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
Good morning, its Saturday – (if you didn’t already know)
Here’s a new bringing into view of His Son … Not just and only as Jesus of Nazareth, but as the Son of Man, Son of God; God revealed and manifested in man, out from eternity with all the fullness of Divine essence, that His people might see.
– T. Austin Sparks, The School Of Christ, The inner working of the Holy Spirit
Looking at this quote, I get so excited. There are so many of us in this world, that sometimes, we feel like we are no more than one insignificant individual amongst many. But as a Christian, your faith signifies something beyond amazing. As we are in Christ and Christ is in us, Christ being the Son of God; God is also revealed in us and manifested in us! Little ol’ me!
That’s enough to make me smile this morning.
Have a blessed rest of the day, keep shining light of the world…
Peace and Love x
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