Living by faith is living in miracles. Find out how and why.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Freedom of Gratitude



Reconnect your soul or spirit to gratitude. If you are grateful to the Creator for what you have, you may look at the behavior of another individual with more tolerance, or even with a totally different perspective.


Blessings in life, such as the gift of life, are generally overlooked or even taken for granted. For example, if someone takes advantage of you, do not become angry immediately; instead, be grateful that you are the victim instead of being the person who victimizes others.


Gratitude enables you to develop the mindset for a positive outlook toward your soul. Smile more often. Keep complaints about people, things, and life in general only to yourself—unless voicing them will help bring about positive changes in others or in society.


Gratitude helps you see the good in others, letting you give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to remember that all people are created in the image of God. Focus on the individual as a person, rather than on the behavior or belief of that individual, which may not be appealing or pleasing to you.


Always be grateful that you have been given the opportunity to become either a teacher or a student in whatever circumstance you may find yourself in, and turn it into a miracle of life.


An illustration


At the end of 2007, John Kralik, an attorney who owned a law firm, experienced debts and disasters in both his life and career.


One day, after a walk in the mountains, Kralik became enlightened: as his 2008 New Year’s resolution, he decided to write a thank-you note a day for the rest of the year to everyone he knew.


Kralik’s  2008 “gratitude project”  had changed  his life completely. Instead of his feeling of discontent regarding his lack, and his envy of those who had what he did not have, he had learned to be grateful for his law firm, his practice, his friends, and his family, despite the many disasters and drawbacks he had previously experienced. Kralik’s gratitude began to change every aspect of his life. His relationships with his family, his friends, and his staff improved significantly; his law firm avoided bankruptcy, and turned around completely.


Gratitude is something that you get more only by giving it away more. Expression of gratitude generates happiness that overcomes the unhappy feelings of lack.


Are you grateful for what you have, and not getting what you rightly deserve?

You have your "freedom" to choose your gratitude instead of your complaint of lack.


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage"  if you follow the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper in your everyday choices and decisions.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, February 25, 2024

The TAO of Living Longer



The word “TAO” in Chinese originally meant “road.” Later, it came to mean “way” and hence “The Way.” The TAO is “The Way” of looking at the world with a certain attitude of mind, which is totally different from that of the West, and that is why it is so intriguing and fascinating, as evidenced by the fact that Tao Te Ching, the book of the TAO by Lao Tzu, is one of the most translated books in the world. The wisdom of the TAO has to be self-intuited, rather than explained in words.


Given that the TAO has to be self-intuited, the TAO is uniquely personal and subjective: what is the TAO to you may not be the TAO to others; just as the saying goes, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.”


You need the TAO to provide you with some self-awakening inspiration for your self-reflection and self-discovery on the rest of your life journey; without that self-intuition, you may continue to exist for other people, and not for yourself. Now is the time to start putting yourself on the right path with the right mindset toward awakening your TAO of living longer.


It is your thinking mind that may make you live longer. Continue and go through the rest of your life journey with self-awakening to the realities of your true self, of others around you, and of the world you are living in. Look at anything and everything through the lens of the TAO.


According to the TAO, the end of anything is always the beginning of something else; the material world you are living in is forever filled with these cycles of beginnings and endings. Get the profound wisdom to intuit these cycles of balance and harmony so that you may continue the rest of your life journey and live as if everything is a miracle.

The Tao of Living Longer

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" to live longer. Yes, you have your freedom of choices and decisions to live to 100 and beyond

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Saturday, February 24, 2024

Dealing with Grief


1) Denial

In the first of the five stages of grief, we deny that our loved ones are gone. Soon after the death of our friend, our grieving takes the form of refusing to believe that our friend is actually dead. We use denial as a defense mechanism, defending ourselves from the change that death and bereavement represents. In the first of the stages of grief, we try to escape the reality of our friend’s death. This is the mind's way of shielding us from the other painful emotions associated with grief. 

2) Anger

In this stage, we are filled with anger over the death of our loved ones. Part of the steps of grief is searching for the source of our grief. We look for a cause to this tragedy, and we look for who or what is to blame. All of the books on grief and grieving cannot answer the nagging question: “Why me?” We cope with grief by blaming ourselves or others for the loss of our friend.

3) Bargaining

In the third of the grief stages, we try to bargain with God or with a higher power about reversing what has happened to us. We beg God (or fate) for second chances, using "What if?" and "If only" sort of pleas. Perhaps if I choose to devote my life to charitable causes, God will somehow undo the death of my loved one. The steps of grief have a way of driving people to ask the big questions in life; that happens during the bargaining stage of grieving. And that's where comes in: we hope to provide a safe place as you answer the difficult questions that your grief raises. Find out more below.

4) Depression

In this step, we feel the tremendous weight of our loved one’s death. We continue our bereavement by sinking into depression and the realization that our friend is really gone. During the fourth of the stages in grief, sadness, regret, fear, and sorrow well up in us. This stage is the darkest of the five stages of grief.

5) Acceptance

In this step, we finally begin to come to terms with the death of our friend. At the last of the stages of grief, we become aware that it’s going to be OK, that we will survive the loss of our loved one. In this phase of grieving, comfort sets in, and we realize that life will go on.

Finally, it’s important to note that a mourner may go through these stages in a different order, return to a given stage, and stay in a stage for a long time. These grief stages are a guide—not a rule. They encapsulate most of the broad emotions that a person goes through after a loss. 

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage"  if you follow the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper in dealing with your everyday challenges and problems.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 23, 2024

Injustice and Spiritual Wisdom



We are living in a world in which injustice and vengeance are rampant. Many of us are in the midst of this storm of unfairness that causes our unhappiness and even makes us choose the wrong choices and decisions, resulting in our wrongdoings.


A Case in Point


In 1984, Archbishop Valerian Trifa was deported from the United States after being accused a Nazi supporter, who not only had incited attacks on Jews, but also was responsible for executing many Jews in World War II.


After World War II, the Nazi supporter came to the United States as a refugee immigrant. He assumed the name of Valerian Trifa, and was ordained as a priest of the Rumanian church soon after his arrival in the United States. He rose quickly to the rank of bishop and archbishop, and lived in comfort in a 25-room farmhouse on a 200-acre estate maintained by his church.


Later on, a dentist, who was a Nazi survivor, recognized the Archbishop as the Nazi supporter. The case against him was then pursued for more than a decade by survivors of the Nazi years, Jewish organizations, journalists, and the Justice Department of the United States. Their efforts helped focus public attention on Nazi war criminals who were living in the United States.


At first, the Archbishop vehemently denied his former identity, despite some handwriting experts confirming that his handwriting was identical with that in some of the execution orders he had carried out while he was a Nazi supporter. As luck would have it, with the advancement of forensic science, some experts could incredibly still retrieve some DNA from those execution orders. That was his undoing, and his final judgment.


The Archbishop was ultimately ordered to leave the United States in 1982, but spent two years trying to find a country that would give him refuge. Portugal admitted him in 1984, and he finally settled in Estoril, where he died at the age of 72 of a heart attack.


Spiritual Wisdom


Do not avenge yourself; instead, leave it to the wrath of God, which is a repayment to man for something man has done wrong. Do not carry with you anger, bitterness, resentment, and revenge—they only make you unhappy.


Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

(Psalm 37: 1-4)

Bottom line: Be happy and not depressed because there is so much injustice around.


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage"  if you follow the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper in your everyday choices and decisions.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Attachments and Depression



Attachment is no more than a safety blanket to overcome fear—fear of change and of the unknown from that change. To cope with that fear, all attachments become distractions.


We are living in a world with many problems that confront us in our everyday life, and many of these are not only unavoidable but also insoluble. To overcome these daily challenges, many of us just turn to attachment as a means of distracting ourselves from facing our problems head on, or adapting and changing ourselves in an ever-changing environment. All of our struggles in life, from anxiety to frustrations, from anger to sadness, from grief to worry—they all stem from the same thing: our attachment to how we want things to be, rather than relaxing into accepting and embracing whatever that might happen after we have put forth our best effort.


Attachment is the source of human depression. No attachment, no depression!


Career attachments


Your career may span over decades, involving many ups and downs, such as promotion and unemployment, changes of career and pursuits of higher qualifications, among others. They may have become your problematic attachments.


Money and wealth attachments


Money plays a major role in life. You need money for almost everything in life. Attachment to money and the riches of the material world is often a result of an inflated ego-self. You may want to keep up with the Joneses—driving a more expensive car than your neighbors and friends.


Relationship attachments


Living has to do with people, involving agreements and disagreements, often resulting in mixed emotional feelings of joy and sorrow, contentment and regret, among others, and they become attachments to the ego-self as memories that you may refuse to let go of—forgetting and forgiving, for example, are hurdles often difficult to overcome.


Success and failure attachments


Success in life often becomes an attachment in the form of expectation that it will continue, bringing more success. Failure, on the other hand, may generate disappointment and regret—an emotional attachment often difficult to let go of. 


Adversity and prosperity attachments


In the course of human life, loss and bereavement are as inevitable as death. Loss can be physical, material, and even spiritual, such as loss of hope and purpose. You may want to attach to the good old days, and refuse to let go of the current adversity. Adversity and prosperity attachments stem from the ego-self.


Time attachments


Time is a leveler of mankind: we all have only 24 hours a day, no more and no less, although the lifespan of each individual varies. Attachment to time is the reluctance to let go of time passing away, as well as the vain attempt to fully utilize every moment of time, leading to a compulsive mind, such as texting while driving.  


Sometimes we are so busy in the outside world that we seldom have an opportunity to look inside of ourselves, to understand who we really are and what really makes us happy—probably not the material things around us.


Attachments are the underlying causes of depression, a mental disorder affecting millions of people worldwide.


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions that give you your attachments.


Stephen Lau     

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Happiness Personality


Holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul has much to do with happiness, which has its origin from personality development over the years.

Sometimes we wonder why some people are always happy while others are always unhappy. Just as Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author, said in the beginning of his novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are alike; unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways.”

Indeed, your happiness has much to do with your personality development over your life. In other words, your own life experiences and your perceptions of those experiences not only define and shape your personality but also are uniquely yours. Therefore, it is impossible to say why some people are happy, and why others are unhappy.

Mental happiness and body wellness are interrelated. If you are happy, your body will even heal faster. It’s just that simple.

But happiness is not easy to come by, especially when your mind is not prepared to receive it. The mind needs wisdom to create happiness thoughts to stimulate the brain cells to produce chemicals that make one happy. Genuine human happiness comes from human thoughts that are the components of human personality. Therefore, understanding personality development may throw some light on why you are happy or unhappy.

But understanding personality development may throw some light on why you are happy or unhappy most of the time.

According to the famous psychologist Erik Erikson, your personality has evolved through several decades of changes and experiences, resulting in who and what you have now become. Therefore, profound human wisdom is to understand how those changes in your life have occurred and shaped your personality, and how adapting yourself to those changes now may still benefit you in the long run. According to Erik Erikson, there are eight life stages. through which we may have gone through to become who and what we are right now. These eight psychosocial development stages are as follows:

Trust and Mistrust

In this first stage, from birth to age one, we may experience and develop trust or mistrust that affects how we feel about the benevolence of the world around us.

Do you always have low trust or mistrust in others?

Independence and Doubt

In the toddler stage, we begin to develop our self-trust,  which leads to independence. With self-trust, we begin to learn how to walk. In this stage, however, we may also develop self-doubt that leads to shame later in life. This may be the underlying cause of failing to take risks in later life, missing some golden opportunities to improve our lives, and thus making us feel unhappy and unfulfilled.

Are you always self-confident?

Creativity and Guilt

In preschool years, we begin to exercise our minds to acquire initiative and express creativity. The capability to express freely our initiative and creativity helps us develop the playful and positive side of our nature. Under restraint, on the other hand, we may develop guilt, lack of self-confidence, and inability to get close to others.

Are you always creative and imaginative?

Industry and Inferiority

From age five to eleven, we experience fulfillment in accomplishment or disappointment in failure. This is often a result of acquiring our society’s work ethics. We begin to believe in our abilities and feel motivated to work hard. On the other hand, if we become lazy, we develop poor work habits that may adversely affect our careers later in life.

Are you always puttering from one job to another, always procrastinating and never meeting deadlines?

Identity and Diffusion

In adolescent, we begin to explore ourselves, finding out who we are and what we want out of life. We may channel our energy into a field we love, and derive pleasure from seeing what we have accomplished. This growth in our sense of self determines whether or not we have an “identity crisis.”

Are you always in search for a purpose in life?

Intimacy and Withdrawal

In early adulthood, we develop intimacy, which is a quality of an individual, and not the couple. The ability to develop and maintain a long-term relationship is an asset. However, many of us may experience difficulty in achieving closeness with others, or even maintaining a long-lasting relationship, resulting in inner loneliness that causes us to doubt even our own remarkable accomplishments in life.

Is your life worthwhile when it comes to relationships?

Compassion and Selfishness

In middle age, we become more connected to future generations, as evidenced by being parents, mentors, and supervisors. However, we may also become self-focusing, alienating ourselves from the next generation, and thus creating the “generation gap.”

Do you spend much time focusing on your own needs, instead of those of others?

Ego and Despair

In old age, by letting go of the ego, we accept both our successes and failures, and thus have a healthy perspective on life. However, we may also look back at our own past experiences and the world in general with disdain and regret, and thus we become despaired and unhappy.

Do you think you already have a fulfilled life?

If you wish to be a happier individual, learn to let go of all your attachments, which are the sources of human unhappiness. Human wisdom may not be adequate to help you let go of your attachments in the physical world; you also need spiritual wisdom With the spiritual wisdom from the Bible, you may be able to overcome the reluctance to let go of your attachments. Let go to let God in order to live your life 


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions that give you your happiness personality.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Payback Anger

     In Houston, Texas, a man using his gun robbed diners in a taqueria restaurant. The robber was on the verge of leaving that restaurant when he was shot 9 times by a vigilante diner, who then helped diners recover their money robbed at that Houston taqueria restaurant before disappearing.

     The police later discovered that the suspect’s weapon was only a “plastic gun.” Texas police began searching for that vigilante diner, with that “you-take-my-cash-I-take-your-life” mindset out of anger.

      Anger is more than a feeling; it’s a functional emotion. Its objective is to stimulate your mental awareness and direct your physical attention to something important going on in your own psychological world. Emotions are informants. Positively experienced emotions bring gratitude in appreciation, joy in fulfillment, and pride in accomplishment. Negatively experienced emotions bring anger, anxiety, danger, fear, frustration, worry, and even violence.

     Anger is about threats and violations to your wellbeing. So, being able to feel anger and use anger to safeguard your own personal wellbeing is important. People who can’t get angry often end up accepting aggressions and violations of their wellbeing. Many victims of family abuse simply adjust to verbal threat or even physical violence and accept mistreatment as an unhappy fact of life. They learn to deny its emotional impact, to rationalize its harm, and even to avoid upsetting the abuser. Adults, who’ve learned these “survival” skills as children, often end up marrying into abusive relationships not because they want to, but because they unconsciously feel the abuse comfortably familiar and even normal.

    Angry No More: A new book on how to control and eradicate your anger.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Why "Prayers Not Answered"?

The Meaning of “Prayers Not Answered”

Prayers not answered” simply means “expectations not fulfilled.”

But what’re your “expectations”? And where do they come from?

You experience your own life experiences through your five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling) as a result of the choices of your actions, inactions, and reactions in your everyday life.

Your sensations often become your own perceptions, which then form your own assumptions and predictions; for example, a good education will lead to a successful career, and bring about a happy relationship.

All your “expectations” are only the personal and the subjective perceptions of your mind. But your “expectations” are often unreal and even self-delusive.

Even what you think you see with your own eyes may not necessarily be the reality.

To illustrate, in 1997, Richard Alexander from Indiana was convicted as a serial rapist, because one of the victims and her fiancé insisted that he was the perpetrator based on what the victim and her fiancé claimed that “they saw with their own eyes.”

But the convicted man was later exonerated and subsequently released in 2001, based on the new DNA science and other forensic evidence. Experts explained that a traumatic emotional experience, such as a rape, could “distort” the perception of an individual. That explains why the woman and her fiancé “swore” that Richard Alexander was the rapist, but evidently he wasn’t.

To illustrate “unreal expectations”: Helen Keller, celebrated author, political activist, and philanthropist, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree; she became deaf and blind at an early age of less than two.

Imagine you were Helen’s parents: would you have “darkened expectations” of the future of Helen when she suddenly became deaf and blind?

Another illustration of “unreal expectations”: Shon Robert Hopwood, a young American convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to prison, became well-known as a jailhouse lawyer. While serving time in prison, Shon started spending time in the law library, became a jailhouse lawyer for the inmates, and ultimately a very accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he left prison in 2009. Then, he became the professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

If you were the parents of Shon, would your own expectations of your son have fallen short after his conviction of 12 years of imprisonment?

The truth of the matter

Your perceptionswhether true or untruebecome your realities, and are then stored in your subconscious mind as your memories.

Whenever you want to make a choice or decision, it’s your subconscious mind that provides your conscious mind with your many attitudes, beliefs, and predictions—all based on your memories of your past experiences. Your thinking mind then begins to process and project them into the future as your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Points to Remember

Perceptions may easily become distorted and unreal. So, don’t let your own perceptions become your assumptive predictions.

Expectations are in the future, and their timeline is indefinite. So, don’t jump to any conclusion yet.

The past was gone; the future is yet to come; only the present is real. So, don’t use the past to predict the future as “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Click here to get Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered.

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have "freedom" and not "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau

Control and Out of Control



Letting go is difficult because there is one thing that most of us have overlooked: the wisdom of letting go to let God.

Life is all about living—it comes with some hard work, simple integrity, and, above all, the wisdom in living. If life is all about living—not just about making and spending money—then it is not about regrets and dreams.

Regrets look back at the past; dreams look forward to the future. Unfortunately, both are not within our control. If the value of money is solely based on accumulation of wealth, or the acquisition of material things, then living indeed becomes a labyrinth of regrets and dreams—regrets over the wrong investment decisions in the past, and dreams of the great fortune yet to come in the future.

A life journey is forever paved with many challenges and losses, many of which are beyond human control because they are often sudden and unpredictable.

Physical loss, including loss of vision and mobility, both of which may affect the quality of life with respect to independent living, may make living beyond control.

Material loss may include loss of property from natural disaster, such as flooding, tornado, and wildfire, loss of place and space, such as moving from a house to an apartment or to a nursing home. Downsizing also means the loss or forced disposal of treasured possessions that many are reluctant to let go of.

Memory loss may result in a severe loss of organizational ability and the ability to plan and function, resulting in loss of independence, which is a major setback for the elderly.

Loss of loved ones due to accidents or natural causes are devastating. Spousal loss is often the most devastating in that the oneness in marriage is forever broken, resulting in isolation and loneliness.

Losses that come in many different forms often become sources of unhappiness, but losses are no more than life challenges that are beyond human control.

But living, to many, is about controlling self and others; more specifically, purposely controlling the destiny of self, as well as directly or indirectly controlling the destinies of others around. The truth of the matter is that we are only humans, and we cannot control what is controlled by God. Being finite, with only limited intelligence, we are limited in our capability to control what is beyond human control. God, who is infinite, is in absolute control of everything. Our constant desire to control is displeasing to God—an expression of our lack of trust, and our disobedience.

Humans are always given a choice: continuing to control one’s destiny or letting go to let God control. 

God has given each one of us a unique life and destiny that only we can complete it.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139: 16)

However, the completion of that life and destiny in our life journey is according to His way and time, and not according to ours. In other words, it is all about what He wants for us, and not what we want for ourselves.



FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions to control or let go your control.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 19, 2024

Abundance and Emptiness


We all want abundance, not emptiness. We all desire abundance in education, family, relationships, profession, and wealth; nobody wants emptiness—one thing nobody wants in life. Abundance often becomes attachments in our lives. Ironically enough, we need emptiness to attain the ultimate truths of life and living, which is wisdom in living.

To attain this wisdom, we need emptiness. First of all, we need an empty mind with reverse thinking to think differently, and not according to conventional wisdom. Then, we need to become empty consciously, which is letting go of all attachments. Attachments are emotional distractions of the mind that prevent clarity of thinking, without which there is no access to the ultimate truths of life and living. Knowing these ultimate truths enables you to live as if everything is a miracle.

Before we can receive, we must let go first. Letting go of all attachments to the material world is the first step we must take. It is more blessed to give than to receive. But many of us don't believe in that: instead, we think we will give out or let go after we have received. Letting go is difficult because it requires the profound human wisdom of Lao Tzu.

First and foremost, you need wisdom to "rethink" your mind, which may not be telling you the whole truth about your thoughts and life experiences; you need wisdom to "renew" your body, which lives in a toxic physical environment; you need spiritual wisdom to "reconnect" your soul, which is the essence of your spirituality. Most importantly, you need wisdom to "realign" your whole being because the body, the mind, and the soul are all interconnected and interdependent on one another for your well-being to live your life as if everything is a miracle. Your mind is the roadmap, and your soul is the compass; without them, your body is going nowhere, and you will live your life as if nothing is a miracle.

Remember, emptiness leads to enlightenment. If spiritual wisdom must enter you and manifest itself within you, it will need some empty space. With enlightenment, you will become a better and happier you. With enlightenment, you will live a stress-free life. Learn how to overcome your stress by letting go your ego-self.

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions. So, choose your abundance or your emptiness?

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

The TAO of a Good Marriage

The TAO of a Good Marriage

The rate of divorce is skyrocketing in the United States, and the U.S. Census estimates about half of marriages end in divorce.  According to relationship experts, the number of long-term relationships heading towards separation is now becoming more frequent with a longer life span and a growing acceptability of divorce by society. What some experts are saying is that people divorce because they have a longer lifespan, and that divorce is no longer a social taboo.

The following is taken from my book THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING; it explains the pivotal role of spiritual wisdom in the success and survival of a marriage:

Marital relationships are complex and difficult.  due to the complexity and difficulty of interpersonal relationships.

To illustrate, when you take your marriage vows, you solemnly promise to love and care for your spouse “for better or for worse.” But that is a tall order in a marriage. Your marriage partner owes you a debt (or so you think!) if he or she falls short of your expectations. As a result, you become angry and resentful. Without God’s saving grace, you only see yourself as unforgiven and unacceptable to God; in turn, you become unforgiving and unaccepting towards your spouse. The outcome may be a divorce or, at best, an unhappy marriage.

Reflective Thought
Relationships are difficult and unpredictable: many prefer to wet their feet first before they jump into a marriage.

Case in Point

According to a recent study by the University of Denver, about 70 percent of couples co-habit before getting married.

Nowadays, many are afraid of getting married because they do not have sufficient faith either in themselves or in God.

Faith in marriage and living in faith hold the key to a successful marriage.

Not Knowing Self

Self-esteem is an important factor in a healthy love relationship. You must believe that you are “good enough” for your partner. True self-esteem stems from who you are, and not from what you do. If self-esteem were based on success, then many would indeed have low self-esteem because they would not be able to overcome the many hurdles of failures in their lives.

From the Christian point of view, self-esteem comes from the fact that you are made in the image of God.

“and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the one Who created him.” Colossians 3:10

Therefore, God loves you, and you are as good as you can be.

From the TAO's point of view,  self-esteem means loving yourself completely for who you are, irrespective of what you like or dislike about yourself—or else you cannot love another person wholeheartedly. According to TAO wisdom, if you cannot accept something unpleasant or incomplete in yourself, you cannot accept something that you think is unpleasant or incomplete in another person. It is just that simple! If you reject that person, you are in fact rejecting a part of yourself that you do not like. In a love relationship, you often begin to “mask” what you do not like about yourself, hiding it from the person you love. You are afraid of opening yourself completely, and accepting yourself just as who you really are. If you don't take off that “mask” of yours, you will only make that love relationship difficult to last.

Lack of self-esteem leads to fear of rejection—fear that the love relationship may not last. Subconsciously, you “anticipate” the inevitable rejection, picking fights and testing the other person constantly in fits of anger and jealousy, even though deep down you want the love relationship to last. Ironically enough, it may eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Reflective Thought

True love always risks rejection.

Case in Point

When God created men, He hoped for a loving relationship. However, love is only real if it is unconditional and freely offered. Accordingly, God made human beings capable of both loving and choosing. Living in faith, you can then love and choose in spite of your innate fear of rejection. 

Not Trusting in Spiritual Wisdom

Any relationship—whether it is the relationship with your family, with your co-workers, or just anyone you just met—is not easy, because it involves people. However, through the spiritual wisdom of grace, all things are possible. Jesus said: “With people, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Marriage, for example, is not a short-term option: it is for life. Nowadays, many people are afraid to get married. Trusting in spiritual wisdom means taking the first step, just as Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” If you really love someone, take that first step to get married, and put your trust in spiritual wisdom to guide you along the way.

But understanding the spiritual wisdom, without work, is not enough. You need to embrace it and put it into practice.

“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:24

Living in faith is a tall order because you need work, which is marriage commitment. Marriage is a contract, requiring you to honor it “for better or for worse,” which is the commitment in a happy marriage.

Marriage commitment means marriage life is never plain sailing: there will be storms along the voyage.

“And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” Mark 4:39-40

Marriage commitment means you listen to God's voices for answers to your marriage problems. God always wants to talk to you.

“My sheep hears my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

If you are His sheep, He will point the way ahead of you.

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Marriage commitment means you humbly surrender yourself to God. You acknowledge your own weaknesses and problems in your marriage; instead of going your own willful way to deal with them, you choose the spiritual wisdom that is innate in each and every one of us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

When you have humbly surrendered yourself, God will speak, and you will hear His voice—which is the spiritual wisdom. You will not hear your own voice, or that of the devil.
Marriage commitment means you make yourself and your partner spiritual through worship, prayer, the Word of God, and service to others in His name. Above all, you make yourself open to forgiveness, and cherish togetherness through acceptance and respect for each other.

So, take the leap of faith to marry someone who is prepared to walk with you in this journey of spiritual wisdom. Remember, God gives each of us the capability to love and to choose. Your choice should not be based on physical appearance: all that glitters is not gold.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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