Ancillary Readings

It is without a shadow of doubt that all the 66 books of the Bible are books that the Christian must read, study and return to time and again for the building of our faith and the nurturing of our relationship with God.

However, I also believe in seeking out mentors who are strong and proven in their character to inspire, revive and teach us with their writings and thoughts. In terms of ancillary readings–literature that I read in addition to the Bible–I deliberately consider mentors who have fought the good fight and whose lives are reasonable proof that they have liven a life worthy of their calling in Christ.

These are my personal mentors and the books that have taught me:

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. (childhood to early teens)
2. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. (late teens)
3. The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. (campus years)
4. The Character of God’s Worker by Watchman Nee. (campus years to current)
5. Remain Hidden by Susan Tang. (fresh graduate)
6. Pursuing Peace by Joyce Meyer. (mid-20’s)
7. Book of Martyrs by John Foxe. (late 20’s)

There are other books, but none have impacted my life such as these.

Here is a brief note about each of these books / authors.

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. (childhood to early teens)
It was CS Lewis who crafted out deep in my sub-conscious the nature of God with his character, Aslan. Aslan as I recall is sovereign, all-loving, all-powerful, and walks with his people–Emmanuel. His wisdom is beyond measure and he is at once terrifying and fearsome just as he is tender and loving.

2. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. (late teens)
Kempis taught me that when we come face to face with Christ, we cannot but be ever humble, contrite and adoring of Him. It is this humble adoration that transforms us to be more like Jesus, relying fully on His grace on never on our merit.

3. The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee. (campus years)
Watchman Nee draws wonderful illustrations on what God’s grace is through Jesus Christ and talks about His finish work, touching on imputed righteousness as well as sanctification. Extremely practical teaching, compared to more intellectual journeys through Mere Christianity (by CS Lewis) or Basic Christianity (by John Stott). Definitely the Christianity 101-type book that impacted me the most.

4. The Character of God’s Worker by Watchman Nee. (campus years to current)
This book, whilst not be taken word for word, is a series of lectures (naggings?) from Uncle Watchman Nee about being a hardworking worker in God’s Kingdom. It is funny but sometimes I want to do a facepalm, or bang the table when I read how extreme he can be in working super duper hard to extend God’s Kingdom. I don’t take him literally, but I am always inspired by how much he is willing to lay his life down and how he disciplines himself. Yes, this book teaches me to be moderate, not to be indulgent, to be selfless and to lay myself down for my friends. It is from this book that I have viewed Watchman Nee as a very necessary and naggy Uncle.

5. Remain Hidden by Susan Tang. (fresh graduate)
Life changing, this book has done much to tone down my fieriness to a disposition of listening, waiting and leaning upon the Lord whilst laying down my plans, my skills, my zealous-ness to be replaced by Obedience.

6. Pursuing Peace by Joyce Meyer. (mid-20’s)
Another book which has done so much in settling my opinionated and frank self, putting in place a higher priority of peace. This has opened forth a channel in my life for tact, wisdom, quietness, reservedness and restrain in the words I say, and the intentions in my heart. It is more important for peace with others than to be right. It is more important for peace than to achieve my goals.

7. Book of Martyrs by John Foxe. (late 20’s)
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is the second book after Imitation and Remain Hidden which has thrown me off course towards (hopefully) a right direction. With this book, I questioned my Christian walk. It challenged my comfort zone, my ambitions, my desires and my motives. I did a few big things after reading this book, including leaving a ministry that I was very comfortably attached to.

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