CHRISTIAN LIFE IS NO EASY ROAD
P. Samuel Manoharam
The question why our life is ebbing out of the living faith that we profess must cause grave concern to every believer in Christ, especially at the end times we are in.
If the Christians of the 21st century are not as serious about their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as those of the first few centuries who gladly risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel that they proclaimed , would this not dent the good image of Christianity?
Why is it that the church today fails to maintain its spiritual vitality, power and radiant health, as was found in the early church? What is the root cause of the ‘falling away’ from the faith?
Billy Graham, explaining the reasons for the condition of the present-day church, said, “Many Christians feel that they should belong to the church and make a Christian profession, which is not backed up by their lives. Consequently, the church has been deeply infiltrated by ‘the world’, and in the process it is beginning to copy and resemble the world in many of its activities. There are hypocrites in the church, even in the pulpit. Many Christians who profess Christ do not live as though they possess Him. We have made Christianity too easy. In the early days, the followers of Jesus had to count the cost. They were willing to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Jesus. But today, we do not make such demands upon our church members. The church has lost its ability to discipline members who live openly in sin. Consequently, we have lost our witness in the community.”
He further said, “The greatest testimony to this dark world today would be a band of crucified and risen men and women, dead to sin and alive unto God, bearing in their bodies ‘the marks of the Lord Jesus’. As we may be approaching events leading to the ‘last days’, the true and the false will start sifting out. Certainly, when we all stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ, we will have our true motives revealed.” This is the true and succinct exposition of the materialistic, Christ-less, religious, modern Christianity which should be an eye-opener to us slumbering Christians today. For a spiritual revival to happen in our churches, we need to wake up from our spiritual slumber and set our minds on the things of eternity, not on the perishing things of this earth (Col.3:1-11).
Indwelling Holy Spirit
The obvious reason for such a downward movement in the present-day Christian church is the absence of the power of the Holy Spirit. Lack of this power is making Christians spiritually anaemic and powerless, thereby affecting the very basic fibre of Christian values. There is a pressing need for the church to turn to spirituality from its obtrusive religiosity. Christians need to have a higher type of Christianity, filled with the Holy Spirit. Merely professing something of a religious nature, having no Spirit of Christ in us, means nothing. We can never be Christ-like, when Christ- likeness is not the goal for which we live in this world.
In a materialistic ‘self-oriented’ society, it is easy for many, stinking with wealth, to be caught in a spirit of unbelief. What great losers are those who live in unbelief! Just imagine the results awaiting Christians who take away belief from their lives. Scriptures clearly say that faith in God can move a mighty mountain. It can calm life’s troubled sea. It can make a desert like a fountain. It can bring life’s victory. How blessed are those who live with faith in God! Many of us are serving God and mammon at the same time.
Overcoming The World
Are we overcoming the world, or is the world overcoming us? If we Christians are to be overcomers, we must begin inside us (in our inner-being), because God always begins there. We should allow our old sinful nature to be subdued by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Only then can the spirit of selfishness in us be overcome. Someone has said that ‘I’ is the centre of S-I-N. It is the medium through which Satan acts. To overcome the world, we need to have Christ in us all the time. What does ‘the world’ mean? D.L. Moody explains, “The ‘world’ does not mean the nature around us. Material world is not the enemy to be overcome, because the earth belongs to God. ‘The world’ refers to human life, a society that is alienated (separated) from God, centred on material aims and objects, opposed to God’s spirit and kingdom. ‘Love of the world’ means the forgetfulness of an eternal future for the love of passing things. We can overcome the world by faith.”
The greatest privilege of every Christian is that of living constantly in the sweet presence of Christ, radiating His light, joy, love and life. Moreover, the enabling power of the Holy Spirit gives us victory over all kinds of sin, such as selfishness, greed, envy, pride, love for worldly pleasures, fashions and riches.
The true Christian life is a demanding one, demanding much self-sacrifice, even life itself. Christianity has no worth if it cannot impact us to become Christ-like, in every aspect of our living. To become a true disciple of Christ, our hard heart needs to be melted and then welded with Christ’s love and grace. Biblically speaking, a Christian is defined as one who has received the Lord Jesus Christ in his heart. A spiritual Christian is one who displays the Lord Jesus Christ through his life.
Unless men and women of purpose, integrity and faith stand together, in unwavering loyalty and dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ, the future of this world is frighteningly dark. Let us all understand that it is during our life time here on earth that we decide our eternal destiny.
Dear reader, the Christian life is no easy road. C.T. Studd said, “Only one life, it will soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last.”