By bro Marc Wee
Recently my family has been playing a new board game. Edith will repeat the tagline "Do you have what it takes to save humanity?" and rattle on the rest of the introduction. I certainly do not have what it takes to save humanity, but I thought it would be great to have this statement as a daily reminder.
"Do you have what it takes to be a Christian?"
The word “takes” here is explained in the Oxford Dictionary as “(noun) an amount of something gained or acquired from one source or in one session”. "Do you have what it takes to be a Christian?" means what we gain on this earth which will help us be a faithful Christian. Such gains can be, for example, knowledge of the bible; love for God, our brothers and sisters; faith in our Lord and saviour Jesus.
In James 2:14-26, it is written that "But faith without works is dead." (v 17). James goes on to say how Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, Issac, and was called a friend of God because of his tremendous faith. But how do we know what God wants of us? Most importantly, how do we know how to carry out His will?
David knew what God wanted of him. “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” (Act 13:22 KJV) Consider “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. " Thayer’s definition of “will” is "What one wishes or has determined shall be done", (a) Of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ (b) Of what God wishes to be done by us
It’s clear that we must do what God wishes us to do! Rom 12:2 says: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Remember, we are part of this world but not of this world. God wants us to be the light that guides others away from sin, back to Him. We can only be the light by submitting to his will.
The Beatitudes (Luke 6:20-38) tells us how to live like Christ and carry out God’s will. Reading each verse, I find it a struggle in my daily life to practise these verses. They are so different from what the world wants us to be. For example, verse 25 says, “Woe unto you that are full. for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now. for ye shall mourn and weep.” Does it mean we should always be hungry and not filled? That we should not laugh and always be sad? Jesus is saying that we should not be obsessed with the earthly plenty we have, as it means we are actually spiritually lacking. We should strive to be “full” and “laugh” in our spiritual lives. Moreover, I think that my service to God should be like hunger -- it should come naturally to me to want to do good works again and again.
Verse 28: “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” We are asked to forgive these people and pray for them (v 35). Our human reaction is to get even, and think, ‘Why should they prosper and we suffer?’. But this is one area that God wants us to be faithful, to believe that he will not fail us in his judgement. Even when we are wronged, we should not sin. We pray and hope that these people will change and be saved when the judgement comes.
Verse 36: “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” To me, this is the key to this lesson. We should be as merciful as our Father. Although we sin and disobey him, he gives us chance after chance to repay Jesus’ sacrifice by repenting and returning to follow his word. God even promises that we will be given something that no one else can give us -- eternal life.
I think what I am trying to cover today can’t be put into a short article, but will take a whole lifetime of trying and seeking. However, I constantly remind myself that although God doesn't need me, he has offered me something that no one else can offer -- Eternal life in a perfect form. Despite my sin, as long as I repent and follow his will, I have hope to enjoy what he has promised us. Therefore, I try to learn as much as I can of what he asked of me through the Bible. What I gain from this life, I reap in the next. When I look around I see so many good examples that spur me to keep going. I hope that I will always have what it takes to be a Christian. Do you?