God that we must rely on and He can use anyone to accomplish His purposes.

The grace of God is definitely about His favour upon His people; but it is not about personal favouritism where one is preferred over the other. That is the way of the world but not the way of the Kingdom. What the Lord looks for are hearts yielded in submission to Him. He uses the weak to show Himself strong. He uses what appears foolish that He might confound those who think they are wise. In the end, He deserves and receives all the glory (1 Cor 1:31; Jer 9:24).

This was such a word of affirmation to me this morning and I pray that as you read this post, you will be likewise encouraged. Whilst we praise God for the more prominent servants of the Lord, let us not be dwarfed or intimidated by them. We have the same Holy Spirit and we rest in the same position and identity in Christ. He who worked effectively in these will also work effectively in and through us (Gal 2:8).

If the Lord has tasked you with an assignment, then be faithful to obey, relying on Him and Him alone. Not everyone is called to be a Moses, a David or a Paul. Just be who you are and remember that your adequacy is found entirely in Him.

Two Becoming One

I love it when the world discovers something that the Bible has already declared thousands of years ago. The experts may attribute it to some revelational research, crediting themselves for such wisdom and intelligence in their field of study; but all they have done is only prove that the Bible is indeed true.

The Straits Times carried one such ‘discovery’ in the article “Love’s brain chemistry” by Diane Ackerman on Tuesday, 27 March 2012.

The Straits Times, REVIEW & FORUM, Tues 27 Mar 2012.

The opening line reads, “A relatively new field, called interpersonal neurobiology, draws its vigour from one of the great discoveries of our era: that the brain is constantly rewiring itself based on daily life. In the end, what we pay the most attention to defines us. How you choose to spend the irreplaceable hours of your life literally transforms you.” (emphasis mine)

New field? Great discoveries? Did not the Apostle Paul urge his charges in Rom 12:2 not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind? By the wisdom of God, Paul knew what these neurobiologists would discover years later. He knew that whatever the mind is set on, that is what will ultimately define us. In Rom 8:5, Paul warns, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” He says it again, albeit with different words, in Col 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

"...and they shall become one flesh." Gen 2:24

What thrilled me most was the paragraph that was highlighted in the article: “When two people become a couple, the brain extends its idea of self to include the other; instead of the slender pronoun “I”, a plural self emerges who can borrow some of the other’s assets and strengths. The brain knows who we are. The immune system knows who we’re not, and it stores pieces of invaders as memory aids. Through lovemaking, or when we pass along a flu or a cold, we trade bits of identity with loved ones, and in time we become a sort of chimera*. We don’t just get under a mate’s skin, we absorb him or her.” (emphasis mine)

Hey, Moses knew this long before there was a field called neurobiology! In Gen 2:24, Moses wrote prophetically, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Referring to the divinely appointed institution of marriage, this alludes to the consummation of that marriage through the most intimate physical act of sexual union between the husband and his wife. In the words of the neurobiologist, through that act of “lovemaking”, the couple “absorbs” each other. In biblical terms, the two have become one!

Romantic as this sounds, we must not miss another application. In warning the Church in Corinth against sexual immorality, the Apostle Paul quotes from Gen 2:24. “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.'” (1 Cor 6:16) In our society today, sexual promiscuity is celebrated more than frowned upon. Can you imagine what is happening, given our new neurobiological understanding!? If, through sexual union, a couple becomes a composite of one another, then multiple partners simply results in multiple composites of bizarre proportions. In other words, we have created an undefinable level of mutated monsters that are wreaking havoc in relationships and societies today!

I thank God for such articles that affirm the Word of God – not that the Word of God needs any such affirmation in the first place. There is only one phrase I totally disagree with where Ackerman considers humans “as the most social apes”. My prayer for her is that she would one day come to know the One True God who created us all in His image and be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Amidst all her wonderful discoveries as a neurobiologist, may she receive the revelation that all this cannot simply happen by chance through evolution. Before Ackerman and her colleagues ever discovered such wonderful truths about the brain and the mind, the Creator God has already recorded the findings in the Bible.

*Chimera: An organism, organ, or part consisting of two or more tissues of different genetic composition, produced as a result of organ transplant, grafting, or genetic engineering.

The Other Glory School

It been quite a few years now where “glory” has been mentioned by various visiting speakers.  Quite a few books have also been written on this topic.  And it seems everyone now wants to get on the “glory” bandwagon.  No longer is it sufficient to just know Jesus, to be in God’s presence, or to be baptised with the Holy Spirit; these are all considered old buzzwords.  Today, you have to visit third heaven, to move in the glory realm.

Hey, I’m all for the glory of God.  But more recently, in my preparations for a sermon series, I came across a few passages which also spoke of the glory, just not in the way these “glory” people have been teaching.  The emphasis is totally different and I can fully understand why not many like to talk about this aspect of the glory.  Consider the following passages and you will see why …

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor 3:18

From this verse (and you should read the passage for context), we see that the glory is not merely something for us to experience, but a destination for us to move towards.  This is the glory of the image of the Lord, and we can only be changed towards this image by the Holy Spirit.

And how is this done and achieved?  By merely asking for His glory or moving in the glory realm?  Read on and we shall find Paul’s answer in the next chapter.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:17–18

Afflictions?!  Trials and tribulations?!  Difficult and challenging times?!  For a better idea of what Paul was referring to, he makes mention of these in 2 Cor 6:4-10 and with even more detail in 2 Cor 11:23-27.  For sure, not for the faint-hearted.  Yet, these are the tools that work deep in us to produce the glory!  Hey, these are not my words, but Paul’s!  Note that Peter says the same thing albeit with different words.

“If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:14

There it is again … if you are reproached for the name of Christ … the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  Who changes us from glory to glory? The Spirit of glory.  How does He change us?  Through trials and sufferings, through difficult times, through afflictions, for the sake of Jesus.  In 1 Peter 1:6&7, we understand that trials reveal the genuineness of our faith.  Through these tests, our faith is refined and purified like gold.  Can you see the brightness of the purity of the gold?  That’s the glory of the genuineness of our faith, much more precious than gold, revealed through the fire of trials!

As we grow from faith to faith, we move toward maturity in the image of the Son with whom we are co-heirs when we are glorified together with Him … if indeed we suffer with Him (Rom 8:17).  And Paul writes in the next verse:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Rom 8:18

Not exactly the kind of glory school one would readily enrol for, is it?  What happened to the promise of basking and soaking in the glory?  What happened to the claims of the manifestation of the glory through gold dust and precious gems?  None of that at all!  Just plain, good ol’ suffering for Jesus.

Well, just in case you think I am all raring to go, to get into some wonderful trials and tribulations, I assure you I am not!  But if it is the image and character of the Lord that I am after, if I desire to be conformed to none other than the Son of God, I need to know how to embrace and accept this other school of glory.

Caught this shot at Bishan Swimming Complex. Don't miss the dark cloud on the right as it makes way for the glorious cloud!

Just the other day, a brother asked me, “How do you stay sharp?  What keeps you sharp?”  It was at the tip of my tongue to say the predictable things like fast, pray, read the Word, be in God’s presence.  But somehow, in my spirit, I couldn’t bring myself to say it.  Instead, I said, “Trials.”  Even I was surprised with what came out of my mouth.  But it’s so true!  I can study and know much about God and the ministry.  However, it is through trials and tests that what I know is tested and proven.  Is it just intellectual head knowledge? Or is it real faith that will hold on regardless the situation or the outcome.  Is it all about declarations and claims?  Or is it an acknowledgement of weakness through which His strength is made perfect?

The other glory school.  Register now!  Any takers?