“Who’s got time to wait? Introducing Airtel’s 16Mbps broadband connection…so you’ll never have to wait.” I saw this ad flash across the screen and I sighed, “How I wish it was mine…!” It’s amazing how fast the world is progressing today. Today I fancy over luxuries like an iPhone or a Sony WAIO. But can I go ahead and buy it?
Yes or No - the only two possible answers to the question. But most of us lie in the ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Not sure’ category. We would have known this answer if we knew our scriptures well. But that requires time, efforts and perseverance in the scriptures. However on the contrary, we tend to be impatient, show slothfulness and quit easily when it to comes to living a Christian life. My desire is to take you through few areas in our Christian lives where we generally tend to show these weaknesses and pick up a couple of valuable lessons along.
1. CHRISTIAN LIVING:
We all wish to be spiritually mature Christians, sound in doctrine and having a worthy testimony in this world. But then on the other hand, we are too busy for God and in our Christian life, lazy and undisciplined. Subsequently we want to be spoon fed by other people and the church when it comes to the Word of God. Then we blurt out ‘Why??’ and again ‘But...why??’ when the Word of God requires us to make changes in our life.
Maybe the fault actually lies in us because we really don’t know our basics well and are not really keen on putting in the efforts to search the scriptures ourselves. Impatience is what I would label it as. Today, when everything is so easily available, why not an effortless Christian life too?
Even in our secular life we show impatience in our decisions. With the increasing luxuries around us, we tend to want more. It’s not wrong to want. But God teaches us to live to our necessities. Abraham did so! Though he was the richest person around and could have lived luxuriously, yet he chose to live in tents. Solomon, on the other hand, ran behind his ever increasing wants and found futility after his labor.
Repeatedly the Bible reminds that to our every need, God is ever present to provide it (Matt. 6:32; Phil. 4:19). But we fairly realize this truth. Maybe that’s why sometimes our prayers are not answered because our wants are more than our actual necessities. It calls us to introspect and check the decisions that we make daily.
Paul sums it up well in I Cor. 9:24-27, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Some of the basic things that go into maintaining relationships are time and energy, the both being very scarce today. People have become so business-oriented that they don’t have time for their dear ones. It’s not their fault completely. The need to survive in this world compels one to work that much. And sometimes even with time and opportunity in our hands we barely are able to put in enough efforts to work towards a fruitful relationship. Maybe it’s because we are so succumbed by the pressure and the discomfort the world offers us.
Maintaining relationships is a costly affair. Relationships are not made in a day or two, but earned over a period of time. As we see in Rom. 12: 9-21, relationships are earned through the labor of love. It’s when relationships are earned there is sweetness and satisfaction in enjoying it. God when he ordained the church to function as one body, he meant this very same relationship. It’s a relationship that goes beyond saying ‘Hi’ and ‘How do you do?’ You need to earn it! It might require you to go out of your way, sacrifice your time and resources, and even put down your ego.
Most of the time petty issues and misunderstandings play a spoilsport in relationships. I remember the time when a close friendship of mine broke due to some misunderstanding. The process of reconciling didn’t take a phone call or two. It took me more than six months to earn back my lost friendship. It wasn’t easy though. It required me to show true repentance and live the ‘sorry’ that I said.
It comes back to the point that relationships need to be earned. It requires patience, hardwork and endurance in nurturing it. But this doesn’t come without God’s help. It is God who removes the monotony in maintaining relationships to something that you would love to do.
3. SOCIAL LIFE:
The society today is deprived of love. Day in and out we see fights, abuses, murders, suicides, wars, betrayal, anxiety, pain, cruelty and so many other things that dominate the headlines. It’s in such a world God has placed us as Christians to love this hopeless society with the true love of Christ.
It’s unfortunate that we play a very passive role in this regard. We choose to be onlookers to the evils around than lend a helping hand to someone hurt. We choose to keep our status and our ego in a crowd that boasts the same when it comes to doing things that may be below our status. We choose to condemn others of their wrongs, when we ourselves are many times guilty of the same. We choose to stick to our rituals and traditions that we claim as godly when it comes to sacrificing some of them to reach out to the society.
We respond to the government by cursing it. If not the government, we at least would have cursed the BJP, or the VHP, or the Bajrang Dal or any of those Hindutva groups. What different are we from them? We really love condemning the municipal corporation for their untimely and haphazard work. Doing so doesn’t even change the situation nor does it profit. It would rather profit if we could go out and sweep the roads ourselves than cursing the BMC for dirty roads.
We continuously classify and judge the so many different people around us and label them conveniently according to situations. We call some ‘samples’, others we label as ‘the cause for all the problems’, and others as ‘they are always like that’. We picture government officers, politicians and policemen as corrupt; the sweeper, beggars, etc. as inferior. We consider Muslims as a potential threat and Hindu fanatics as ‘enemies of Christians’. We disrespect and disown the Catholics and even those other nominal Christian groups we today conveniently label as ‘cults’. And then we claim that we are going to reach out to these people when we don’t even love them!!
We are all guilty of betraying our society! We preach that we live a witnessing life but are unable to keep a true testimony even in such small situations. We expect others to change, but we ourselves are not ready to change. If we truly claim to be living a witnessing life, we need to love our society, our government and our nation just as Christ loved us. It’s not a love that shows itself only when going to communicate the gospel or anything in respect to that, but it’s a love that lives day in and out among the people, respecting the society and honoring the nation and its values. And this requires a lot of patience, hardwork and endurance with the help of God.
We hear all this from the preacher’s mouth and at this time it might just sound the same. But in conclusion, this is a greater challenge for me than you because just as Paul said, “…lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”