In the past, I used to have a very narrow view and understanding of Christian Spirituality. I used to think that Christian Spirituality refers to a set of disciplines that one does to get in tune with God. Disciplines like doing Lectio Divina, meditation, silent retreats… all these practices sounded very Catholic to me. Maybe it was because most of these disciplines were practiced frequently by the Catholics that caused me to have such a perception. Not only so, some of these disciplines are also practiced by other religions.
My perception began to change and expand after my short stay at the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary (Protestant), which is an international and interdenominational Christian community that focuses on sharing the love of God, glorifying Him, making Him known and preparing the Bride of Jesus out of every nation for the day of His coming. It was there that I learnt that Christian Spirituality is not just a set of disciplines. It is much more. My understanding of Christian Spirituality further increased after taking the module “Introduction to Christian Spirituality” at Singapore Bible College. Christian Spirituality consists of my beliefs and practices and also how I live out my life. It is not just getting in tune with God. It is also living it out among the people; not just exclusively among fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but also among everybody. It is a lifelong journey of self-discovery in relationship with the Triune God and is meant to live out in the world; not just as individuals but as a community. It is a daily communion with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Even in the simple and normal mandate tasks, we can also experience the love, joy and peace in performing such work.
It is a daily communion with the Triune God who will guide and lead us into perfection by living a life of holiness, humility and gratitude. It can be said that it is a process of sanctification and transformation. Since our God is Three-in-One, as such, Christian Spirituality is not just solely about our inner experiences with God; that would be a narrow understanding that leads to mysticism. Instead, Christian Spirituality is experiencing God in our inner being and living it out in a community, as how our Triune God is.
Bible reading, meditations, spiritual retreats, Lectio Divina… just to name a few, are disciplines that help us to grow and draw closer to God and to know His will and purpose for us. God has gifted each of us differently and we are to discover the gifts and potentials that God has bestowed upon us. This can be achieved by spending time seeking after Him and reflecting on our past journey. It is a continuous and lifelong process where we search ourselves and let God reveal His purpose to us bit by bit. It is a journey of discovering more about ourselves in the Lord.
Knowing God is one aspect which renews our minds. Another aspect is to experience Him in our hearts and also through actions. Even though God has called us out of the world, it does not mean that we are to “cut” ourselves away from the world. Instead, we are to live out the Christian faith in the world with God’s grace and love. In other words, we are called to engage the world by reflecting Jesus in our thoughts, beliefs and actions. Christian Spirituality is putting theory into practice. It is love in action.
In a way, Christian Spirituality will lead us to be still before the presence of God, contented in His love and continuously experience His grace and mercy for us both inwardly and outwardly. It is a daily receiving of God’s grace for us to press on in our lives and also to share this grace with others. It draws us closer to God and as we live it out in the world, it will also draw others to Him. Jesus is the light of the world and we are the lights that are supposed to reflect Jesus such that others will also be drawn to the One True Light.