This year has been quite a challenging year for everyone, with many changes taking place. I went through some major life changes – relocating from the east of Singapore to the west, starting a new family, changing to a completely new workplace, and new roles and responsibilities at home and the workplace. In the new workplace, with an overwhelming amount of new things to learn each day, I often stayed back and went home late. On top of this, I have some friends and my in-laws to spend time with and care for on my days off.
It’s been physically and mentally draining. Some of the days, I became very tired and felt a bit lost – lost in the mundane routine of work and business. But I’ve been trying to stick to my daily Bible reading plan, which has helped me not lose sight of God and to be refreshed daily.
One day as I read 1 Peter 2:11-12, I was reminded that as God’s chosen people we are just “temporary residents and foreigners” (NLT version) in this world. Our real home is God’s kingdom. In the reflection section in my NLT study Bible, the author wrote, the Kingdom of Heaven came in a fuller sense in the person of Jesus Christ – “God with us”, and spread throughout the entire world as the Holy Spirit came to live in every believer. Our true loyalty should be to God, as citizens of heaven. While we are temporary residents here, we will forever be the people of God.
The thought of being a citizen of God’s eternal and unshakable kingdom, and that one day all struggles and pains will come to an end, brought me great joy.
How then can we live as “temporary residents and foreigners” in the world and as citizens of God’s Kingdom, amidst a mundane and busy life?
I guess it’s really hard to find a standard answer. From my limited understanding, I reckon that the basic principle may be to learn to intentionally and constantly let Him be our vision. As we try to keep our eyes on Him, He helps us embrace His Kingdom principles and values, obey His Word and try to live out those principles and values.
For example, God commands us to love one another. But there were times that I felt very hurt and angry because of other people’s words or behaviour and found it very hard to forgive and love. When I prayed for God’s help, somehow the scene of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion would appear in my mind. This reminder of the price He paid to save me and His amazing love always humbled me and softened my heart. He helped me more quickly forgive the one who wronged me, and learn to love him/her, not holding grudges.
I have always loved the hymn “Be Thou my vision”. May God help us not to lose sight of Him no matter what life circumstances we face. May His Spirit continue to help us live in ways that prove we are His called and chosen people.
May these lyrics be our prayer and reminder regularly:
Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.
By Sister Koh Yin Yapei