We live in a world of chaos and disorder. The world has become quite complicated. This become a challenge when we live a simple faith in a complicated world. Life have become more complicated in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The public ministry of Jesus Christ was simple, and so was the gospel message. But as Christians, when we live in a complicated world, we are challenged to redefine our own Christian identity in relation to the world, and are propelled to change our strategy of witness to a more pragmatic, yet effective one. “Therefore, we are ambassadors of Christ, God making His appeal through us…” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Our presence in this world should reflect our relationship with the Lord. In this article, I hope to address some of the challenges we face living as Christ’s witness, and propose different approaches which will enhance our attitude towards the Christian responsibility of representing Christ, as His witnesses in this world.
Darkness to Light – Chaos to Order
In the book of Genesis, we can see the earth being a formless void and full of darkness. God, through creation, created light so that it can be separated from darkness and move into an order, rather than chaos. Light brings clarity and enables things to be in order. Jesus Christ is the light. Therefore, if the light is in us, we will be inspired to live accordance to His will. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Cor 4:6) If we truly have the light though Christ, we will be His true ambassadors. We can light the world only when we have the light. Let the light of Christ we bring to the world bring order and simplicity amid chaos and complications. Let our light be a guide for others to be a part of God’s plan of salvation.
Organizing our Faith through Doctrinal Foundation
Being ambassadors of Christ, representing Him to the world requires that we have a genuine relationship with Him. Living a life in Christ requires commitment, which in turn involves suffering, service, and sacrifice. This is the mark of true discipleship (Matthew 16:24). In order to do that, we should also be strong in our faith. This comes from our relationship with the Lord, through our spiritual work which includes: worship, prayers, fellowship, and bible study. We need to preserve the orthodoxy (true doctrine) of the church. Today, there are heresies that are coming up in popular Christianity, which are destroying the very fabric of Christian faith. It is important to take time and study the various doctrines of the church, which help us to organize our faith and to be able to genuinely communicate the gospel, without tainting it. “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (I Tim 4:16).
Having a logical and coherent understanding of our faith gives us more clarity in our relationship with the Lord, and enables us to proclaim the message of the gospel clearly and boldly. This was the focus of the reformation of the Malankara Church. Abraham Malpan & Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan, along with other reformers were focused on the centrality of Christ and the word in the faith, heritage, and traditions of the church, especially during a time where superstitions and other unbiblical practices were slowly getting inculcated into the very nature of the church. In our Diocese, various ministries emphasize doctrinal awareness, which helps us to live out a true faith through Christian maturity. This will also enable us to defend the faith.
Slowing down…to the pace of God
Observing the history of salvation in the lives of His people, we can see that God moved at His own pace. There are two Greek words for time which are used in the bible. Kairos refers to opportune or God’s time. Chronos refers to sequential or human time. When we look at the speed of human beings, it is much faster than the way God’s works. Kosuke Koyama, a famous Japanese theologian, once wrote a book Three Mile an Hour God, where he attributes this concept to God’s love. A look at when the Israelites were liberated from slavery in Egypt: a journey which should have taken around 10 days took a total of 40 years. The time gap was meant for spiritual growth and enabling the Israelites to return to God. In the same way, in a world where we focus on the human time, it is important we align ourselves with God’s time.
This becomes difficult when we expect answers in our own time. This is a challenge especially when we live in a society where we have instant gratification or immediate results. We need to allow God to work in accordance with His will in His time. That will also enable us to grow, just like the Israelites. In order for us to be true ambassadors, we need to tune ourselves to the divine voice, and that comes through patience and trust in the work of God.