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Dear COA Family,

One of the first lessons that we had to teach our children when they started school in Primary One
was how to buy food at the canteen.

My son Isaac later shared with me what he found different and interesting about his experience —
he had to exchange money for the food from his desired stall. If he did not have enough money, he would
have to borrow money from the General Office (since borrowing money from friends was not allowed). 
It was unlike at home where he could snack on any of the food available any time he wished. No food 
could be obtained for free.

It works the same way for all of us as well in physical and spiritual matters.

Purchasing something requires a cost from us. We have to exchange money for the product we
desire. It does not come free of charge to us. And to obtain money, we would have to engage in
hard work in the first place.

And in matters concerning our faith, after our Lord Jesus had told the Laodicean Church of their true
condition, this was his prescription for how to recover from their malaise:

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to
wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see

Revelation 3:18.

God’s healing for us in such a situation does not come to us without cost on our part.

Yes, salvation comes from God for us and anyone who believes in Jesus for free; yet growth in faith,
maturity, righteousness and insight requires us to pay a price. It is the price of obedience and

Just like the attainment of health requires us to exercise regularly and watch our diet, the attainment
of spiritual health requires us “to work our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). We
need to walk in the strength, leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit daily to put to death the deeds
of our sinful nature and to live for God’s purposes and kingdom. There is no short cut.

In this season of Advent, as we prepare our hearts to meet with Christ at his coming, what is that
something that the Lord is convincing you to give up in exchange for His eternal blessing? He calls us
to buy from Him – that is the only way we can receive the cure.

Revd Ian