A voice crying in the wilderness

Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

Desire to inspire

There is a temptation for Christians to surround themselves with like-minded friends, be it in life or on social media. If you are a new Christian, looking to make a fresh start, or tired and distressed and looking to avoid temptation, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but we should make sure that we don’t shut out or turn away non-Christians.

As we grow in our faith and grow strong in our character, it is important that we be a good example to our peers – not all of us are skilled debaters, able to overcome doubts and disbelief with cunning arguments; sometimes the best we can do is demonstrate our faith through the way we live our lives.

If I consider my own friends and peers, some are Christians, some don’t care one way or another, some are militant atheists and some simply have never had the opportunity to come to know Jesus. Whilst there will always be many who reject Jesus for no more reason than following Him is inconvenient – they would rather lead their own lives and not have to accommodate anyone else’s rules – how often have you encountered someone who has no idea who Jesus is, or if they have heard of Him, did not realise that He is a real person? That God came to Earth in the form of a man to take our sins upon Himself, and not just some Christmas decoration like Santa Claus or some cherubic angel?

It is the duty of all Christians to hold up Jesus for everyone to see, not just to live by His teaching but to discuss Him with those around us. He is not some secret, sacred knowledge that we should hold ransom, in order to give us power and influence over other. Jesus gave freely of His time and His knowledge to anyone who would listen.

One good thing that has come out of the last few weeks of having to live under a tight budget is that the perspective of my wife and I has been turned away from eating out at nice restaurants or getting takeaway, and more to having dinner with friends and family. When we invite people to dinner, we have leisure to discuss many subjects in a comfortable environment and without pressure, instead of shouting over background noise and being hustled out of the restaurant for the next round of guests.

If you have the chance, go and say hello to your neighbours and invite them over for coffee and a biscuit and give them a chance to learn about Jesus – you won’t always convince everyone but you might inspire someone who God had called but they didn’t listen, at least first time around.

Who knows, you may even learn something about yourself in the process.

If you know of people who are interested in learning more about our Lord, why not donate a bible to them – secondhand bibles can often be picked up in Op Shops for a couple of dollars, stores like Koorong and Word often have new editions available for under $10. If they have an internet connection, more editions are available by way of Bible Gateway and digital editions are available for Apple iOS and Android smartphones as free apps.

Luke 8:16 to 18
16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Matthew 12:33 to 37
33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Streamers of Consciousness

There is a time when one feels that they have something important or profound to say but hold back on that thought for fear of appearing foolish or being unable to properly articulate the idea, or simply concerned about offending friends and peers.

Social media is a useful tool for communications and sharing of ideas but too often it is misused to vent about someone who has offended you or simply to post up a photo of a meal you are about to consume.

I found myself considering a variety of ideas during my quiet time driving to and from work, or whilst taking a shower – I tend to do my best or most creative thinking at the most inconvenient moments, I dread to think how many great ideas or compositions have been thought up and lost because I didn’t have an appropriate method of recording them.

One of these thoughts revolved around the topic of salvation.

Although I grew up in Australia, in the Seventies and early Eighties, I found myself surrounded with a lot of very British concepts and television shows. This has affected and influenced much of my character, from my accent (despite spending my entire 40 years on this Earth living in Australia, I still speak with a crisp British ‘received pronunciation’ accent, “BBC English” I call it) to my views on Christianity. There are still clear Catholic and Anglican influences abounding.

One subject that Christians often get confused about is the subject of Grace – certain schools of thought still cling to this idea that salvation is something that we have to earn, that we must perform a certain quota of good works for God in order to get into Heaven. More than a misconception, this idea is flat out wrong. Salvation is gained by accepting Christ as our Saviour, though it isn’t quite as clear cut as that. To accept Christ into our hearts involves a dramatic change – a rebirth, if you will. To be born again. To cast off the old self and put on the new. Christians who perform good deeds only to get into Heaven cheapen their faith – the implication is that such people are driven by selfish motives; to gain the ultimate end of year bonus from The Ultimate Boss. Or worse, to do good to gain respect and admiration from peers.

Such nonsense and motivation should be put aside lest it distract us from our true goals and corrupt our objectives. By all means, perform good deeds to those around you but do so out of gratitude – the Lord has forgiven you your sins and granted you hope, share this love with those who need it. Don’t just tell people about Christ, demonstrate His grace through your actions and lifestyle. Though you may convince some people through clever argument and debate, others you will have to inspire to look to Christ by demonstrating how He has inspired you.

Ephesians 4:22-24
22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Matthew 6:2
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
– English Standard Version (ESV)