- Now that you are a Christian, what aspects of your life have changed because of your faith?
- One of the changes is my way of thinking. I used to be someone who always dwell in problems and worry too much. I worried about anything- of what had happened and what will happen. Christian life has always emphasized that God has promises for us, to give us hope and future.
- That we are forgiven. Once we are forgiven by Christ, there is no reservation. The healing instantly happen as we are cleansed from our sins thoroughly. God love us unconditionally and has forgiven our past wrongdoings without any condemnation. Matthew 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
- Going to church has become a habit. Not only a Sunday obligation but it is a way of visiting God on a regular basis and establishing and nurturing a relationship with Him
- What does God expect of you as a Christian?
- Whatever we are taught, God expects us to live it out. That these lessons will not be just mere words, but for us to consciously take efforts to apply these in our lives.
- One expectation from becoming a Christian is disciplining ourselves so as not to be swayed by the comfort, pleasures and\or pressures of the world.
- That the fruit of the spirit will be manifested in our lives. This is the point wherein other people will see Jesus in us. That His face will shine upon our faces. I’m hoping and praying that my speech and action and even how I present myself will reflect how God works in my life. Not just vain words, but words in action.
Being a Christian means we are part of His family. We are the believers who are declared to be called children of God. 1 John 3:1 “ See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him”
But it’s not simple as that. Remember the famous quote from Spiderman,” With great power comes greater responsibility “. This is also almost the same case on being a child of God. Indeed, it’s a privilege but it also involves duties and responsibilities. But don’t consider this as “work” as this resulted out of love, reverent fear, faith, and gratitude.
We should be a worthy representation of God. In 2 Timothy 2:15.” Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” and 2Timothy 2:19 “ But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
With that , we have to bear in mind our two goals as believers:
1st Goal – That we may know Him more
Philippians 3:10: I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
Before we can actually represent someone to others, we first have know Him. If we are interested with someone, we spend considerable amount of time knowing them. How?
For example, if you are after a historical figure, you do research, read their biographies, excited in learning about their life.. their background and lifestyle. Or come election time, if we want to prove that our decision to vote for a certain politician or party is a wise move, we read or listen to their proposals or agenda. We validate their contributions and track records. We anticipate and study what they have done, what they are currently doing for the society and what are their plans in the future. Or perhaps you’re a mother, that out of love and compassion is exerting efforts to learn what are the factors causing her baby to cry.
Same with God, we need to understand, learn and know about Him in His totality.
- From His coming here on earth: the birth of Jesus Christ
- From the time He was introduced to the world as God’s son through His baptism
- From the sacrificing of His blood to redeem us from our sin
- To His resurrection
- To the presence of Holy Spirit in our hearts, and many more
The more we love someone, the more passionate we are in knowing Him. God desires that we know Him because we love Him. This is the first commandment. Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength
As we have received the fullness of God’s unconditional love for us, we also need to understand how we can demonstrate our love for Him. But how? That is by studying His Word. If we know Jesus, we will know God. If you know the Son, you will know the Father.
We need to know what hurts God that will make Him bleed again, so we will try our best not to hurt him again. Because it’s like putting Him again on the cross.
2nd Goal : To be more Christ-like
Our goal is to look forward to a new ‘you’ who is Christ-like and that is to begin this change from within. In Hebrews 1:1-4, it highlights the supremacy of God “ Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. “
We should also aim to perfect our faith and to follow Christ and His footsteps. We should aspire to become not just a follower of Christ but His child that will reflect His amazing grace and love towards mankind. Our goal is to be a change agent, an advocate to the world proclaiming His love towards all of us. He wants us to influence the world and transform it.
It is so encouraging to see famous personalities who set this tone in the society. They are not ashamed of the gospel and share the Word and their beliefs in any opportunity that they can have. We hear those athletes who are not only active in the sports arena but also active in reaching out to souls and proclaiming their faith to the world. This listing includes Pacquiao, Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow, to name a few. We also have singers who in one way or another incorporate their faith in their music or share in other avenues, like Carrie Underwood, Bono or actors like Denzel Washington and Kirk Cameron.
We should also take note that to become Christ like is a result of the following factors, taken collectively:
- the result of our surrender to God
- our freedom from sin, and
- our Christian growth
To become Christ-like.. this is our aim, this is our goal, we should consistently pursue this and seek the kingdom everyday. We are still work in progress but it is promised that in the future this process of becoming like Him will be complete. And as we are anticipating and looking forward for that complete transformation, we should begin following the example of Christ today while here on earth and be set apart to do His will. As emphasized in 1 Peter 1:16 “ for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
2 Timothy 2:20-21 “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work”
The life of a Christian is not a bed of roses. Once we have received His Kingdom, expect forces surrounding you trying to ruin this relationship with God that you have established.
Always bear in mind, there are two conflicting kingdoms: the Kingdom of God embracing us and the kingdom of the world, wherein physically we are still in the midst of it.
In John 17:11, I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
There will always be tension.. but feeling this tension is normal. We should be anxious if we are not feeling any tension at all. In Romans 8:22, For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. Everyone.. the whole word is facing this challenge which has started from the sin of Adam and Eve.
In a way, feeling this tension is a gauge for us to determine our relationship with God. Why? Because it only happens because of 2 reasons:
- we are motivated by the Holy Spirit not to yield to temptation. The Holy Spirit is the one whispering in our ears, convicting us, encouraging us to do what is right, disciplining us. If the Holy Spirit is not with us, then who knows what we can do without fear of the consequences that will happen
- we are aware of who should be in the center of our life and that is God.
If we are swayed by the material offerings of the world, we will simply do what the flesh will dictate and we will simply chase after the values of the world (success, fame, recognition, wealth, power). But since we know of the eternal value of heaven, this is what we are running after.
This is the race that we want to be part of and our goal is to finish it.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
To face these new challenges is indeed a ‘challenge’. But we should stand firm and keep our faith up high. Keep nurturing our spiritual life through the church where we are planted. Here we encourage one another and nurture each other’s relationship with God. With this brotherhood in Christ, facing the challenges should not be done alone, but we can link arms and overcome them together as a body of Christ.