Saturday, August 14, 2010
ON HAPPINESS, PROSPERITY AND PROGRESS
Just last Monday, we celebrated our National Day, the most important day for us as a nation. It was 45 years ago that Singapore became a sovereign nation. This was after an unsuccessful experiment at federalism with our neighbours which began when all of us achieved independence from Britain in 1963. Fortunately, we have been spared traumatic experiences like wars, ethnic killings, etc when we achieved sovereignty. Nevertheless the future did look uncertain, in 1965, for a nation that was a hodgepodge of ethnic groups, with no resources to sustain a viable economy. By the grace of God, we have weathered these obstacles to become one people moving progressively in the 21st Century.
As Christians, we have our own personal “National Day”, the day we are born-again. It is the day, the Bible tells us, when God “rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13, 14).. The Almighty God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth chose us to be his children and the recipients of his love. It is something to marvel at and to render all praise for God for his mercy.
Just as a nation seeks to grow in riches as it moves on from independence, so too must we Christians grow in ‘riches’ as we move through Christian life. A Christian’s perception of riches, however, is unlike that of the world. God’s Word reminds us that true wealth is not about being abundant in cash and material possessions. Rather it is about being abundant in the blessings of peace, joy and spiritual growth.
Therefore, we should always seek to determine our heart’s attitude to see what kind of blessings we seek after. What absorbs most, if not all, of our daily energy? How do we respond when the sermon speaks to our attitudes regarding material possessions? What is our priority – increasing our possessions or worshiping God and spending time with family and friends? Do we own our possessions or do our possessions own us?
Christian literature reminds us to maintain a thankful attitude daily towards God. Being grateful to God daily gives us a proper perspective of life. It will help us establish benchmarks on how we are progressing in our spiritual life. If we do this throughout the day, we will be grateful for the things we already have instead of being preoccupied with what we do not have. Our hearts then will not be compelled to increasingly seek after material things at the expense of our relationships with God, our family and friends. By faith, we should put God first in all things. After all, God has promised us “but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt 6:33).
When we seek after God’s Will and live according to his principles, we will find ‘happiness, prosperity and progress which, defined in biblical terms, translates into joy, a life governed by grace and peace and progress in spiritual growth. This is what Christ died to achieve for us. That is why we know grace as the acronym for ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’
May His blessings abound in all whose Hope is in Him and in him only.