Jan 27, 2012

Fight the good fight, Finish the race. [26/365]

When I first moved to India for my university studies, I was flummoxed at the reaction of my friends and college mates when I'd reveal my spiritual beliefs. They would bob their head in a half nod, half disbelief. I was after all the only Christian guy in a Hindu college.

Later, I'd learn that India is a predominantly Hindu society with a strong dislike towards Christians, especially outsiders migrating to their cities. Christians were a minority here.

As a child that grows up to understand limits, sharing a classroom with Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Sikhs teaches you valuable lessons in living in a multi-cultural society like India.
My closest friend from college was a staunch Brahmin who'd ordinarily not want to be 'mixing' with people other than Brahmins, let alone some beef-eating Christian.

Sometimes, my curious classmates would quiz me on what Christianity really means, and what makes us different.
What made a difference was how I would let my classmates know Christ.
Telling a non Christian how our Lord and Savior is the difference between hell and heaven is no easy task.
Talking about a religion can only do very little to convincing and satisfying spiritual thirst. But practicing what you preach wins over even the most skeptical critic.
I'm encouraged by 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, where Paul encouraged the people of Corinth, exhorting them to adapt, to run and most importantly, not be disheartened or give up.

The single most difficult task of a Christian when explaining about Christ is in being able to rein themselves in. Couple of pointers that has held me in good stead:
Curb your enthusiasm - Many of my christian friends is filled with joy when a non Christian shows interest in learning about Christ. While enthusiasm is important, it is also important that we don't appear as over zealous missionaries out to get our numbers.
Don't trash their beliefs - Whatever they believe in, and whoever they worship, it is important that a Christian remembers that every word that you speak should encourage, not dishearten. Promote growth, not hurt and be sincere not conceited.
Do what Jesus would have done - Evangelize. Not ostracize. Judgement is His. Not ours to dish out. While Jesus Himself lived in an era of many religions, He never trashed any particular religion. He only encouraged their followers to ask the right questions to get the answers.
Never give up - Much like how there will be just one winner in a race, understand that for every much publicized evangelist, there are 20 who have sacrificed all their worldly comforts so that the marginalized have a better chance at life. The prize that awaits them in Heaven is what matters.
Humble yourself - So important because no one would want to learn from you if you were not as humble as Jesus.
Many sects of Christianity and other world religions have leaders who've created an aura about themselves that makes them demi gods. Want to boast? Boast about God.
Ask Him - Duh! For guidance, for the Words that you need to speak. Because we can always go wrong when we rely on ourselves, when we rely on God, you are merely His instrument and cannot go awry.

More than a decade and many life trials later, many of my friends from college are still awed by Christianity. Many of them have visited a church and have been encouraged by the Word of Christ.

Do you have a neighbor, a friend or a colleague who'd like to know about Christ?
Let Philippians 2:8 be your talisman.
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