Yes, I’ve turned 40. The big 4-0.
I’m not sure how the years flew passed. But I know how the years has taken me to where I am today.
Hence, I have just 4, and not 40 things to say in my 40th year about how I’m living my life from this point on.
1. Born in Singapore, made in Vietnam.
A boxer is never going to be a boxer if he doesn’t get into a ring and actually fight. That’s how I would describe my time in Vietnam. You really get to fight for the faith in a rough environment and pitting against the enemy with the Spirit.
Living in Singapore prior to that was merely training in the faith. Also life in Singapore as a believer is pretty much a safe environment to live out the faith. There’s no real test or opposition to challenge one’s conviction and trust in the Lord with a high level of certainty or predictability.
Now back in Singapore, I’ve returned with a fresher perspective and deeper faith about living out and living for the Gospel. And I am more convicted that it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.
2. The Gospel of the Kingdom.
More than salvation, the Gospel is about His Kingdom. Jesus is not just the Saviour, but also the King. Which means my life is not my own, but belongs to Jesus. And I now live to obey the King and His directives, not mine.
For me, my faith in the King has to be integrated with my life in who I am and what I do. This is what I coined as faith-life integration, and this integration of faith is what I will pursue uncompromisingly.
I’m determined to live my life inhibited where I can express my faith freely and missionally whether I’m in Singapore or in Vietnam; and everywhere I’m placed – at home, at work and within the church communities and beyond – to reach and save the lost with the love and power of God as Jesus did.
3. Living Kingdom
Jesus is my King, and I’ll submit my life to Him and follow Him. My obedience is to Christ first, not to any man or any institution. I centre my life around Him, and not Him centred around mine.
Jesus said we can only serve one master. Either God or Money. I choose God. But the reality is that this is not easy, and it is a deliberate choice to make at every challenge. However, with trust built up over the years, it gets easier as I know that He is faithful.
One of His directives to me is to be a ‘tentmaker’ like the apostle Paul. Aside from eliminating any obstacle that would obstruct someone’s faith or belief in the Gospel, it also allows me to be in the marketplace with the lost to serve His purpose.
Since returning to Singapore, God has been leading me to serve as an active advocate for the incarcerated and youth-at-risks by using my past. This was an area which did not present any clear opportunity prior to me relocating to Vietnam. Now doors have opened for me.
4. The Kingdom is like a seed
I’ve learnt that the Kingdom of God is truly like a seed. It carries explosive potential. But as it is small, it is overlooked or despised by most because it is usually hidden in the dirt. Out of sight and unattractive.
Like a seed, it also needs lots of nurturing. Lots of time and effort are required and it is not us that causes growth, it is God. There needs to be the rolling of our sleeves to get dirty. Are we willing to pay the price?
The seed also grows into a massive tree. Means the roots are important in anchoring the tree and keeping it stable. The roots represent our relationship with Christ and His love. He not only holds us, but He holds us altogether as a family.
His Kingdom is about relationships, not ministry. Ministry is the result of the strong relationships that are forged which are illustrated in the parable of the mustard seed with the birds perched in its branches; providing refuge and food to other living creatures.
Final things to say
Ultimately, the Kingdom grows by multiplication. This happens when fruits are produced and with more seeds that will birth more trees. That’s how the Kingdom of God expands and advances. With sacrifice.
Jesus sacrificed His life, and gave birth (born again) to us. Sacrifice is required, that’s why He shared about the kernel of wheat. Therefore, I will not despise small and humble beginnings.
In living Kingdom, I will not seek for the glamourous or riches, but be rooted in His love and identity as His son. I want to live a life marked demonstrating His love as He first loved me with the mission of multiplying by discipleship towards fulfilling the Great Commission.