As Christians living in a secular world, we are very much familiar with words like “self-control”, “abstinence”, “temperance”, “restriction” and so on. The Bible strictly tells us certain things that we should not do and these things become sensitive issues in our contemporary world and we even see some people in the Christianity community saying ‘it’s alright to do them’ and easing the boundaries.
I’m not trying to raise a criticism or make a statement against a specific issue here. But I want us as Christians to make some thoughtful reflection about what it really means for us, individuals, to live as Christians and live the Christian life.
In a recent conversation with TACP, I had a chance to really think about what it really means to live as a Christian. Someone in the group brought up an issue of Christians and alcohol and mentioned that she was offered a drink by a friend who was also a church-goer. She said she wasn’t shocked by the offer since she knew that some Christians do drink, and she kindly declined the offer. But this incident made her reflect on what it is to live a Christian life and she wanted to hear some thoughts.
With a small anecdote, TACP shared her thoughts which left a lingering impression on me. She said that especially for young Christians, it is harder to live by principles since there are many factors that challenge our adherence to them. This is true especially when we try to climb up social ladders; we see that many professional and social events cater alcohol as their main drinks.
But, she said, if you have strong Christian principles and values and you know if something is wrong, then stand strong to your beliefs. It isn’t about forcing yourself to follow the rules without being persuaded, she said, but to really build a Christian value system, knowing in your heart that Word of God is the truth, and live by it.
Again, I am not trying to raise an issue with alcohol here. What I want to say is that when we have strong values, we must not fear to stand up for them. Christians have values that come from following Christ and we should not be molded by the ways of the world.
As a follow up, I want to share this heart-touching and powerful sermon by Reverend Billy Graham, delivered in NYC in 1957. The title of the sermon is “How to live the Christian Life” and this is a 35 mins speech, but I hope you give yourself a spare time to watch the whole clip and let a change take place in your life.
As a guideline perhaps, I will leave a condensed outline of the speech. But this won’t do the job of watching the sermon yourself and becoming inspired. I pray you take up the blessing of living a Christian life.
“How to live the Christian Life” by Billy Graham, 1957 New York Crusade
What is a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ? A Christian is a person who had a personal encounter with the Christ and who had made a decision to accept Christ as the LORD of his/her life.
1) A Christian has made a choice to accept Jesus as the Lord in the heart. By the act of will, one must say, “Yes, I will receive Christ.”
2) A change must take place in a Christian; a change in one’s attitude towards God and towards his/her neighbors. If there’s no change, no fruit in your life, then you need to doubt if you have really received Christ.
3) A christian has accepted a challenge, a challenge of Christ.
Then how to live the Christian life? Just believing and loving is not enough. You have to say “I will.” Like a marriage, it is only valid if I say “I do” by the act of my will. But this is not all. This is just a beginning, as a marriage is a work. I need to mature and to mature, I need to learn and live by the following five principles of the Christian life.
1) Pray: We need to spend definite time and space to pray. Prayer is a work, not something that we only do when we feel like it, but it is an appointment, an interview with God.
2) Read the Bible: Word of God is the food of our souls. We spend a lot of time feeding our bodies but none for our souls when it is our souls that live on after our bodies die? Read the Bible, for God has a message for you every time you open the Bible. Read the Bible with reverence, expectancy, dependence, and adequate time.
3) Have a disciplined life: Christian life takes discipline, renunciation, and sometimes hardship. Bible uses words like “fight”, “wrestle”, “run”, “work”, “suffer”, “resist”, “endure”, “agonize”, “put to death”… Discipline your mind/thoughts, your tongue, and your bodies.
4) Go to church: Christian fellowship is not optional but it is essential. We have the Great Church, which is the body of Christ, but it has local branches all over (Presbyterian, Methodist, Evangelical, Lutheran, Baptist, so on). God commanded it and you cannot live a victorious Christian life and have a peace and joy in your heart without faithfulness in your church. Stand with your church.
5) Witness for Christ: You are to witness for Christ by the way you live. Be a model for people. Let Christ live in you and radiate out through you. When people ask ‘what’s your secret?’, tell them ‘It’s Jesus Christ!’ Witness Jesus in everything you do; work for the glory of God. We are peculiar people, set apart to be Christ’s witness. Become a salt and light in your community. Let the people know where you stand for Christ.
published by K.P.