09 Oct How Then Shall We Live?
A reflection by NTU ISCF alumni Jefferson on “Identity, Community and Flourishing: A Christian Perspective” held on 15th August 2019 at Faith Methodist Church
In the talks, “flourishing” was defined as the good and fulfilling life. Throughout the history of humankind, we have been inquiring and arguing over how flourishing looks like and how to attain it. We have apparently stopped asking the right questions as we compartmentalise life into private and public realms and subjectify the concept of flourishing. The whole has been dissected beyond recognition and taste matters more than truth. For instance, many people now view weekdays as a series of academic or corporate torture and weekends a vapour-like escape, waving back and forth in eternal battle for the subjectively-defined flourishing of comfort and security. Furthermore, this culture of dichotomy and relativity has seeped into our innermost being, numbing us to the point of being indifferent to what the flourishing life really can be.
In light of this bleak picture, is there a way out? Yes! The first step is to start (re)asking daily those questions we have long abandoned: “What is the flourishing life?” and, once we settle with a definition, “How then shall I live?” We Christians believe that by God’s grace the answers have been revealed to us—to flourish is to know and relate with the Lord Trinity (Jn. 17:3), and because of this loving relationship with God, we walk as Jesus walked (1 Jn. 2:6), paradoxically suffering that others may flourish in Him (Col. 1:24). Hence, we influence our community to ask the same questions as we do and persuade them by the beauty of the answers that God gives in the person of Jesus Christ.
In this process of daily surrendering ourselves to death that Christ may live in us, we begin to accept reality for what it is—righteousness amid sinfulness, peace in the thick of conflict and disharmony, sorrowful yet always rejoicing, flourishing amidst suffering in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). As “theologians” (in the sense of thinking and practicing our Christian faith) grappling every day with questions of the flourishing life, we testify to our community that a consequence of pursuing the Truth who is Lord Jesus is the transformation of our tastes: we find the reality of living in fellowship with the Lord Trinity no longer a burden but a bliss, one that shall be everlasting and complete on the Day when Jesus returns.
“How then shall I live like Christ?” May we keep asking this question to the Lord, until our clock ceases to tick.