A Faith for the Whole World
Jesus continues to shape the destiny of humanity, as his gospel unceasingly transforms the lives of billions of people, calling them for sacrificial service, the giving of the self in love to God and others.
Is Christ a mere addition to myself? The starting point of our Christian life is not the natural self with its desires and interests. For the unfulfilled demands of our natural demands leaves us starved and worried and hampered at every turn and we get depressed and angry. The more we try to be good the unhappier we become. We try to live for others in a discontented and grumbling way, wondering why no one takes notice of our being a martyr.
Christ says, “give me your all". The church exists for drawing people into Christ, so that their character is transformed into the likeness of Christ. That is why 2000 years ago, God became man in Jesus Christ. In fact the whole universe was created for Christ and that everything is to be gathered together in Him. The most difficult thing is to hand over our whole self to Christ, all our wishes and fears.
When Jesus walked among people there was certain simplicity to being a disciple. Primarily it meant to go with him, in an attitude of study, obedience, and, imitation. We literally cannot be with him in the same way, as his first disciples could. But the priorities and intentions of the heart are the same. The disciple of Christ desires above all else to be like him. The correct perspective is to see following Christ as the fulfilment of the highest human possibilities and as life on the highest plane.
In our spiritual journey God draws a person into a deeper walk with Him. "Such souls will likely experience what is called 'the dark night of the soul'. The "dark night" is when those persons lose all pleasures that they once experienced in their devotional life. This happens because God wants to move them on to greater heights. God receives the imperfections within us, and because of his love for us, urges us to grow up.
Jesus tells us to set our hearts on the kingdom. Setting our hearts on something requires human effort. The practice of a spiritual discipline makes us more sensitive to the small, gentle voice of God. The prophet Elijah did not encounter God in the mighty wind or in the earthquake or in the fire, but in the small voice (1Kings: 19:9-13). Through the practice of a spiritual discipline we become attentive to that small voice and willing to respond when we hear it.
Jesus' life was a life of obedience. He was always listening to the father, always attentive to his voice, always alert for his directions. The core of all prayer is indeed listening, obediently standing in the presence of God, Through spiritual discipline we prevent the World from filling our lives to such an extent that there is no place left to listen. We need to set apart time and space to give our undivided attention to God. We must develop a Christian mind that is both shaped by the truths of historic biblical Christianity and conversant with the realities of the contemporary world.
Jesus healed the outcaste leprosy patients and made them once again fruitful contributory members of the society. Gospel has the power to transform individuals and societies. The transformation experienced by the poor and oppressed members of the society in India was initiated by the gospel always owned by the poor and mostly directed by them. Their empowerment was the result of their appropriation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian mission awakened the consciousness of the poor and the oppressed, which resulted in their socio-economic transformation.
The Gospel is truth from God. We have not invented our message. We do not come to people with our own human speculations. We are rather bearers of God's Word, the trustees of the Gospel. This treasure of the knowledge of God is given not for personal exaltation, but in trust for the benefit of the whole world. There is no greater incentive to world mission than the lordship of Jesus Christ. Mission is not interference in other people's private lives, or a dispensable option, which may be rejected, but an unavoidable deduction from the universal lordship of Jesus Christ.
In this new millennium let us commit ourselves to be witnesses to God's love story with the human race, and let's do it the Jesus way.