Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spiritual Pride

           Our superior religiosity or spiritual success can so blind us that we fall prey to devil’s deceit and snare. We imagine ourselves as righteously priceless in God’s kingdom. If our ministry (service to God and man) flourishes, we believe it to be because of our righteousness (good works), and that our good works is the result of us remaining in God. We delight in these verses for these verses fuel our superior religiosity:

“For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12, NASB)
“A faithful man will abound with blessings…” (Proverbs 28:20a, NASB)
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty...” (Psalm 91:1ff, NASB)

            On one end of our religious tightrope walk, we suppose we are righteous because of our superior communion with God. On the other end, we conclude we are God-appointed “holy-commandos” to cleanse all the sin and filth that surrounds us. This is at the core of superior religiosity.

            Pride inculcates a strong “I” or a powerful self-will even without one’s cognizance, thereby slowly yet surely corroding man’s dependence on God. C.S Lewis said this in Mere Christianity, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

            The spiritually proud are so convinced of their righteousness because they are internally persuaded that they distinctly hear God’s voice without a doubt. But we ought to know that God never contradicts HIS word. God will never ask HIS disciple to condemn, but only to be gracious.

            Spiritual pride puts on a façade of God’s presence in them. The spiritually proud boast outwardly of their superior religiosity, whereas their religiosity corrodes in their inner being. A truly religious person reveals God’s grace and resists condemnation. God’s will is for us to be gracious even as HE is gracious to us (Matthew 5:48). This is Christlikeness.

            While we are on this superior religiosity mode, we forget or ignore the one most foundational aspect – that we are products of God’s grace. We were saved by grace through faith (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9). Furthermore, we forget or ignore the constant presence of God’s grace, since we continue to sin in our thoughts, words, and deeds (Proverbs 20:9; Jeremiah 2:35b; Romans 3:10; 1 John 1:8). Oh that we would incorporate the fact that we cannot survive outside of God’s grace!

            The constant presence of God’s grace in our lives is a sobering thought that should crush our pride into a relentless dependence on God’s presence and grace. Not only that, we should actively proclaim God’s grace to all.

            We are mandated to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), not destroy them. May we live up to this mandate by the grace and power of God.

            Overcoming the innate corruption of one’s inner self is at the heart of Christianity. In my opinion, the theology of “works” within Christianity is a product of that corruption, and hence it needs to be completely debunked and the theology of “God’s grace” should overwhelm all Christians. HE wills and so we will. More on this later. Amen. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Heart of Condemnation

            We may think there are no ugly crimes perpetrated within Christendom, especially in the likes of Nirbaya or a Sandy Hook massacre. That thought could lead us to be smug in our glass houses, thinking all is well within Christendom. But no, not all is well in Christianity.

            Do we think of our church as the best, our denomination so close to God’s heart, our music and worship even appealing to the heavenly realms, our knowledge of the Bible so vast, deep and impressive, our prayers greatly remarkable and efficient, and our sermons enchantingly admirable?

            How often do we mock at our neighbors faults? How often do we boast to our family and friends that we are so unlike the other sinful and appalling mortal (Cf Luke 18:9-14)?

            If we have gone through these motions, then welcome to the world of spiritual pride!

            At the heart of spiritual pride is a deeply embedded superior religiosity that looks down on everybody around. Let me give you an example from my own life. By the grace and power of God, I discarded smoking and alcoholism several years ago. My immediate response to practicing Christians who drink and smoke was that of a holy scorn. I mocked the legitimacy of their Christianity. How can they continue to drink and even drink like a fish, and smoke and even smoke like a chimney, and yet claim to be practicing Christians! I walked with a powerful halo around my condescending head showering utter disregard to these Christians.

            Condemnation also manifests in other ways – subtle as they may be. Couple of days ago, I had a short chat with a person I shall leave unnamed. He was shifting home, hence they requested their Pastor to visit and bless their new home. But on the day of their moving in, they were told that the Pastor was ill and cannot visit. If the Pastor was genuinely ill, then one should give him the latitude, for he is also a human being with a legitimate need to rest and recover. However, we need to ask one question here, if the same request had come from a powerful and influential member of that church, or from a rich member of that church, or from one of the elders, would the Pastor have visited the home in spite of his illness? The answer is only known to that Pastor and of course, God. If a Pastor or a church leader shows favoritism, then the person who has been deprived of the Pastor’s attention has been condemned to a state of humiliation.

            The holocaust was motivated because of the Nazi principle, “Life unworthy of life.” Then and literally, the Nazi’s decided who lived and died. Today and not so literally, we decide who lives and dies. Those condemned die a million deaths. One would not realize this fact unless they have experienced condemnation.

            The Bible screams against spiritual pride. I will endeavor to dig deep into this subject soon. May the good Lord bless and keep us always. Amen. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Transformation: Christlikeness – Why Condemn?

            Christlikeness for God’s people is God’s plan (Romans 8:29), God’s mandate (Philippians 2:5), and an obvious development (2 Corinthians 5:17) after our “born again experience.” A believer of Jesus Christ ought to be like Jesus Christ.

            However, the most difficult existential reality to encounter is questions relating to the hypocrisy of Christians. People may not read the four gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), but they can surely read the fifth gospel - the Christian. But are we the gospel people read and give glory to God or are we the gospel people read and question the existence of the God and in some cases even lose faith in God?

            Someone said that Christians ought to be more redeemed before people believe in their redeemer. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” is another famous quote against Christians.  Ravi Zacharias expresses his difficulty in answering questions of the likes, “Why is it that you as followers of Jesus Christ lay claim to a supernatural transformation, but there is very little evidence of it in your lives?” (Source: Marching to a Different Drummer)

            Just as how the Bible is the most critiqued document, we Christians are being observed by our brothers and sisters of the other worldviews. Within the safe precincts of our home and the church, we make life-size statements staking claim to our supernatural transformation. We also pray that the world is a dark world, and of course it is! But the question we need to ask of ourselves is if we are the light (Matt 5:14-16).

            Ravi Zacharias wrote a book titled, “Has Christianity failed you?” Would he have written that book if there was not a need? The need is a popular notion that Christians are ailing and failing. Many have suffered rejection in the hands of Christians. Even if one is convicted of a sinful act, does he merit that rejection (condemnation)? Is it what the Bible teaches?

            The good news is Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and HE came to save the sinners, not the righteous (Luke 5:32). Christ saves by not condemning the sinner but by being gracious to him. Even when the woman was caught in the act of adultery the Lord’s response was, “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:7-11, NIV).

            We focus so much on John 3:16 that we, for a moment, ignore the very next verse, John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (NIV)

            Why condemn when we can love like how Christ loved us? Are we not hypocrites when we stake claim to be Christ’s disciples yet betray HIM through our condemnation of our neighbor? We are not Christlike when we condemn our fellow neighbor!

            If you have suffered condemnation in the hands of Christians, do not worry, for the Lord Jesus Christ loves a repentant sinner. My prayer is that we, by the grace of God, will not condemn each other, but be Christlike through our love for our neighbors (Matthew 22:39; John 13:34). Amen. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Transformation: Christlikeness.

As we journey through the topic of transformation, we ought to know who we should resemble. May the Lord minister to us through this poem today. I don't need to write anything over and above what I consider to be a marvelously worded poem.

Please read the poem and be blessed.

Jesus and Alexander

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three;
One lived and died for self; one died for you and me.
The Greek died on a throne; the Jew died on a cross;
One’s life triumphed seemed; the other a loss.
One led armies forth; the other walked alone;
One shed a whole world’s blood; the other gave His own.
One won the world in life and lost it all in death;
The other lost His life to win the whole world’s faith.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three;
One died in Babylon; and one on Calvary.
One gained all for self; and one Himself He gave;
One conquered every throne; the other every grave.
The one made himself god; The God made Himself less;
The one lived but to blast; the other but to bless!
When died the Greek, forever fell his throne of swords
But Jesus died to live forever Lord of lords.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three.
The Greek made all men slaves; the Jew made all men free.
One built a throne on blood; the other built on love,
The one was born of earth; the other from above;
One won all this earth, to lose all earth and heaven.
The other gave up all, that all to Him be given.
The Greek forever died; the Jew forever lives;
He loses all who get, and gains all things who gives.

- Anonymous -

May the Triune God empower us to resemble our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Enjoy a blessed day. More later.....

Monday, January 14, 2013


            When I committed to serve the Lord full time in August 2004, I encountered a life strengthening incident. I approached my friend – an experienced Christian missionary, and expressed my great relief to have departed from the evil, political, corrupt, and cut-throat secular world. But to my utter shock and surprise, he ruined my joy and said, "Welcome to a dirtier world." I couldn’t believe my ears! But today, I thank him wholeheartedly for that timely word of wisdom that keeps ringing in my ears always.

            I view the Bible as the word of the Triune God given to mankind to deliver us out of evil and sin to draw us into HIS presence with whom we will spend all of eternity. I consider the Bible as a revelation that draws the believer into the life-giving presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Cf. John 5:39-40). When we come into HIS presence, we are to live a life bearing good fruit (Matthew 7:18-20). Unless we remain in Christ, we cannot bear good fruit (Cf. John 15). When we remain in Christ, we are continually transformed into HIS likeness (Romans 8:29).

            These verses are the backbone to my blog. The Holy Bible says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). If transformation is one of the major themes of the Bible, then it is imperative that we open the eyes of our hearts to introspect how we as Christians ought to transform so that our Lord’s name be glorified.

            This is not about perfection ministering to imperfection. That equation works only between God and man. This blog is all about one imperfection challenging another. The end objective is that both should change for the better. May the good Lord guide us as we journey through our lives (Jude 24-25).  

            Please do not expect political correctness from this blog. My thoughts are to be governed by the Bible, so chide me if I walk away from the living Word.

            But, it is time to introspect. More on this later….enjoy a blessed day!