Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts

Friday, January 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.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Awesomeness [9/365]

"Wow! This is freaking awesome!"
It's not everyday I get to visit a home that had it's own helipad and the other bells and whistles.


My friend from college (who shall remain anonymous), on the other hand was a little embarrassed by the way I was star struck. He even had an army of body guards with automatic weapons. I was thoroughly won over. That is if he was trying to impress me. But ofcourse, he was just happy to spend some time with me. It had been a long while since we met.
He was wealthy, influential and a really nice guy. 

But more importantly, he was deeply spiritual. 
That ticked all the right boxes in my list.


I was awestruck at how a person who studied with me at college and would occasionally talk to me, would in a span of a decade become the kind of person that you'd only read about in Business Times during the week and on Page 3 over the weekends. The transformation from being a gaunt geek to a suave sophisticated entrepreneur was complete.


I got to travel with him in his Rolls Royce, and indulged in a power lunch as well.

Most people I know would kill for a few minutes with such a person. But he was incredibly humble despite all the trappings around him. 
At the end of the day, I was inspired. I was moved at his humility but most importantly something about what he said. 
When I asked him what was the one point in his life when everything changed, he paused for a moment, and told me- 'It was when I surrendered everything to the Lord... and when He accepted me'. Profound, I thought. Coming from the mouth of a staunch Brahmin. 


We Christians like to claim Jesus all for ourselves. Well, the truth is He died for all humanity. And that includes the Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Jains, Scientologists and all the rest in between.

While I agree that Christianity does not promise that you'll be wealthy, healthy and wise, but what it does is peace. The apostle Paul summed it up in Philippians 4:11, when he told us how his faith in Christ has taught him how to be content with much or less, in poverty and plenty.

My good friend did not hit the jackpot as soon as he started believing in Christ. Surely, he did have his moments of despair, but as a person who pinned his faith and hope in Christ, he never gave up. 
He went on to testify how a strong and selfless prayer life is like antibiotics. 'Once prescribed, you must take them for the entire course. Interrupt it for a day and you're letting the devil enter your life again, and perhaps mutate to something even worse.'


Living the lives that we are, in a world that is filled with evil and where we are taught to repay evil with evil, we need our daily prayers. Lest we fall victim to the fallen angel.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Royalty Recognized

Question most often heard at traffic stops, airport counters, Q's of any kind and pretty much anywhere in India:
"Do you know who I am?"
Meaning: How dare a low life scum like you have the bladder to question my superiority and not recognize my royal status?

We, as humans feel that we need to be recognized and rewarded for whatever nonexistent power we imagine we possess.
I have seen ordinary people who when they get a windfall of unexpected money or good luck, are transformed overnight into a slave. A slave to money and power.

So the world is filled with people who are pompous and love to throw their weight around. Make their presence felt and authority recognized. But how many times would you hear of a person of absolute Royalty coming down, humbling Himself even to the point of being persecuted and killed for being humble? Sure, we've heard of Rags to Riches, but how many of the Riches to Rags?

We tend to assume that Christ lived a charmed life and in our mundane everyday life, we forget the enormity of His sacrifice.
I had a friend who faced the prospect of being jailed for a offense that he didn't commit. Overnight, he became a shell of his former self. Very humbled, very sad, he could not fathom the fact that he would loose all his freedom and the disgrace and the humiliation that he would need to go through having 'come down' to a life that would be much more lowly than what he was living then.
While he was still grieving and dreading the future, he also began to appreciate the small joys of life.
If you and I, knew that we would be executed by hanging for a crime that we didn't commit tomorrow, would you live your today more piously?
Maybe yes, maybe no, but we will certainly not be the most cheerful people around.
Brooding, we would replay and die a thousand times everyday.

Did Jesus go through all this?
Of course, we know that He was the creator and Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and The End. The Truth. 

Going through Philippians 2:5-11
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
We see one of the most enduring passages that tell us of how limitless, His love is for us.
But did He dread coming to earth, being born in a Manger, to parents who had the most lowly jobs in Israel then, to live a human life, resisting it's temptations of sin, and flesh. 
Did He ask His heavenly Father to make sure that He lived a charmed life? No. 
Did He invoke His Angels from heaven to come down and destroy all those who persecuted Him.
He could certainly have done this, with just a thought in His heart, but He didn't.

He chose to suffer the long way. Fully Human, Fully God, He could have given in to the temptation of avenging the cruel murder that He suffered. But He didn't.
The Scriptures right from the Old Testament tell us that the coming of Christ was only a matter of time and occasion. Rightly summarized, Jesus is concealed in the Old Testament, Revealed in the New Testament.
When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, we see the enormous grief that he went through. We of course know how everything turned out. But the scriptures show us that we are supposed to be obedient to our Heavenly Father. Even to the point to death. Our Father does not need our dollars. He needs our undying affection. He needs us to acknowledge Him.

Perhaps, if He came in His truest glory with all the Angels and Archangels of Heaven, history would have been different. But then, the Bible would have been just another biography.
Of all the religions across civilizations, Christianity is the only religion where humility is practiced and not just preached. Our Lord, The Creator of all that there is, was and is to come, is a humble God. He is not pompous, not self gratifying, does not seek Himself, is not arrogant, does not find fault, is ever forgiving, always looking for ways to give you another chance in life to redeem yourself from the fires of hell. 

Come to think of it, He does practice all that He preached. 

Maybe it's time we followed our true King, our real Father. After all, He did come for us.


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