Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Rights and Duties?

When I was in the primary school, back in Korea, I was taught that the rights and duties of individuals must be kept for a society to function well.
I had not realised that this idea has crept into my understanding of the Christian community for a long time. Only recently, I was challenged to re-think this idea that basically put Rights and Duties as two pillars that held a community upright.

My first suspicion came when I thought about duties. Christian. Duties. For a lack of all-perfect words, we can use duties to describe some things in the life of a Christian, yet, in my mind, I often found it unhelpful. Duties? That sounds like something we must perform. When we fail to fulfil those duties, our rights will be taken away from us. You fail to fulfil your duty of paying taxes, your right to keep your own money will be taken away, or in a worse case, your right to live in your own home and go about wherever you please will be taken away and you'll be put in prison.
But, is that how we live as Christians? Is that how we should view Christian communities, especially?

Are we not free from all burdens? Are we not the heirs of God's Kingdom? Are we not friends of God?
Yes, we are! But then, why wouldn't you demand whatever suits you the most from all around you? Why wouldn't you demand your Rights all the time? Why did Paul let go of his Rights (1 Cor 9:3-14, 1 Thess 2:6)? Was it his duty to forgo his Rights, as if his duties were of higher priority than his rights?

It cannot be duties for we are free.
So what would make a free-man to let go of his rights?

The truly free Man showed me the way.
It is humility. Not duties. It must be. Duty is the language of an enslaved. Humility is the language of the free.
Having perfect freedom to exercise all His rights, even Divine Rights, He humbled Himself, so that we would gain life and freedom that He has.
This is how Christian community must work, Rights and Humility, not Rights and Duties.

(Also read: How community works)

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #46

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

It really brings out the true character of man when he is with his own family. It is tough to treat those close to you well always. Am I even bold enough to make this kind of resolutions?

(Source: A Puritan's Mind)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards: #45

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.

'what helps religion' probably translates to our modern day speech as, 'what helps my spiritual growth'. This seems a bit too strict or restrictive for my liking, unless I misunderstood it.

(Source: A Puritan's Mind)

[Didn't get to finish what I started last year. So continuing. But, these resolutions start to be more difficult to understand it seems.]

Do I, today, desire God?

Do I, today, desire God?
If so, do I desire Him more than I did yesterday?
Do I long for the risen Lord, my Redeemer, my sovereign King today more than ever?

O, stir my heart, Lord, and align my will.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Last year's resolutions

Last year around this time, I posted a new year's resolutions for 2009.
A few days ago, when there were only a couple of days left of the year, I tried to remember what my resolutions were, and I could only remember one of them. It was to pray every day intentionally even if it meant a 5-minute short one just before I went to bed.
At least I remembered one. But then, I thought I had 5 resolutions, while I in fact had 6. And to my shame, I could not remember the most important two resolutions, #1 and #2 of them.

Now I look back on last year's, I failed on all of them except getting a driver's license. Although it was never intended that I would fulfil them to gain favour from God or prove myself before Him, the fact that I could not keep my own words once again reminds me to look to Jesus whose grace is sufficient to cover all my short-comings. Which takes me back to the #1 resolution of last year, "Believe always that Christ's atoning sacrifice covers ALL my sins FOREVER." May the glory and praise to Him forever more!

What of this year's resolutions?

I think #1 and #2 from last year's stand this year just the same.
1) Believe always that Christ's atoning sacrifice covers ALL my sins FOREVER.
2) Believe always that I am and will be given sufficient grace to make godly choices and live sacrificially.

Other than that, I will refrain from mentioning more here, lest I become a greater liar by the end of the year.

Oh, and happy new year, and may God's grace be to you this new year more and more.