Sunday, January 14, 2018

Christ - Center of our life

Is Christ the center of your life?

Every christian should ask this to himself, even otherwise, for sure, he must have heard this question at least once. 

But what does it mean!

I was pretty sure I knew.

When I  was planning to buy a house, I first prayed about it and when I found one I gave all the glory to God (which rightly, I must). When I was preparing for admission in some college, I diligently prayed about it and when I successfully got placed I knew that it's only because of the Lord's mercy and I gave all the credit to Him.

I truly depended on God for all my decisions, I earnestly wanted His will not mine. 

Does that mean Christ was the center of my life? Of course He was at the center of my life, after all I acknowledge Him in everything I do; or was He?

To know that, let's first try to define what it means to be center of one's life.

"When someone becomes so important for you that you are ready to go to any extent to meet their desires and their interests; they become the center of your life. Your whole life basically revolves around them and what they like"

The best example, that I can think of is when a child is born to a couple. He immediately becomes the center of their life. 

They are ready to sacrifice those late night parties they used to enjoy, for him; they are ready to miss that college reunion, if he's not well; they are ready to even sit and watch that cartoon series for an hour, for him. They are ready to do anything for him even if it's unpleasant and boring, and they'd never do it except if it was for him. 

In the same way, when I say Christ is the center of my life, His desire and His interests must become more important to me, than my own.

Now what is Christ's desire and his interests?

In Luke 19:10 Jesus said, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost". He came to save the sinners, to reconcile man to God.
He did this while he was in this world and when he left, He commissioned this task to His disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So as a disciple of Christ I am in a mission, I am co-labourer with Christ in His mission.

The way I used to pray shows that God wasn't center of my life, I was. And since I can't risk making wrong decisions, I want God. Who else can make sure that I don't make a blunder other than the all knowing God?

I wanted God to be on my side rather than I being on His side. I wanted God to approve what I want to do rather than doing what God wants to do.

If Christ is center of my life, I look for a job and I make sure that it doesn't deter my mission to know Christ and to make him known; If Christ is the center of my life, I don't buy a house just because I want to, but I make a house which is open for prayer and His work.

I don't ask God, is this Job good for my future?, will I do well? (no harm in doing it though) rather I analyze the work and ask God before taking it up, to make sure that this work must not deter the mission for which I have been called out.

Truly when Paul says I've been crucified with Christ, he understood that it is no longer, his desire and his ambitions that was important but Christ's desire and His mission that is worth doing.

Let's remold our lives to make Christ truly center of our lives whatever the cost maybe!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Adapt to the realm of Christ!

Colossians 2:6-7
So then, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord continue to walk in Him, rooted and build up in Him; established in the faith, just as you were taught.

I was meditating on this verse a couple of weeks ago; and was wondering what “continue to walk in Him” would mean. I realized that the Greek word which is translated to English as “in”; means to be literally inside someone or something. It also means to be in a realm or in a kingdom.

What is a realm?
We live on the land, which is a realm. Every realm has its own principles and the one who lives in that realm has to live under those principles. For e.g. on land there is gravity so all those who live on land are under gravity. On land, you have to breathe in a certain manner, you can’t breathe the same way inside water; which is a different realm. There is no gravity in that realm and therefore one who lives inside water can’t walk, rather they swim. Those who live in the realm of water has to obey the principles of that realm.

With this knowledge, let’s try to understand Colossians 2:6-7.
So then, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord continue to walk in Him

How did we receive Christ? By trusting in the *gospel of Christ.
By faith, as soon as we received Christ as the Lord, we are virtually put into a new realm where the principles of Christ apply. We must therefore continue to live our lives according to the principles of this realm.
Even though we are currently in the realm of the world where its principles like envy, jealousy, independence from God etc. are present but, we are virtually placed into the realm of Christ and therefore principles of this realm such as love, kindness, dependence on God etc. must apply on us and not the principles of the world.

Consider an astronaut who’s going to travel to space. He doesn’t go to the space until he has trained himself to adapt to this new realm of space. He takes training in a space training center. This training center is in this land but the principles of this land such as gravity doesn’t apply inside it, so that the astronaut can adapt himself to the principles of space before he finally travels to space and be able to survive there.

Something similar God is doing with us. We also call this process as sanctification. We are in this world but we practice to live by the principles of Christ so that we can adapt to realm of Christ where God is one day going to take us permanently.

In the next part, Paul teaches us how do we practice to live by the principles of this new realm:
rooted and build up in Him; established in the faith

To be established in the faith, we must first know:
What is our faith? And how to be established in it?

Our faith is in the *gospel of Christ. That is our faith.
And to be establish in it simply means to be sure of it. It doesn’t mean to be adamant about it but rather to be convinced about it. We’ll be convinced about our faith, if we are rooted and are build-up in the realm of Christ.
To be rooted is to remain in one place, in this context it implies to remain in the realm of Christ, and as the root grows it also gets firm in that place; it symbolizes that we must first know the principles of this realm (by meditating on the word of God) and then more importantly obey them. The more we obey the more we’ll build ourselves up i.e. to say adapt ourselves to this new realm.

As Paul taught us, let us therefore be rooted (don’t give up and be firm) in the realm of Christ and keep building (adapting) ourselves up by meditating in His word and obeying Him, till He comes to take us physically into His realm.

May our God uphold us in these training days!

God promised through His prophets that He’ll save the world by sending His Messiah and accordingly, Jesus Christ was born in Israel. He did many good works, He gave eyes to the blind, healed the sick and many believed in Him however, some did not believe in Him. Those who did not believe in Him, killed Him by crucifying Him on a cross; just as God foretold through His prophets. However, on the third day God raised him up from the dead and He was seen by many people whom God selected and He told them to proclaim now that God has made Him LORD over all, both dead and alive; and whoever trusts in Him will be forgiven of their sins. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holy Communion….err… Lord’s Supper?

Do this in remembrance of Me!

Let’s check your Algebra first! What is (a-b)3?

You know one of the biggest problem with human kind is that they forget! Events are lost in the mists of time and becomes history.

Let me share with you a story about a teacher who noticed that his students always seemed to struggled with algebra. One day he thought of an idea; he gave his students a red square card, and instructed them to keep it in their wallet, and every time they saw that card they should remind themselves all the algebraic formulas.

His students started to follow this method and pretty soon the students could remember all the algebraic formulas; even when they were woken up in the middle of the night, they can recite all the algebraic formulas. As time went by, these students started to teach other students using this method.

Eventually with the success of this method, the red card got quite famous, and many legends started around it as well.  Some people even started believing that if you had a red card in your wallet the spirit of the old master would come into you and teach you algebra. People started to revere the ‘Red Card’. As a result, many people now had a red card, but no one knew algebraic formulas.

Many years passed by, and one day a small boy was reading the story about this famous teacher and his method to teach algebra to his students. He marveled and decided to follow this method to learn algebra. But there was a problem. The child lived in a far far away country where they knew only to make black and white color papers. He struggled and tried everything he could, to make a red color card, but failed. Being determined to learn algebra, he instead made a Black color square card and kept it in his wallet. Every time he saw the black card, he reminded himself the algebraic equations. And pretty soon he was much better in algebra than all those people who were revering the red card but never practiced algebra.

What do you say? Do you think the students who revered the red card were the real followers of the master or the one with black card?

Let’s now see what Jesus taught His disciples: 

John 6:53-54 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 

Matthew 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

To know what happened in John 6 let me give you a little bit of context. Many people were following Jesus after the miracle he performed of feeding five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. He knew that they are following Him for food. So, he said to them, "I can give you food that gives eternal life", and obviously, they all wanted that bread. And then He said to them that He's the bread that came from Heaven and unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they’ll not have eternal life (John 6:53-54). This offended them because He said that he came from Heaven. As a result, many left him.

He later explained to his disciples what he actually meant; He said that the literal flesh is in fact of no use and won't give them eternal life even if they eat it, rather it is the spirit and his teachings, that will give them life. It is in believing Him and obeying His commandments will they get eternal life.

Jesus knew that people by nature forget. So, during the Last Supper (Mathew 26:26-28) He gave his disciples a tradition; He gave them bread to eat and wine to drink and instructed them to do this in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19). 

Which means do this, every time you meet, so that you NEVER forget that it is only because of Jesus that you are saved and obedience to His commandments is the only way to eternal life.

Over time the bread and wine has become so holy and reverential that they no longer serve the purpose they were institutionalized for. People don’t even know what it’s supposed to remind them of.

I believe that someone who eats Idli and drinks Sambhar but remembers every time that it is Jesus who gives him life is more blessed than the one who eats unleavened bread and wine but don’t know why he’s doing it. What's the purpose of Red Card if you never learn algebra?

So then, every time we take that bread in our hand let us remind ourselves that it is through Jesus' sacrifice that I am saved, it is Jesus and his teachings that has life and I must strive to obey them.

By the way, there is no word Communion in the Bible, it’s only the Lord’s Supper!

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Lesson...!

Apostle Paul quotes in Romans 1 (from Book of Habakkuk)
"The one who is Righteous by faith, shall live." 
Which simply means "if, you believe what Christ did for you through his Death and Resurrection can save you, it indeed will." 

You mean to say just believe and you'll be saved..... Really? Just believe that Christ has paid for all my sins and I'll be saved...!! What about the sins that I commit after that? Do I not need to make amends for them? 
The Gospel is so simple that our complex mind can’t accept it as a solution to all our problems, except when God reveals it to us, and it then starts making sense.

It all sounds too good to believe. I too struggled with it for many years, until one beautiful morning when I was reading my bible, pondering upon these questions and God taught me, a lesson!

I am a software engineer by profession and the parable that God told me that day would make more sense to people in similar profession. Anyone with some fair idea about how the IT industry works would be able to relate to it as well.

Once there was a person, who happened to be a software programmer and his job was to solve the defects that are there in the software. 
How things work in IT industry is that, once someone (customer or testing group) reports a bug (bug is defect in the software) the programmer has to fix it. Unfortunately, the bug has to be fixed within a time limit (Say, 1 week). If one fails to fix the bug within this deadline he's not fit for the job. The programmer's potential is judged based on him meeting the deadline.

This deadline is something like the "Law". If you keep the Law you are a good person and if you can't you aren't. If the person can fix the bug within the deadline he's a good programmer else, he isn't.

Well honestly, this person wasn't such a good programmer. He couldn't solve the problem in a week, it was impossible for him. He tried hard, but ever so often just failed to meet the deadline. This caused him frustration. He couldn't let this go on forever, else very soon he'd lose his job. So now he started to hide the bug. In other words, he just masked it so that no one can see it. He put hacks around in the software and everyone thought the defect is solved. In the eyes of customer, he now became a good programmer meeting his deadlines. But he alone knew that he wasn't. He had not solved the defect, it’s still there; just hidden from people.

This is synonymous to "Self-Righteousness". We know we can't keep the Law, but until we keep it we aren't good people. Thus we just try to show the world that we are indeed good by doing things that look good. We try to be just and kind and generous. We are kind to one person and a moment later curse another. We and we alone know, deep down our hearts that we can never be as good as the Law require yet in the eyes of the world we may be the nicest person that ever lived.

The company where this person worked knew what’s happening, how this employee had been just masking the defect. And not just he but many other employees worked more or less in the same manner. Hence one day the company informed everyone that there would no longer be any deadlines. Employees could take as many days as they want to fix the defect without any consequence what so ever. This indeed is too good a news to be true.

This is nothing but like the "Grace" of God. When God so kindly removed the curses of Law for all who believes in Death and Resurrection of Christ.

This person now can work afresh in this new freedom that he has received. He can concentrate on solving the defect without worrying about the deadlines. With new zeal he starts working, only to realize that he in fact isn't a good programmer and can never solve any defect in the software. Here's the paradox, he desires now to solve the defect with all his heart, he doesn’t want to mask it anymore, but he can’t do it. 

Our ongoing struggle with our "Flesh" after being born-again is all about this paradox. As Paul said in Romans 7 "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing."

The company knew of this paradox and therefore when the deadlines were removed they also engaged all the employees on a training program under the best trainer available.

This trainer and the training program are alike the gift of "Holy Spirit" that all the born-again Christians get when they accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit from then on teaches them and guides them.    

The more the employees spend time with the trainer the better programmers they'll become. The same training program and same trainer is available to all the employees. It's just a matter of who spends more time with him to become better programmer. The trainer is indeed the best and if the employees continue with him they'll sooner or later become one of the best programmers. 

Remember! the training isn't easy, it requires complete commitment;  it requires giving up of all other priorities; it requires discipline; but we know this for sure, "its worth it!!!". The reproach of Christ is indeed greater wealth, than all the treasures of this World.

Needless to say that we, born-again Christians, must spend time with God, reading His word and depending on the Holy Spirit to teach us. And the more we do this the more our "Sanctification" will be. And this process has a cost which requires you to deny your self and let Christ be your all in all.

P.S. I don't mean to say you can go on 'living' (by living I mean continuous and willingly) sinful life just because your life is now saved by faith. You can't in fact you won't.
As in the example of this software programmer he still has to solve defects in the code. Only now he has a desire (willingness) to solve because he's free from the terror of meeting deadlines.

May God bless you and reveal Himself more to you!