Uncircumstantial Joy

You know the oft-said cliche of having joy in the hardest of trials, and rejoicing in the midst of suffering? You know how pastors and preachers keep repeating that without really explaining what it means?

I know what it means.

Because of God’s revelation of His unmerited favor on my life, I can live in boldness and confidence. I might have lost contact with the girl of my dreams, but the favor of God convinces me that this relationship is not over. Greater things are yet to come.

Because of this revelation, even if what I want doesn’t come to pass, I can enjoy His abundant joy that resides regardless of situation. It is the joy in knowing that I can freely receive God’s favor in spite of what I did, or whether or no I do anything or not. I just need to ask Him for that favor and declare His favor over my life.

I know that by His favor all His promises are Yes and Amen and things will work out for my good. Regardless of the present situation, His favor gives me unshakable joy and hope for more to come.

Nothing can merit nor demerit me from the favor of God, for it is by His goodness, not mine, that I can freely receive that favor which He freely gives.

—Joel Kindiak, 20 Aug 17, 1620H

A Week of Unmerited Favor

Since my re-revelation of unmerited favor, I’m definitely seeing my life turn out for the better.

The principle is that I can show kindness to people who don’t deserve it because God had shown me kindness that I don’t deserve.

One example will be a particular superior in my unit who shall remain unnamed for confidentiality purposes. I get scolded by her for no apparent reason, and even when I’m right. she will find any and every reason to blame me, like leaving early (even though that’s rightful since I did come early) or nor completing a minor task (even though I was busy with a major one). I’m thankful that I don’t need to retaliate because God will do that for me. In fact, it would be awesome for her to know Christ through me too. Yet, I can rest in God’s unmerited favor for me, and find little reason to fight fire with fire. Let God’s grace work, I rest!

Another instance would be in texting. By my very nature I like to reply as soon as I’m available and do not ignore texts from people I know (strangers…that’s a different story). And it does get infuriating when I’m having a nice conversation and it suddenly gets killed by non-responsiveness. Heck it was this very issue that triggered me into a spiral of depression about a month ago. Yet, now that I’m under God’s unmerited favor, that is, favor that I receive without any merit of my own, I can show my friends who ignore me unmerited favor, that is, favor that they receive without any merit of their own. I can be gracious to them and give benefit of the doubt, when in time past I did not know how to.

Most significantly, I’ve learnt to show myself favor. I get thoughts of how I screw up, whether I actually did or not, and when I do, I ask God for a fresh dose of His unmerited favor, not that I don’t have it, but calling upon Him about what I do already have. I’ve learnt to not condemn myself and to enjoy the abundant joy I was talking about pre-2017. It’s all because of His unmerited favor I can live a free life.

And it’s not like life will automatically become easier. Not all my prayers will be answered immediately nor my wishes magically granted. Much work is still needed in many of my burnt bridges, much patience is still need in my workplace when I get chased to get work done and much intentionality is still needed to grow close to my friends with whom I have had fatal misunderstandings with. Yet, I know that God has gone through and is giving me unmerited favor to complete them all, and I can enjoy the rest of the year, with my friends or alone, busy or free.

I’ve got God’s unmerited favor and that’s all that matters.

Returning to Grace

“If you know full well that your friend is someone easily affected by negative emotions, especially anger, and if he/she knows that any small action can easily trigger you, won’t it be natural for him/her to find spending time with you awkward?”

I guess fear is a better word than awkward, but that did get me thinking: how have I refined my judgement skills so well that I can tell a person’s intent just from their action, no matter how big or small the matter? And an even scarier thought is: if people are fearing me, doesn’t that mean that I’ve been too lawful in the way I treat them?

When I say lawful, I don’t mean good or bad. I mean that I will never forget every small mistake that anyone in my scope makes. I will scrutinize that action to its near-root cause and give no solution to fix it. I won’t wrongly accuse but when I do accuse it gets very, very scathing, and usually is merciless. My opinion about said people would have been tarnished and my trust affected.

That’s not how grace works. That’s certainly not the heart of the Father. The Father’s heart is grace, not law. God gives undeserved favor, freely.

And that begins a new journey in my life once again: relearning how to show people unmerited favor.

Unmerited favor is favor that one receives without any merit of his own. It’s natural to do good to people who have done good to me, like being there for me when I need them. It’s supernatural, however, to do good to the same people who let me down. Have I been let down? Yes. Should that stop me from being the best friend I can be? Should that withhold me from showing undeserved goodness? No and no. In fact it’s precisely when people screw up that I should show grace, since undeserved favor is the very definition of grace.

Which leads to yet another contemplation: if I have been so legalistic in the way I treat others, have I then also been legalistic against myself, who, too, is in desperate need of grace? The sobering truth is that I beat myself hard when I mess up instead of showing grace and letting God work. I figured I should be able to do something right? So if I’m not condemning the other party, I had better condemn myself. And condemn myself I do, opening me believe to many false lies of the devil and spiral down yet again.

I’ve been set free but still need time to adjust to this new life.

Let’s start by receiving the abundant grace of God which can then overflow as grace to others and even myself. Let God’s unmerited favor overtake my situations and let Him resolve all matters, changing hearts where necessary, convicting me of my righteousness and so on. Because I am undeservingly favored, I pray that I will show undeserved favor to the people around me who may offend me in many ways.

And that can only happen by His unmerited favor.

—Joel Kindiak, 11 Aug 17, 0710H

Unmerited Favor

Favor that one receives without any merit of his own is, by definition, unmerited favor.

In learning many spiritual truths, never forget one of the bedrock of them all—that God wants to freely give us good gifts, especially ones that we totally do not deserve, because He loves us immensely. When these gifts are received in spite of the bad we do, you know it’s from God.

To show favor to others, we cannot do it from our own strength. We need an overflow of God’s favor. That overflow allows us to show favor to others even when they don’t deserve it, inasmuch we’ve received favor which we don’t deserve.

Never forget the favor of God that restores, that blesses, that prospers, that heals, that provides, and on top of them all, builds us up and points us to Christ. It’s the favor of God that will make us capable of livin set apart lives.

—Joel Kindiak, 10 Aug 17, 0653H

Too Jesus-y

I realise there are not many people I can confide in.

And it’s not because of the lack of trust or whatnot. I’m sure if I have problems of a physical or emotional nature I’ll be more than willing to confide in people.

The problem is that many of my issues aren’t physical ones (save for eczema) or emotional ones (save for friendships) but spiritual ones. In fact those two problems above might have spiritual roots, the second moreso than the first.

And most people, Christian or not, simply don’t care about spiritual issues, because it is not practically visible or tangible.

Yet, it was the resolution of a spiritual issue, that is, the realization of a seven-year-long lie, that freed me to really enjoy every breath I have and every moment of life. There aren’t many people who are willing to share my spiritual burdens save for a select few.

I don’t see it as a bad thing that I care about it a disproportionate lot. In fact I think this is what makes me, me. I’m who God made me to be and if it turns out that I deeply enjoy spiritual conversations more than others, so be it. I’ll be who I am while continuing to love others with the love that God has given me. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive, upon giving it some thought.

I just find it interesting that I am who I am and am this unique.

God is in charge of my friendships, so I won’t strive to make them more spiritual. I’ll be myself and whether these friendships become more spiritual or not doesn’t change my identity.

In other news, I’ll be as Jesus-y as I want while using the wisdom of God to love my neighbor as myself.

—Joel Kindiak, 29 Jul 17, 1306H

Breakthrough


The feeling of freedom is awesome. And after 7 years of wrong believing, I have finally received my breakthrough.

On the 11 July 2017, my close friend sent a text suggesting that we should call each other less and text each other less. That night after realizing the impact of that message—how I would lose a best friend again—my heart broke and I had a sleepless night. Every day since then would be hell. If she didn’t reply my texts, I would condemn myself for destroying the friendship and if she did, I would reply immediately and worry that she won’t bother because she feels uncomfortable around me.

This led me to flare up a few times and send emotionally charged texts many times. I knew this friendship would end, but wanted to salvage it for as long as possible. On 21 July 2017 in my office my, I was overwhelmed with grief. I had a taste of what the loss from the death of a loved one felt like. I wept silently in my office, since I do not want to disturb my colleagues, and complained to another close friend of mine. In fact I complained to him throughout these two weeks. It was an awful two weeks. Why did God let me go through this? Why isn’t He doing anything to stop this torture?

These two weeks shown me the despair that those suffering clinical depression face. It was a bondage of little to no hope. As much as I send daily verses every morning, I find difficulty believing in what I wrote. Having exhausted all I can think of: trying to discuss this with my close friend, trying to overcome it with music, trying to distract myself, I ended up reading the psalms and writing daily verses by faith. I ended up writing this by the Holy Spirit:

The psalmist contemplated that even in a flood of great waters, they will not come near him. They will not overwhelm him. As a beloved child of God, resist the lies of the devil—they cannot come near you. God will preserve you from the lies of the enemy with His truth. He will overcome those waves of worry with waves of grace.

And then a thought came into my mind: the reason why I felt awful everytime my close friend doesn’t reply my texts or calls me or want to meet me up is because I believed that these were signs that she didn’t want me to be her close friend.

And then it dawned on me.

This was a lie.

And I have believed this for 7 years.

I was spiritually enraged. How could the devil have hoodwinked me all 7 years, even as a grace-preaching, Bible-quoting believer? I was deceived for 7 long years, leading to the brutal slashings of many formerly close friends. I was so angry. I was determined by the power of God’s grace never to return to this bondage again.

This lie also applied to the close friend I had a misunderstanding with at the start of the year. We are okay! I’ve thought we had something against each other but the reality is that we are okay! I’m sure if I give her a call or a text, we can have an insightful conversation and for the first time, restoration of a close friendship is possible. Maybe this is what God meant when He said that He does impossible things and that the truth will set me free.

Disclaimer: I didn’t get myself out of this bondage. God, in His grace, saved me. He saved me through and through at the right place and the right time. Retrospectively, I’m glad I struggled through the two hell weeks with two of my closest friends, and I’m even close again with the one whom I had a conflict with. God saved me, and did something impossible, that is, to break a 7-year-long bondage from me.

Thank You Jesus for setting me free.

There are moments when the awful thoughts do enter my head, but it is the grace of God that gives me power to resist the devil, and he will flee from me. Whenever the devil condemns with awful thoughts, it is spiritual warfare to combat them with Christ-essence thoughts, where it’s not about me but about Jesus in me. But wow, having been freed, I am not going to that place of bondage again!

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. [Galatians 5:1]

Free at last!

—Joel Kindiak, 27 Jul 17, 0816H

Mid-Year Update

We’re into the second half of 2017, and I think it would be good to give an update of my life now.

2017 began a tragedy. I got into a huge misunderstanding with one of my then closest friends which led to 2 months of cold war before a request for Math tuition. That lasted for three sessions in April and was followed by discontinuation. Perhaps I wasn’t good enough or my teaching style wasn’t her learning style. In any case, the tuition stopped and for all intents and purposes we have not met for a long time. I was, probably without her knowledge, devastated through and through.

During this time, two friends of mine consistently came to my support. We met every week at Suntec to do work and to encourage one another every time. They felt like God’s restoration for me: what I’ve lost in terms of close friendship has been restored by two friends even closer than before. And yet, there is a deeper heart issue that has yet to be solved.

For the weeks leading up to 16 June 2017, I was struggling with the joint concept of friendship and trust. It was a problem, and I needed to solve it. On that day, I stumbled upon this blog that basically described my current condition of placing my identity and security in friendships. That was a wake-up slap left, right and center. It was a wake-up call not to idolise friendships, but to let them remind me of Christ.

This was a breakthrough moment in my emotional life. Through it, God showed me that I don’t need to place my worth and security in friends as only He alone is worthy and the most secure person to place my identity and security in. This also means that I can hold friendships with a looser hand, to be more open to growing close to pagans (while not being influenced by their lifestyle, of course) and thus open up the Gospel without treating them as conversion projects. I don’t need to force friendships to be close: they are close if they are and they aren’t close if they aren’t, but I don’t need to force them to be. Best of all, I can jio people out without being affected by their declination, and I can for the first time really say that it is well with my soul.

Restored identity and security => restored peace and sanity.

The current struggle is my eczema outbreak on parts of my face and on my hands. My parents asked me to stop using the prescribed medication and to use their other remedies, many of which I do not trust due to their track record of failed remedies. If God could lead me out of my emotional turmoil, I trust He will led me out of my physical one as well.

That’s my update on the Year of Abundant Joy thus far, and it’s finally starting to shape up in its entirety.

-Joel Kindiak, 3 July 2017