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
** MERRY CHRISTMAS **
God has shut up everything of Himself within His Son, and it is not possible now to know or have anything of God outside of the Lord Jesus, His Son. God has made this a settled thing; it is final , it is conclusive. – T. Austin Sparks, The School Of Christ, The inner working of the Holy Spirit
I know how easy it can be to forget to pray or sometimes it can be more challenging than usual, especially in difficult situations.
The enemy loves to discourage us, when we need God the most, he’s set up a trap for us in our day and the only thing that can ruin his plan is “in Jesus name”, those three words. So we wake up tired, irritable, frustrated, upset, lost for words, everything annoys us. We wanna worship, but we can’t, we wanna pray, but we’re distracted.
So this merry Christmas afternoon, even if its one prayer, one utterance, seal it in Jesus name and believe and see God’s faithfulness manifest.
Have a happy Christmas, rejoice! Today certifies our victory over death and over the enemy. So get your victory dance on and make the effort to be cheerful today.
We have won in Jesus name amen
Peace and Love x
‘And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.’ Luke 24:53 (KJV)
‘Stop crying: don’t let your eyes fill with tears. You will be rewarded for your work!’ Amen Jeremiah 31:16 (NCV)
Whilst listening to Premier Radio, I fell asleep after a predominantly lazy day in doors. I woke up to a sermon about truly being a child of God, delivered through Pastor Brian Broderson, the sermon really increased my understanding of Christianity as a lifestyle and not simply another religion, I was fortunate enough to have been a listener. The sermon that followed was perhaps what I needed in that very moment, as I had taken a day off from university to regain my strength and optimism because of the challenging days I’d been facing.
‘Consistency is the key to break through’ – Creflo Dollar
When I was listening to Creflo Dollar, deliver a sermon about prosperity, I realised that Christianity in a sense, is a life of trying, yes you are incapable of being perfect by your own efforts, but you can be perfected through Christ’s saving grace. So long as we try, I mean really try, how can we fail in Christ Jesus? I’ve heard the saying so many times, failure is not an option or you only fail when you stop trying, and I never understood what that truly meant until this particular evening. God loves a trier, its so easy to say actually, I think I’ll settle with my failure thank you very much and wallow in self-pity for the rest of my life. But finding the motivation to continue, to rise and rise again, reaching a new height every time; that takes courage, that takes humility and it takes God’s grace falling upon the spirit and giving us the strength to continue.
Every time I was challenged in whatever I was trying to do, I’d say to myself, that’s it Dami, God doesn’t want you to succeed here, move on. But then I came to the realisation that if you are able to give up so easily, you didn’t really want or need that thing, and if God gave it to you with ease, you may have misused it or taken it for granted. Take for example Will Smith’s character in the film, The Pursuit Of Happyness, how short would the film have been if he’d given up after his wife had stopped believing in his aspirations? Or perhaps if he’d given up after hearing no once out of the several times, when he went to give proposals. It doesn’t surprise me that the Novel by Chris Garden, should be a bestseller, because we somehow think that there is some secret to being successful, however I think its a combination of God’s grace + trying = success = happiness. Equating financial success to achieving happiness is another debate entirely, however reaching one’s goals can cause happiness, even if it only lasts a while. There is however one success that guarantee’s happiness, and that is submitting to Christ, loving God.
It is important to note that there are several triers in the bible, from Jesus all the way to his disciples, to Moses, to David, and the list goes on. Jesus tried to save the church, by presenting himself as the living word, and every time he was doubted, he would try and try again to give glory to God. He tried with such determination that he faced crucifixion for our sake, that we would one day have the opportunity to try, to overcome sin, to overcome the wickedness and weakness of our flesh, to be forgiven when we fall, so we can continue to try. Moses continued to fight for Israel’s freedom with the God given strength he possessed, and if he had given up, I hate to imagine what could have been – but I doubt God would have given him such responsibility if he didn’t have the courage to try. David continued to try to do God’s will, despite being pursued by Saul, he submitted to God’s will in his life, he trusted God, and fought battles until he was victorious through God’s blessing and made king of Israel. Whilst reading Luke 24, I came to understand, by God’s grace, that even the disciples were not always obedient and strong in faith, however following the resurrection of Christ, they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God – Luke 24:53. Emphasis being on the word continually, not once in a while, not until they sinned and then they gave up, but continually (KJV), all the time (NCV).
We are surrounded by inspiration to try, in the form of numerous biblical accounts, successful business establishments, careers, strong families, the abolition of slavery and racism, the overcoming of persecution, personal fears, once again the list continues. So when you feel like giving up, then you should pray to God for strength, to continue to try, with the hope of victory to come – Jeremiah 31:16. Amen.
Remember, consistency is the key to break through…