Thursday, December 29, 2016

How Can We Be Good Christians This New Year? Who Is A Good Christian?

            It is almost traditional that we resolve to be better every New Year. But unless we understand what it means to be a good Christian, how could we be better Christians this New Year?

The Heart Of Good Christians: God Hates The Wicked Heart

            We could take resolutions to intensify our relationship with God. So we could resolve to pray more or fast more or increase our giving. But before we undertake such seemingly spiritual resolutions, let us examine whether our heart is in the right place or not. 

            God abhors the dishonest motive of a Christian heart.

            God hates Christians who are spiritually proud. God hates those who strive to gain popularity before men for their religious deeds. So God hates those who perform the following religious rituals for all the wrong reasons:

            1. Give much to their church or to the needy (cf. Matthew 6: 1-4).

            2. Pray wonderfully well (cf. Matthew 6: 5).

            3. Fast (cf. Matthew 6: 16-18).

            4. [Unjustly] judge others (cf. Matthew 7: 1-5).     

            5. Prophesy, drive out demons, perform signs and wonders (cf. Matthew 7: 21-23).

            While we should rightfully strive to give more, pray more, fast more often, and eagerly desire the spiritual gifts, we should ensure that we do not perform these spiritual deeds with dishonest motives e.g. to make more money or to be recognized / praised by men. 

The Heart Of Good Christians: God Loves The Humble Heart

            A cursory reading of the Sermon on the Mount would reveal that God loves those who are humble about their spirituality i.e. those who are not proud and feel sufficient of their spirituality. God loves those who mourn for their lack of spirituality, their sins and the sins of others.

            God loves the meek. In the words of John Wesley the meek are those who, “…hold all their passions and affections evenly balanced…They shall have all things really necessary for life and godliness. They shall enjoy whatever portion God hath given them.”1

            God loves those whose hearts are pure (those who love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength) and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. God loves the merciful; we are not to think more highly of ourselves, but to think of ourselves with sober discernment (cf. Romans 12: 3).

            This is who we should desire to be.  But it’s not easy!

Good Christians Overcome Satan

            The enemy of our souls, the devil, is actively striving to destroy the Christian, “Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5: 8b, NET).

            The greatest need for any Christian, who desires to love the Lord more and to grow stronger in HIM, is to defeat the devil every hour. If we are strong in the Lord and in HIS mighty power (Ephesians 6: 10), we would grow spiritually – in our relationship with God.

            In Ephesians 6, the Bible reveals a strategy to overcome the devil. In order to defeat the devil, we should integrate the following:

            A. Truth of God’s Word: to understand Christ, who is the epitome of truth, and defend the truth of God’s Word.

            B. Righteousness of God imputed upon us: to grow in holiness.

            C. Peace that transcends all understanding: to be at peace at all times and in all circumstances however difficult it may be.

            D. To live by faith in Christ: to remove all material aspects out of our realm and to focus only upon God always.

            E. Salvation so graciously offered to us: to share Christ and constantly work out our salvation.

            F. Pray: to pray for ourselves and the needs of people around us.

Good Christians Understand Their Specific Calling

            Christians are called to different spiritual vocations. Some Christians are called to be prophets, some called to be evangelists, some to be pastors, and others to be teachers (cf. Ephesians 4: 11). Similarly the Bible teaches, “For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12: 8-10, NET, Emphasis Mine).

            Good Christians, by spending time with God to understand HIS mind, would understand HIS specific calling for their lives.     

Conclusion

            In essence, a good Christian constantly desires to grow more in the Lord – to love HIM more and to allow HIM to transform his life so that he lives according to HIS will and pleasure. A good Christian is humble about his spirituality and constantly desires to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Furthermore, he strives to understand and fulfill the specific purpose for which he was created.

            In a general sense, these should be on our bucket list for this New Year and always: to be poor in spirit, meek, pure, merciful, and to hunger and thirst for righteousness, so to grow in our love for our dear Lord and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Let us desire to be strengthened in the Lord and in HIS mighty power, so that we can defeat the devil at all times. Moreover, when we read the Bible and pray, the precious Holy Spirit would impress upon us the need to grow in specific spiritual fields.

            One year or one life time is not sufficient to grow in our spirituality or to be better Christians. Hence, we should pray that this desire constantly remains in us and burns as wildfire in us, so that the mighty anointing of our Lord would be upon us always.

            Every New Year is a reminder for us to grow more and more in the Lord. May we treat this New Year as an occasion for us to be better Christians and may our lives glorify our dear Lord always.

            May the good Lord bless and keep you in HIS presence this New Year and always.

Endnotes:

1http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/wesleys-explanatory-notes/matthew/matthew-5.html (last accessed on 29th December 2016.)

2 comments:

pravinprathip j said...

Awesome brother nice message.Praise the Lord Jesus.

Raj Richard said...

Thank you brother Pravin. Remain blessed.