Cultivating your Inner Life: Reflections

Edmund Chan’s Writing

I’ve always enjoyed reading Edmund Chan’s books as they contain deep truths, yet expressed so simply and clearly. The chapters of the book may be brief, but the amount of truth expressed is so powerful that you can’t help but take a step back and reflect. What I’ve enjoyed about the book so far is it’s very comprehensive approach to elucidating a topic – first exploring myths surrounding it and then defining the issue. It really illustrates Edmund Chan’s belief that it is hard to pursue what you do not define.

It’s interesting to read across different Christian authors, as they all take a different approach towards God and His word – all biblical, but different in the kind of emotional response elicited and the actions it prompts you. Edmund Chan’s Cultivating your Inner Life stirs in you a hunger to really seek more of Him and to put that as the one pursuit of your life, rather similar to Bill Johnson’s Face to Face, with the key difference being that Bill Johnson also writes significantly about the ‘outer Christian life’ of miracles, transforming the world and arising and shining. Edmund Chan really goes very deep into what it means to seek the Lord, to build the inner life and to ‘form’ the spirit. Both books balance each other really well.

On to my reflections on intimacy with the Lord…

The ONE thing

Reading the book brought new light to my understanding of Psalm 27:4, setting the context right for me – and at the right time too. Currently, I’m facing so much fears and anxieties, because I’ve been put in a challenging role, due to various circumstances. The temptation is always to pray for breakthroughs, pray for wisdom, pray for success – these are not wrong, but they are the blessings that I seek from the Lord! David went through so much worse than me – he was at war, he was persecuted by his enemies. Yes, he did pray for freedom from fear and for protection – but in the midst of it all, the one thing that he sought was the LORD. And it wasn’t just a quiet, passive kind of waiting on the Lord, it was a resolute pursuit – as shown through the phrase this I seek!

Oh – how my priorities have been so misplaced!

The ONE thing – not just ONE of the important things – the only THING that David seeks is to deepen Himself in the Lord’s presence. WOW! That is his one passion.

Does he seek God’s presence to get anything? Does he think that seeking God’s presence will give him the victory and freedom that he needs? NO!

It’s just intimacy with the Lord that is sufficient – which is another point that Edmund Chan makes in his book. It’s a myth to believe that intimacy with the Lord brings blessings – it IS the blessing in itself! “Intimacy with the Lord is not something we add onto our lives” – it is the primary anchor of our lives itself.

Is this anything new?

Nope. I’ve probably heard this message in multiple permutations before and this is not something that mature Christians know.

However, is this something that Christians regularly practise? I would say no – or at least, not for me.

This goes beyond just spending quiet time and having your spiritual disciplines, which in its own isn’t already very easy to do. However, it goes beyond just actions and ‘discipline’, though that is important. A person can pray for hours each day, yet not build a deep inner life, if his/her prayer focus is wrong.

It is what Edmund Chan says about your inner life – your inner compulsions, your inner compass, your passions and your desires. It’s a reorienting of your life. It’s not about fulfilling things on a checklist, reading as many Christian books as you can or listening to many sermons – though those are important – but it’s about what your life is anchored on and what your life flows out of!

An idea that has stuck in my mind for quite a long time after reading Living Life Devotion is this idea of being addicted to Jesus. We’ve all got our own obsessions and compulsions – I’m personally rather addicted to social media, in that I’ll check the feeds ever so often to identify any updates even if it’s just 5 minutes. However, something I’m wondering about is how does one show that he/she is addicted to Jesus? What are the inner/outer actions that exemplify this? Am hoping this book will bring more light to this issue!