One of the precious lessons from my devotional life has to do with my sense of rights. I recall a time when my sense of well-being was affected by some unfair remarks against me over certain issues. I tried to speak in defence, but it would result in an argument, and I would get very upset and lose my self-control, much to my regret. To protect relationships, I would choose to control myself. But this would leave me feeling very stifled and angry.
One evening, after a similar experience, I recalled something I had read in Oswald Chambers’ “My utmost for His Highest”. Jesus, who never sinned, never asked for His rights when false accusations were heaped upon Him. Why then should I be asking for mine, for much lesser injustices! That realization calmed and settled me immediately – peace of mind and heart restored. I praised and thanked God for His timely Word.
Why did I feel entitled to my rights in the first place?
It was my human tendency for self-preservation. Indeed, our sense of well-being could be so easily marred by what people say or do to us, rightly or wrongly; or by the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Our moods, feelings and emotions can so easily spin out of control. How can we follow Jesus’ example of denying self? Chambers pointed out, “Christ never spoke of His right to Himself but always maintained an inner vigilance to submit His spirit continually to His Father.” Jesus was free from being affected by the external because He submitted Himself internally to the Father.
How can we have such freedom? Jesus said, “If you abide in my Word, you are my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). This, as Chambers said, “is the freedom that comes from being set freefrom myselfby the Son” (cf: v. 36). “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God …” (Gal 2:20). Being in union with Christ, we “should be free indeed – free to the very core of [our] being; from the inside to the outside.”
Freedom in its truest sense is obedience to the one we most truly love – God. The more we immerse in God’s Word, and grow in intimacy and love for God, the greater our ability and freedom to act in alignment to God’s will. Our life’s experiences could be precious lessons for us to grow in our life in Christ. Personally, I have found significant trials in my life to be holy moments. I could look back and see them as pathways to freedom and peace in Christ, and to grow in faith in our all-knowing, all-wise, compassionate, gracious, loving and sovereign Lord.
I must however confess that it is much easier for me to write the above than to be vigilant to live it out at all times myself. It is an on-going journey, and I must persevere, with God’s enabling grace.
May we continue to meditate on God’s Word as disciples, and grow in the knowledge of God’s truth which sets us free in Christ from the core of our being. May we be vigilant to submit to the Holy Spirit and be free to do the will of God in love, and we can joyfully say, “It is well with my soul!”
By Sister Lee Yoke Kwang (YCKC Bulletin 10&11 June 2017)