What makes you so different?
1 Peter 2:9
What makes you a Christian? According to the helpful results of a very quick Google search and I quote: “…in 2010 Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.” That’s a lot of numbers. This is more a thought than a challenge, do you think our world reflects that there are 2 billion Christians – nearly 1 in every 3 people – on the face of the earth?
I remember having a conversation with a friend, about faith. I was trying to explain the difference between conveniently carrying the label of being a “Christian” and striving to live as a born again Christian. I was very impressed by my well learned “christianese” answers to her questions, but then she was also well versed on these answers too. When I was satisfied that I had repeated everything I had heard others describe the Christian walk as, she asked me “what does it mean to be born again”. I paused for a second, the conversation doesn’t usually go like this – people usually go away and think over the first set of responses. But I guess like Nicodemus when speaking to Jesus about the same subject, many of us have tried “religion” and it has failed us. No sound bites came to mind, so I would have to depend on the Holy Spirit and my own personal experience.
“Being born again means that Christ has become your source, for everything”
What followed was silence from my friend, and also silence from me, as I realised, I couldn’t put it any simpler than that. I felt challenged by the words that escaped my mouth. Undoubtedly becoming born again is both a spiritual and personal process and experience. But this transformation should also be visible in our physical lives. Being born again we no longer survive on our own competence or capabilities – our own plans, judgments and agenda. We become a blank canvas, we release every tension in our will (that tug n pull of ‘self’ that exists within all of us), so we can be shaped, moulded and transformed into His divine will and purpose. We become dependant children of God.
Sadly there is obvious contention between what God desires for us and what the world tells us to desire. Adam and Eve lived an abundant life in Eden, heaven on earth – and yet the one thing they were told was off limits overshadowed everything God had freely given them. From the beginning man has desired autonomy, but God has always called us to dependency.
Genesis 3:5 KJV
In the same way that we want our spouses, family and friends to choose to love us, not by obligation. God wanted us to choose Him, and still wants us to choose Him. As a Christian what is your greatest concern, discovering and accomplishing God’s will and plan for your life, or fulfilling your greatest desires and ambitions and thanking God when you do? Is God the reason or the enabler? I’ll say it again, is God your “reason” or your “enabler”?
As a child of God He should be both, but sometimes I realise He’s not the reason really, but a means to an end – the end being my gratification, my satisfaction. You may be on the right track in terms of your goals, but if you want them more than you want to please God then you’re still on the wrong track. The truth is that when you fulfil your desires and reach your finish line, you’ll find something else to desire and that haunting feeling of discontent will return – in truth it never left. Because like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, who believed eating from the tree of knowledge would satisfy their curious hunger;
our pursuit for human satisfaction will always lead to the greatest level of discontentment.
So what am I really saying? I’m asking us to reflect over the months of this year or the last few years – has it been “my agenda” or “God’s”? It’s sort of like when you attend a party with someone, or enter a busy environment like a market place and you have someone following behind you. Until you look back and realise they took a detour somewhere along the journey. I think it’s very easy to do, even as a born again Christian.
Finding our way back
What makes you so different? What makes us different to everyone else appearing to run the same race of life? For some of us, our dreams and aspirations don’t seem all that different to those who are not Christians. That isn’t a bad thing – but who is the source of your vision? Who is sustaining your vision? Who is sustaining you? Remember my very simple explanation to a friend …Christ has become your source, for everything.
John 6:35 KJV
It can only be through Him, by Him and because of Him. I pray that God will give us the grace to return to His will, forego our temporal “goals”, fading ambitions and vain motivations – for His ever-lasting prize of life eternal in Jesus name.
Peace and Love
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Peace is so scarce in this world – it can only offer to its inhabitants temporal and artificial peace. The kind of peace that many seek in relationships, experience artificially through drug abuse, some are so overwhelmed by the struggle to find peace in this world that they decide to take their own lives, whether it be intentionally by suicide or more subtly by various forms of addiction and substance abuse.
It’s unlikely that “world peace” as the pageant girls often add to the end of their speeches will ever be achieved by mankind, especially when most individuals have yet to discover peace: not within themselves, but within Christ. He is the Prince of Peace. Any hope of having peace in this life, can only be realised through Christ.
There are many thought-provoking quotes, which talk about man’s pursuit for happiness, but in actuality, man’s spirit does not desire happiness, man’s spirit desires peace. If you have peace, you will be happy – sometimes, but being happy doesn’t mean you have peace and having peace doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time.
Even if you accomplish every aspiration, you’re rich, famous, look the way you want, have everyone in the world following you on twitter, all of the above, even when you think – I’m happy – your heart gives that off beat that lets you know your spirit is not, because you don’t have peace.
Christ for instance, endured scrutiny, constant criticism, many times crowds gathered with the intention to stone him and he saw his own crucifixion ahead of him, he wasn’t always happy, yet in Christ there was peace, because he knew there was something greater to look forward to. Beyond this temporal world is – everlasting love, peace and joy in heaven.
Its kinda like when you watch a film, and the hero is hurt and you think 😮 will he make it, but deep down you’re not worried because you know, the hero will not and cannot die. Of course 21st century cinema brought much pessimism and many hero-less films into existence. But life with Christ cannot end with a cliffhanger.
If as a Christian you struggle to keep your peace at times, have faith in the God you serve, the God whom if you call, he will answer. Always remind yourself that you are under the covering of the Prince of peace. I leave you with this:
These things I have spoken unto you that ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
May Christ’s peace be with you x
Post foundation scriptures John 11 – 12, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 4:15 and Psalm 145:18 – 19
I thank God for this day, the 02/11/2012, because I can say with all sincerity that I only just came to realise that I am truly a born again Christian. Yes I often said it, and I knew what it meant to be a born again Christian, sort of, but never have I believed it wholeheartedly as I do today and I pray that henceforth, this revelation and understanding will never leave my mind and spirit and others’ who come to know it in Jesus name. amen.
So I came across this video on the P4CM website and it moved me immensely into writing this blog post, just so the message would be able to reach more people and change more lives. The minister, I believe his name is Chris Davis, dissected the word of God and unpicked it into a massive revelation, and I thank God for doing this through him. His sermon was about the death and resurrection of Lazarus by Christ’s command John chapter 11 and 12– I won’t go into much detail about this because he explains it more than efficiently. But basically Jesus rose Lazarus from the death and people came from all over to witness the miracle. And I urge everyone who reads this post to click on one of the multiple links to a recording of the sermon.
Our stories are so severe, so filthy and soaked in sin, so fleshy and disgraceful, bringing shame upon who we were, to the point that we can say we were dead, walking corpses. Our sin had killed us, flesh, mind, spirit – the sin we relished in committing, we pursued, we loved to portray before others, now we hate and fight against because then we were dead, and we now live through the merciful grace of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. We are therefore living testimonies of Christ’s grace. Every breath that we take is a testimony of God’s mercy and love and how Christ made it possible for the dead to rise and to be born again.
That is why he told us to rejoice in our weaknesses,
‘He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (WEB)
because they glorify God and anger the devil. He has promised not to leave us in our time of need Psalms 145:18 – 19, so every trial, every obstacle is just an opportunity for God to show his glory through our deliverance. That is not to say that we should sin carelessly, and dwell in our wickedness, but to know that whenever the devil is tempting us, the glory of God is near, and we have been given the strength to overcome through Christ Jesus . If sin is hidden and not confronted it glorifies the devil, but once the light is shed upon it and it is revealed, it glorifies God because it will not, should not remain in the state it was, thus depicting God’s transforming power in our lives.
Think about it like this; Wow Damilola has a blog about Christian dating, Who which Damilola? The one that slept with him, him and him? The one that used to drink like a fish and still manage to stand up relatively straight, the one that you’d find on the dance floor at every rave, She is writing a blog about Christian dating? I don’t believe you. I have to see this for myself…
So as said in the sermon I was listening to on P4CM.com titled ‘unbelievable work of Christ‘ – “are people coming to meet Jesus because of the work he’s done and [is] doing in your life, and if you never said another single word does your life speak about what Jesus has done to you and in you?” This is my new approach to life, to glorify God in my living everyday, even at the expense of my pride and lustful desires. “Our focus should not be on being pietist, dutiful, but rather a demonstration, a work of Jesus’ transforming power and glory.” I’d spent so much time being disgusted with myself, feeling ashamed and trapped in desperation and self-pity, that I didn’t even realise when God had delivered me out of the devil’s hands. We will always be sinners, this I am still coming to terms with, but where I was and where I am even today, still far from where I will be, is a manifestation of God’s grace and his love.
‘For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’ Hebrew 4:15 – 16 (NCV)
I truly believe, not necessarily because of this blog or the fact that I am more conscious of what is right and what is wrong, but because of where I’ve come from, my weaknesses, I know I am now being born again through Christ’ salvation. It frightens me to now know that God thought my life valuable enough to include himself in it and save me from death, I feel like I owe him so much and how better to show this than by living a life which makes others aware of the free gift of salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection. “I’m a walking biblical miracle” – therefore continue to be a walking testimony, a walking manifestation of Jesus Christ’s saving grace. All that is not glorifying God, needs to be reborn, reformed, renewed by Christ’s blood.
And can I just mention that we really need to enjoy our time as single Christians, because I know if I was in a relationship right now, one this blog would not exist and two, I wouldn’t be so interested in the word of God – too busy chasing ‘my man’. So I just want to thank God for my singleness, though I may get lonely at times, it’s really saving my life and changing my perspective on life. Remember when life isn’t necessarily bad, but just not what you want despite your prayers, trust God, he has a plan. amen.