In Retrospect :: By Edwin Tan

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:7).

Here is how the present selfie nonsense began. Eyes would focus on the need for coverings; much of it would be of an elaborate nature. How a man and woman appeared before the spectacle of onlookers was the determinant of self-image. With that, the mega billions earned by the fashion industry served as a critical pivot in the global economy.

Success or failure would be portrayed by an individual’s self-image. Herein sits a benchmark by which people are labeled and categorized – driven by the fallen nature. With it, self-consciousness that propels the ‘me, myself, and I’ becomes priority number one.

The above notion could bring joy, but in reality, all this is likened to cosmetic surgery.

The human mind, so dictated by the fallen nature, is prone to wanderings. Oftentimes, negative thoughts that highlight inadequacies and shortcomings simply show up. Boy! They do stick like super glue.

The mind in such a state finds no peace. About everybody feels this way at some point in their life journey. Regrets which are often overstated torment the mind. It undoubtedly drives people to outperform in certain instances, but at the end of the day, all it amounts to is tiredness and weariness. In the process of browbeating themselves, these folks become aggressive, abusive, and unloving. They could be loud and arrogant when a temporary top-of-the-world feeling is attained. Conversely, they could sink into a heap of despair, clutching a half-consumed bottle of Bourbon in one hand! This is when the flow is against them.

As for the individual that has a negative view of things because of a procession of disappointments amidst much hardship – it seemingly gets worse with each passing year. Oftentimes, the misery tends to be overinflated – self-inflicted recriminations give such tormented minds little respite from a depressing black cloud. Such people are at risk of taking their own lives and the lives of others in some sad instances.

Judgment by earthly standards has little room for compassion. Anyone that misses the mark is as good as thrown under the bus. A dog-eat-dog atmosphere reigns ruthlessly; it is all about being street-smart, mean, ferocious, suspicious, and envious. Anything less than that opens the door to failure, says the world!

The world’s standards were, in the first place, set by the wicked one whose ultimate goal is to kill, steal, and destroy. Following the pathway of the fallen planet does lead to destruction. The question is – in this present life or life following physical death?

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousy, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

For a greater part of my younger days, I have seen it all and been part of this ungodly mess at some stage of my life. Enough to make me question God concerning His love. When things did not pan out and something seemingly unwelcome took its place, it sounded like a piece of damnation! Bitterness which enveloped my cynical psyche was quite a trademark I lived with for many years.

The trouble was I saw things through the lens of the fallen nature. It took me quite a while to understand the meaning and purpose of specific happenings – that is, through the lens of the Lord. I might say that this is tougher than the toughest triathlon, but through the enabling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, I presently view all these things with joy in my heart.

All this would be totally unachievable had I remained stubborn as a mule. Call this quite a recent occurrence; this is when I decided to decouple from the fallen nature and put on Christ one hundred percent. Being a watchman on the wall certainly played a significant part in this transformation. I could see the direction everything was heading. There was really nothing much this failed planet had to offer in the coming years. By then, the Holy Spirit gently shoved all the false and deceiving narratives out of the way. Somehow, all that appeared far from palatable in the spiritual sense!

I savored the sweetness that emanated from the Living Word. A hundred percent accurate where all prophecies are concerned. It is definitely spot on! Walk according to the Word and not the world; this is where the peace which surpasses all human understanding perpetually blossoms!

Strange as it would seem, I tend to get a good appetite when I reminisce about my earlier life through the lens of eternity with Christ. Based on worldly key performance indicators, it is a failing grade. It does not matter to me anymore. Life does not fizzle out at the final breath. There is eternity. The question is, where is it spent?

I have no problem answering that question. Through the enabling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, I am thankful that it did not go the way so dreamt of in my youth. My focus is on the Blessed Hope. Even if my final breath should come first – no big deal!

So long as I am still on planet Earth, there is hardly anything said about the fruits of worldliness. Priority number one is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).



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