Christianity Is Not Just A Claim (2)
THE scripture is very explicit on the type of life that is required of a Christian. St. Paul puts it better, “Therefore, if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away. Behold the fresh and new has come,” (2 Corinth. 5:17). Undeniably, old habits and old natures that do not give glory to God are given up for the new type of life required of a Christian.
Necessarily for the Christian, there must be a deliberate effort, decision and choice to be made such that one’s present life would not negate his new status in Christ. Such a person consciously focuses on and is pre-occupied with the things of heaven. This does not mean he would be earthly useless, but he is driven by the Biblical warning according to St. Paul; “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”, (Romans 12:2). This warning is timely because a Christian had early missed the mark and that put pain in the heart of Apostle Paul and he could not but report thus: “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica…” (2 Tim.4: 10)
Events in the world, no matter how challenging they may be (Hardship, economic down turn, unemployment, new diseases being discovered) may likely affect a Christian’s response to certain situations, but God’s word readily comes to his help that in Christ we are more than conquerors, Romans 8:31-end. What then do we expect in the new life so that the Christianity we claim to have will not be in vain? Below are some of our anchor points:
• Prayer – what is a new life without prayer? Prayer is the breath of the Christian. Therefore, for one to sustain this new life he/she must soak himself/herself in prayer in order not to derail in his/her Christian faith. We are called upon to pray without ceasing (2Thess. 5:17). Through prayer, we receive special strength to live for Christ and to resist the endless enticement from the evil one. Thank God this season of lent will help us to rekindle our prayer life and to be able to live for God alone.
• Fasting – it is also good we combine our prayer with fasting. There is always push and pull from the kingdom of darkness and for us to be victorious, we will need fasting to shame the evil one. Mortification of the flesh is very crucial because we have our moments of weaknesses, which if not presented to God, may tamper with the new life in Christ. In fasting, we hand over such weaknesses and trust that they will be removed from our shoulder for the new life in Christ.
• Study of God’s word – we have ongoing command according to Joshua: “this Book of the law shall not depart from your mouth day and night, be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do”, (Joshua 1:8). The child of God is to be nourished in the new life through God’s word. Attention is drawn to meditation, reflection on the word of God so that one would be able to draw from the inner recesses of God. Jesus was able to overcome the tempter because He repeatedly said: “it is written”, (Matt 4:4, 7, 10,). No child of God can successfully go through life except the word is enough in him.
• Faith in God – unarguably, the scripture stated: “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrew 11:6). The new life requires that those that come to Him must agree that He exists, if not the scripture will call such people who deny the existence of God fools (Psalm 14, 53). It is an essential requirement for a new life in Christ. We are not talking about doubting faith, but a believing faith. That the God we are serving is capable of bearing us up and would not allow us to be put to shame no matter the circumstance we may find ourselves.
• Attend Godly Fellowship – ‘Iron sharpens iron’, (Proverbs 27:17). We grow not in isolation, but in fellowship or company of godly persons, who through their advice, prayers and counselling help us grapple with some life issues.
In such a corporate way, one is enriched spiritually and always kept aglow. It is important to have somebody to lean on after all how can one learn without someone teaching him, (Acts 8:31).
Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Cetre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org
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