Written by: Rachel Chai (Photo by: Ronald Lim)
The War for Singapore
If you were to choose a segment from the National Day Parade (NDP) that you enjoy the most, what would it be? Mine would definitely be the fireworks — as my family gathers in my grandparents’ HDB flat, I would always wait for the opportune moment to dash up to the corridor at the top storey to catch the bright hues explode in the night sky.
Admittedly, the part of the NDP I least anticipate is the parade and ceremony segment; there was nothing to appreciate about uniformed men standing on the parade grounds or random firing of guns into the sky.
Recently, my husband asked me what I thought the purpose of NDP was. Without hesitation, I confidently responded, “It’s just a day to celebrate our independence lor.” To which he replied, “No, it’s more than that. It’s mainly to showcase to other nations the strength of our defence capabilities.”
His response brought fresh insight to the parade and ceremony segment that I once dozed off to. We have witnessed, with increasing frequency, how countries have flexed their muscle through displays of their military capabilities. Tensions are high in numerous parts of the world today, hence the pivotal role of one’s national defence force in safeguarding her sovereignty cannot be underestimated.
This year, we not only celebrate Singapore’s 52nd birthday on the 9th of August; we also commemorate the 50th year since the establishment of National Service. Since Singapore’s independence, the government has taken the unequivocal stance that a strong military would serve as the bedrock of our national security.
Although we have been living in times of peace since our independence, the Singapore government has been unwavering in making the concerted effort to strengthen the coordinated response in countering potential threats, particularly since the nature of warfare has evolved. It then dawned on me that, as much as Singapore prepares for war in times of peace, we are right now standing in the middle of a war that is unseen in the physical realm — one that we cannot shut our eyes to.
The Call to War
Just as the Singapore military has been diligent in mitigating potential attacks and protecting our homeland, I believe that the Singaporean body of Christ must gear up for war. By no means is this a call for Christians to take up the weapons of this world, for we do not war “against flesh and blood, but against principalities [and] powers” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV) of this dark age. The “principalities and powers” in Ephesians refer to demonic powers that oppose the very nature of God, seeking to thwart God’s redemption plan of establishing His kingdom here on earth.
I believe that these are the areas in Singapore that have come under siege, of which I have been personally contending for:
1. Reconciliation of Families
A recent national family feud surfaced entrenched fractures in Singaporean households and left me feeling burdened. I began to wonder about the sort of circumstances that could drive such a rift between flesh and blood, to the point that “swords” could be taken up against one another. It was heartbreaking to see family members harbour seemingly irreconcilable depths of bitterness, anger, hurt, and hatred. This incident reminded me that we, as believers, have been entrusted with the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19 ESV) to reconcile the hearts of mankind to the Father.
Our nation needs to see families in the body of Christ fulfilling the mandate of revealing the fullness of the Father’s love, with us living as conduits of His goodness. Demolishing the enemy’s foothold in this area does not involve us displaying a pristine or “holier-than-thou” image of our family life to others, while sweeping our imperfections under the carpet. They do not need to hear about love cloaked in flattering words or rhetoric principles. Instead, our nation needs to see love “not in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18 ESV) among Christian families. It is in being vulnerable about our failings and struggles that all the more testifies of the freedom that families can walk in when the Father’s heart is made known to them.
2. Fulfilment of Singapore’s Destiny
I believe that every nation has been conceived in the mind of God for “[He] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God…” (Acts 17:26 ESV). Only by seeking God, will the people of each nation discover His blueprint of releasing His kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.
Over the course of 2017, a clarion call has been released for our nation: Singapore must call to remembrance who she is and how she has been positioned in God’s kingdom as the “Antioch of Asia.” The heart of Singapore’s prophetic destiny as the Antioch of Asia is to simply see her become a missionary-sending nation, where believers stake their all for the cause of Christ. Many local pioneers of the faith have laboured for this vision to come to pass. The younger generation, too, must take on this mantle in contending for our nation to realise her destiny.
In distracting us from aligning with God’s agenda, the enemy has insidiously planted seeds of doubt that send us retreating into fear and retracting from our commitment to the cause. Growing up in Singapore, I witnessed many succumb to two main types of fears: the fear of inadequacy and the fear of lack.
Fear of Inadequacy
Inadequacy shames us into believing the lie that we have little or nothing to offer. Inadequacy condemns us into accepting the lie that we are required to perform to a particular standard in order to win the heart of the Father. In the past, I had the impression that I had nothing conceivable to offer unto God as many others were of better stature/appearance and possessed talents that far surpassed what “pathetic little me” had. I lived life believing that “earning the heart of God” meant that I had to stick religiously to my Bible reading schedule each day or master the “right vocabulary” in prayer.
Contending against the fear of inadequacy requires us to stand firm upon the truth of who God says we are and who He says He is. It involves us being fully clothed in the armour of God, taking up the “shield of faith with which [we] can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16 ESV) aimed in our path and wielding the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 ESV) that cancels out every deceptive word spoken against us.
Grounding ourselves in the truth arms us with confidence to march out into the daily battle with inadequacy obliterated. We have already won the heart of the Father — we are His “beloved [children], with whom [He is] well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 ESV). We simply need to present ourselves before Him as yielded vessels — for “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks [at] the outward appearance, but the Lord looks [at] the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV).
Fear of Lack
When we adopt a “scarcity” mindset, self-sufficiency emerges in our lives, as we feel the need to fight for every good thing in our lives. Instead of living “… by every word that [proceeds] from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 ESV), we live based on a worldly definition of security. In Singapore, more often than not, walking in the fullness of God’s call seems to come with the condition that we first need to achieve a level of financial stability before we can give Him our wholehearted devotion. Whilst walking in the call of God does not necessarily mean that we will live a life of financial instability, we must be wary that our finances does not become our fascination.
Overcoming this fear starts from us returning to the “simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3 NASB). In doing so, we shall realise that the fleeting pleasures of the world sorely pale in comparison to the beauty of Christ. The intimacy from an unadulterated devotion to Christ compels us to lay down our all for His commission.
As children of God, we must contend against these fears and eradicate them, lest they impede us and future generations from walking into the fullness of our call as a nation.
Will we answer?
The body of Christ, like the men going through National Service, has been called upon to wage a war to dethrone the forces of darkness and establish the “… righteousness, peace and joy …” (Romans 14:17 ESV) of His kingdom here in our nation. As God issues this call to Singapore, may our answer be a resounding “yes” to the One who is worthy of it all.