It’s taken me a while, but I finally finished composing an enjoyment email based on my recent trip to Australia with the saints in my locality. As for why the title is “part two”, this is because I also plan to record my enjoyment from the young people’s conference I attended in another locality a few days prior to our trip to Australia (and it helps that this trip is the most recent recollection). My memory of the young people’s conference is somewhat comparable to trying to cup water in one’s hands, but I will do my best to present my enjoyment of Christ from that period as well.
Praise the Lord for blending; praise Him especially for the one Body into which we’re blended into!
I recently joined a blending trip with 9 other saints from my locality to Australia. During our journey, we spent time with the saints in their localities and at the National College Age Conference (NCAC). This email encapsulates my enjoyment from this trip : )
For the majority of our trip, we spent our time in Sydney though we also visited the town of Newcastle which is about 2 hours north of Sydney. I really enjoyed being with the saints, whether it was during the conference, staying with the saints in their homes or simply spending time with them. I really felt the flow of life through the Body and had a deeper appreciation of all the saints; this trip provided me with the opportunity to know the saints more in a human manner, and I was particularly moved by their compassion, to feel the love of Christ expressed through the saints in their humanity, particularly as expressed through their testimonies of receiving the Lord. To be with the saints in Australia was just like being with the saints in New Zealand; we are all one in the divine family of God : ) I especially was especially delighted to see the saints and their progress in the Lord, knowing that their spiritual growth is in action : D
The NCAC was an intensified period of five days up in the mountains with the young people from Australia (altogether about 140 attendees; hallelujah!). The subject was ‘A Man of God’ and I really appreciate that this is such a simple, yet revealing work; we are men of God! To go along with this title, our “theme” verse included 1 Timothy 6:11 (But you, O man of God, flee these things, and pursue, righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness), though there were other verses we also enjoyed along the way. The structure of the conference was catergorised into three groups: life, gospel and truth. The messages we covered were all really precious and applicable, and the messages were: a man of God, an exercised spirit, seizing the opportunity to preach the gospel through the unique way of love, a vessel unto honour, a good conscience, an inoculator, a pure heart, living a shepherding life by ministering Christ to others in love, a fighter of the good fight, and a proper humanity. I was really encouraged by everyone exercising their spirits and in a sense, this is one of the points I really enjoyed from this conference, that is, the exercise of our spirit. To exercise our spirit is actually very significant, and I was really enlightened to see that the word ‘exercise’ implies forcing; this means that to exercise our spirit is a challenge! Just like how we may desire to become physically fit by going to the gym regularly, we need to also be those regularly spiritually exercising (that is, exercising our spirit) to become spiritually strong and grow in the Lord! A verse that relates to this point is 1 Timothy 4:8 which says “For bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but godliness (the matter of expressing God in one’s living) is profitable for all things, having promise of the present life and of that which is to come.” So this may serve as a reminder to us all, that yes, it’s good to exercise physically, but it only profits the body. However, when we exercise our spirit (e.g. by expressing God in our living, being men of God through faith and baptism), this is beneficial for our entire being. Hence – let’s all exercise our spirit! ♪
In addition, when we exercise our spirit, this affords us a way to be useful for God because it’s the trigger that helps us in having a good conscience, unfeigned faith, a pure heart and a proper humanity (life attributes which are the constituents of a man of God!). In exact, to exercise our spirit requires that we deny our self, because in our natural fallen self, we are not those that are exercising our spirits. This can be likened to a person not wanting to exercise because they find it difficult to do so, and not seeing the benefits they can gain from it. There’s a struggle that we need to overcome by the Lord; this is done by denying our self that the Lord could work through us for His interests. To be useful for the Lord, we need to deny our self, exercise our spirit and thus allow the Lord to operate through us!
So how can we apply this matter of exercising our spirit? Well, as men of God, we desire that our friends, family and colleagues to enjoy the divine life and nature of God as we do. As such, we need to realise that the gospel is a way of looooove~. Yet in ourselves, we do not have the love for all mankind. But – we do know that God so loved the world. So, we can minister the love of Christ to others as the good news by means of spending time in the Lord’s presence to be unveiled (from our natural concepts which can act as insulators between the Lord and us), behold Him (to see Him and His love for humanity) and reflect Him (expressing the love of Christ in our living). This in itself is transformation, for when we behold and reflect the Lord, we are being transformed into the same image as He is (just like how when a person looks into a mirror, they expect to see their exact image in the mirror, because the mirror reflects that person’s image), and we can be those that reflect God Himself! (2 Corinthians 3:18)
My personal exhortation is to encourage blending with the saints for the building up of the Body of Christ, to gain the Lord’s testimony and expression! We need to seize the opportunities! It doesn’t matter if we blend with those in our locality, or those in a different locality; as long as we take action to spend time with the saints and be built up with Him, this maintains the healthy flow of life in the Body : )
Let’s be self-deniers and Christ-suppliers! ☆