It has been a few days since I wrote my last post, and during that time, I have craved writing, like that first breath of fresh air in the morning after a sticky summer’s evening.
There are very few things that rattle my cage in this world, and I know we are often annoyed or critical of the very things we are guilty of ourselves. Having said that, it saddens me to think that it is often us Christians who give Christ such a bad name. We are quick to point to those who know us or of us that we are indeed followers of Christ, but we tend to forget that with that also comes the huge responsibility and unmerited honour of becoming representatives of Christ in this world.
God provides us with countless opportunities in our daily lives to respond to situations in a different way to that of the world, and in so doing, to bring the love, purity and holiness of Christ to people’s hearts and minds. God’s way, however, is always the hardest way. God’s way is always the choice that will make us look like fools to the world, like quitters, cowards, weaklings. And yet, we know by the word of God, that we are in this world but not of it. How then, can we be perceived as different to those who have not got Christ in their lives? What would it take for someone to take notice and ponder on that rare occurrence when a Christian person swallows his/her pride, self-righteousness, arrogance, determination to prove another wrong, and in a Christ-like manner picks up the “cup of poison” handed over to him/her and in humility and sheer trust of God’s promises, drinks it? I guess what it takes is a life of devotion and a very, very intimate walk with God every single day of a person’s life; a life dedicated to genuinely accepting the challenge of becoming more like Christ and the integrity to actually rise to that challenge every time an opportunity to be Christ-like arises, instead of falling into the enemy’s trap as expected, and responding to a situation as the smart and “powerful and wise in their own eyes” would.
Jesus must weep when he sees his “self-declared” followers raising the bar of conduct and principles for everybody else; parading their high morals pridefully in their churches and in their communities and yet, in practical, real-life situations they respond no different to anybody else, and many times so very much worse than those who don’t know Christ. At this point, I have to pause and ask myself the question: Can it be that such inconsistency between what we proclaim and how we act and conduct ourselves is a mere reflection of what is truly taking place in our hearts? Are we no different to the hypocrites Christ talked so much about during his ministry? Did the apostle Paul clearly not warn us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms? If as we say, our minds have been renewed, and Christ abides in us, why then, do we not exhibit that supernatural ability to rise above the claws of the temptation to prove our own righteousness in front of others; the temptation to win yet another battle in a dispute or confrontation so that we can let everyone know who is the “good person” and who is the “evil one”? Was Christ not sacrificed on the cross to bring us the wonderful freedom of not having to fight these battles anymore; of not falling prey to biting the bate of pride and the need to justify our own integrity in front of others?
Have you ever wondered why when you have been involved in a conflict or dispute of any nature and you have prayed for God to resolve it or for God to bring it to an end, He does not answer that prayer? We are all too quick to give the enemy credit by declaring that we are under attack, and yes, maybe we are, but God is more awesome and more powerful than anything or anybody else in this universe, and He will allow us to remain in that conflict or dispute until we surrender our pride, our will and the strong pull of our sinful nature, because until we do so, we are no different to anyone else, and the light of Christ and his message of salvation cannot and will not pierce the hearts of others as it could, as it should. How could it? In always wanting to have the last word, in always wanting to be acquitted in front of the world’s eyes, we immediately display an utter lack of faith in God’s promises to fight on behalf of those who humble themselves. If you were not a Christian, before you became a Christian, would you have been touched by someone’s testimony, if in their actions they displayed completely the opposite of what they professed; if in their stubborn and arrogant attitude they communicated to those desperate to know Christ, that the God they worship is not as holy and faithful as they are claiming He is, and they therefore need to fight til the last man is standing in order to attain “contentment”, satisfaction and peace? Does that sound like the heart of a man or woman whose life has been shaken up and wonderfully altered by the mighty hand of God and his loving grace? We do Jesus a terrible discredit and dishonour when we display such fleshly traits, and those whose lives remain unchanged because of our behaviour, keep joining the long queue of souls who in coming into contact with us through a negative set of circumstances, were open to an opportunity of seeing Christ at work in our own lives, but saw instead, yet another bogus figure who is eager to talk the talk, but not so good and able to walk the walk. Engulfed by disillusionment and their hopes deferred, they give a wide berth to any other Christian who claims to know the secret to a full life free from pain, hurt and guilt. Can you blame them?
A lack of humility, starting with myself, is what makes Christianity in our Western societies reap what it sows. The harvest is ready but the workers, those willing to have their egos nailed on the cross, are very few, and as the day of Christ’s return draws ever so near, God’s heart bleeds for all those who will be lost on the day of final judgement.
I would like to end with hope, always with hope, the hope of a God who truly does exist, truly loves his children and truly works miracles on a daily basis and gives strength to the humble, the weary and the broken-hearted. Watch the video below and be in awe of a mighty God who is able to draw to himself the hearts and minds of people through someone, who in the true spirit of Christ, has humbled himself and picked up his cross, and in doing so, has been able to turn his sufferings and disadvantage into the unspeakable joy of bringing praise and glory to the Father. Such joy and peace must reign in that man’s heart and that, unlike lofty talk proved inconsistent by our prideful actions, is what speaks volumes to those who so desperately seek THAT something which will break the chains holding them down and crushing the spirit out of them.