Can a Christian be against Christ?

The answer to the title of this article may seem obvious, however, it is not always so! Not all Christians are actually living a life that pleases Christ.

While having christian parents is enough to be called ‘christian’, it takes more than just being born in a Christian family to be on the side of Christ. The lines are way thinner than we imagine.

Once Jesus’ mother and brothers were waiting to meet Him standing outside a house and this news was brought to Jesus. He immediately looked at the crowd in front of Him, who filled that house, and said ‘who is my mother, and who are my brother’s?’ (Matthew 12:48)

I believe, it would have left the audience of Jesus completely baffled. If we were to make the same statement to our parents and siblings today, we would be calling for deep trouble! Yet Jesus did it, because his standards were different and His teachings were tough.

Jesus went against traditions, culture and expectations of His people and time. He gave the place of a mother, brother and sister to those who did the ‘will of God’, over his own blood related family. So if Jesus questioned His own family, would he spare you and me if we don’t believe in Him and do His will, just because our parents are christians?

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30

Being spiritually passive is a state where one chooses to be inactive in the affairs of the kingdom of God, often accompanied by reasoning such as ‘there is already too much on my plate’, ‘let me work hard now and when I retire I will serve Christ’, ‘am busy trying to hold everything together’, ‘if I don’t work, how will I feed my family’, ‘it’s a clergy job’. This is a very dangerous state to be in.

Jesus gave the place of a mother, brother and sister to those who did the ‘will of God’, over his own blood related family.

When God made us a new creation, He made us for a purpose with a heavenly mandate to be His ambassadors on earth. Not fulfilling or, for that matter, neglecting such a calling not only makes us disobedient to God but destroys the very work of Christ. And Jesus said, these are the people who are against Him!

In a world where everyone likes to play safe, Christ made the lines quite clear and expects us to choose the kind of life that abides by the law of Christ.

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LOVE DEFINED AND APPLIED

….and the greatest of these is LOVE

Have you heard the saying – ‘Love is blind’? And how it makes a person numb to logic? You may have also heard how people in love feel a hormonal rush. To simply put it, these are emotions that are capable to hijack a person. Hence, people push and accomplish major feats for love. But the question today is – Where did something as strong as this ‘love’ originate?

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

Man’s love
Love is the strongest of all emotions and yet at times becomes the toughest of all. For instance, a man can find it easy to feed a poor person out of compassion, but find it hard to speak a few kind words to his loved one sometimes. Even the purest of all earthly love, which is mother’s love, can fail to satisfy. Because human love has reservations and limitations. Yes, it is true. The sinful nature in man becomes his hindrance to love. Do you remember the times when you knew it was your mistake and still struggled to say sorry and show love?

God’s love –
God is described as love in the Bible. He is the very definition of love. God is seen as the highest form of love. He is without any malice, selfishness, unfaithfulness, bias. His love is also called agape love.

Love is the strongest of all emotions and yet at times becomes the toughest of all.

Every statement made in the Bible is not merely a historic claim but it is a truth claim. It doesn’t need any further validation. Yet, God in his generosity gave enough evidence to support His claims with action.

Even the statement “God is love” in 1 John 4:16, needs no validation. God still demonstrated it by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
1. He became our atoning sacrifice by dying on the cross, so that you and I can be free from sins. What have we done to deserve such a love?
2. He forgave the Roman soldiers who crucified him. This shows the extent of His love – forgiving even those who hurt him.
3. When He asked John to take care of his mother, Mary, even in the last minute shows how caring His love is. It also portrays His attention to our inmost needs.
4. His final statement before He died, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?”, displays how much He values His relationship with the father which also reciprocates in every other relationship on earth.

Jesus was able to exhibit this love because of the Spirit of God. In Romans 5:5, Paul says – ‘God’s love has been poured into us through the Spirit’. As we walk in step with the Spirit, the first attribute of the fruit of the Holy Spirit generated in us is LOVE.

Now, there are two kinds of love, one which comes from the flesh and one which comes from the Spirit of God – which brings us to our second question – Why has this love from God been given to us?

Well, the Bible gives us a two-fold application, commonly understood as vertical and horizontal elements, resembling the cross.

As we walk in step with the Spirit, the first attribute of the fruit of the Holy Spirit generated in us is LOVE.

Loving God


“..may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,”
Ephesians 3:18 NIV

The vertical element symbolises that this love is poured in us to quench our own need to be loved. It’s interesting to note – it was the cross, Jesus’ sacrifice, which made it possible for us to experience God’s love in a much deeper way. Today, God is not just some distant being trying to force His way in us. In fact, He is a father who seeks the best for us. We receive this understanding through the Spirit.

When you drink from God’s love and quench your thirst, there will always be more of his love to keep filling you.

And God desires that we would stop seeking this love in the things of this world, because the world doesn’t have the power to quench our thirst. On the other hand, God’s love is so vast and deep that no one will be able to finish drinking it fully. You’ll drink from His love and quench your thirst, and there will always be more of his love to keep filling you. Having tasted God’s love, we are able to love Him back on a much greater level by obeying His command.

Loving others

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:44-45 (NIV)

The horizontal element is to love everyone, even those whom we consider enemies. The Bible commands us to go one step further and pray for our enemies. Humanly speaking, our flesh will not allow to do so. Yet, with God’s love poured into our hearts and by the Spirit that empowers our inner man, we can love others. How can we give, what we don’t have? That’s why it is important for us to first be filled with God’s love.

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
1 John 4:20 NIV

With God’s love poured into our hearts and by the Spirit that empowers our inner man, we can love others.

There is an intricate connection between the horizontal and vertical element. One is derived from the other. For those who are in Christ, God puts the link. He puts the link between loving God and loving one another – like that between husband and wife, siblings, friends, and colleagues. The love of God poured into us does a full 360° work in us, without leaving any area untouched.

A person may have great faith, great hope, but if he or she is empty of love, that person cannot be used by Adonai.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love
. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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ANCHORING YOUR HOPE

Looking at all that has happened due to Covid-19, if you are reading this blog now – kudos to your perseverance! Who would have thought that something as small as a microorganism can be so deadly and devour so many lives? It is not only the body that the virus affects but also man’s soul (emotions and thinking). What many have lost, together with losing their many loved ones, is ‘hope’ – which is something that gives strength to individuals to cope through sorrow and distress. One finds it hard to press on forward with confidence, because of all the fatal blows he has received in life.

Yet, despite turmoil and suffering, those who hope in Christ remain strong.

The hope that the Bible promises is complete, concrete and reassuring.

This may sound strange. But let us first look at what is not hope according to Bible

  • Biblical hope is not mere positive thinking. If it was so, then it is hard to encourage oneself especially when one is shattered and depressed. In times of difficulty, we need external reassuring help which is only found in the bible.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”… For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 (NIV)

  • Biblical hope is not a dream, either. Dreams may or may not come true, especially considering the financial, emotional, mental exhaustion that occurs during illness or loss. Biblical hope offers us the true solution based on reality. So we need to be more realistic as we look for hope.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 (NIV)

  • Biblical hope is not just for riches, jobs and good health on earth. The truth is God wants us to hope for what is eternal because if one gets everything on earth, then there is nothing more to hope for. Biblical hope is weightier than earthly possessions. Rom 8:24

Biblical hope offers us the true solution based on reality.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)

The hope that Bible promises is complete, concrete and reassuring.

Let’s take a look at this verse, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

True hope is foolishness to people who are not in Christ, but for us who believe – it gives power to face every challenge with boldness.

First of all, hope is based in Christ. You can tap into this hope by receiving Christ into your hearts. Secondly, it is a hope of glory, i.e, a heavenly inheritance, glorious riches, glorious bodies, a peaceful state in eternal dibs. Thirdly, it is for those to whom it has been made known. Till date, this true hope remains a mystery for many. It is foolishness to people who are not in Christ, but for us who believe – it gives power to face every challenge with boldness.

What really anchors a believer’s hope? What makes it unshakeable and true?

1. Jesus Christ, our forerunner

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

For a sinner who hopes in Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, there is no fear of being let down by Jesus.

True hope springs from the message of Christ. Because Jesus, left His heavenly splendour with all its powers and became nothing, a human being. He took the path of suffering, pain, the cross and, most importantly, took the place of us sinners being punished for our transgressions. He defeated death, received a rich welcome and sat on the heavenly throne next to the father and will sit as a judge of both the living and the dead. So, for a sinner who hopes in Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, there is no fear of being let down by Jesus. He himself continues to live to intercede for our salvation, just as He did for Peter.

2. Covenant promises by the Father

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Hebrews 8:12-13 (NIV)

We can rest assured that all our efforts in the Lord and for the Lord won’t be in vain but will result in better promises.

God has promised, through the new covenant, to be merciful for our unrighteousness and remember our sins no more. We know, these promises were not spoken by God in haste. Unlike us humans who conveniently lie, yahwah – God – is absolutely faithful. The whole Bible in itself proves this truth. The life of Israelites, Abraham and David are the best examples. The word of God boosts our confidence. We can rest assured that all our efforts in the Lord and for the Lord won’t be in vain but will result in better promises. And the greatest promise is that we will be co-heirs with Christ in his inheritance.

3. Holy Spirit, as a seal

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

2 Corinthians 5:5 (NKJV)

Holy Spirit provides life and power to our mortal bodies giving us hope, just as He exerted power in Christ Jesus, when He raised Him from the dead and brought Him to life.

As we speak of hope, we cannot do so without talking about the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, who is an assurance of what is to come for those who believe in Jesus Christ. He continues to live to reveal the heart and mind of God to us. But, most importantly, He is a guarantee of what is to come. Just as in the case of a betrothal, the man commits and assures the girl’s family that he is going to come back to take her to be his wife.

Holy Spirit continuously prompts you to lead you into all truth, convicting you of His righteousness. He provides life and power to our mortal bodies giving us hope, just as He exerted power in Christ Jesus, when He raised Him from the dead and brought Him to life.

For believers in Christ today, ‘hope’ for tomorrow is not just sympathy shown by God, it is a prerogative.

Paul says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NKJV)

So, for believers in Christ today, ‘hope’ for tomorrow is not just sympathy shown by God, it is a prerogative. It is an entitlement which God himself has given through Jesus. Our hope is secured and anchored in Christ and by God himself because nothing can separate us from love of God that is in Christ. So we boast all the more in our hope. Because this hope will not put us to shame or result in disappointment.

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FAITH : Placing your trust in Jesus and His promises

Paul, a very fierce character in the New Testament, who nearly destroyed the church because of their ‘faith in Jesus’, later puts himself on the frontline and becomes a pioneer of the same faith among gentiles.

In 1 Timothy 2:5‭-‬7, Paul says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.”

This story is not just about Paul. Million and billion others after Paul have joined this sect which is called ‘The Way’, and today people call it ‘Christianity’.

You might be wondering why talk about it through this blog? Because many are curious. ‘what really compels these people’ and some are trying hard to fill this curiosity with accusations and stories of people giving money or some perks to convert others to Christianity. While I agree there could be some cases which may be true, it comprises less than 1% of such people who do this for their gain. Let us not push aside the remaining 99% people’s testimony. Viewing them with the same lens as the 1% is incorrect.

For example, simply because we have some murderers in the country. It doesn’t make rest of the people in the country, murderers.

So, let’s look at the core of what really urges people to genuinely believe and follow Jesus Christ inspite of severe persecution.

• Love of God

This love, which is from God, is evident in Christ and in the church which is also called the ‘Body of Christ’.

Jesus demonstrated what it means to love by sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, for the forgiveness of our sins.

Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:29 says – “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

Likewise in Matthew 5:44, He says, “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”

Jesus, himself, is an example when it comes to following these commands.

He demonstrated what it means to love by sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, for the forgiveness of our sins.

How could we reject such a love? Reject such a forgiveness and still walk in our iniquities? It is truly for freedom that Christ set us free!

• Eternal life

We may all be familiar with the scripture in John 3:16 that says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

But have you heard of this passage in Hebrews 2:14-15 that says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Without Christ, there is no way one can make it to heaven.

So Jesus’ dying on the cross was not just a sign of love, but a ‘hefty price’ He paid with His body and blood to make provision for eternal life. In short, He became our atoning sacrifice. He did this so that you and I can be free of condemnation. In others words, without Christ there is no way one can make it to heaven.

Such a price who can pay to purchase you from death’s hold on you? Jesus came to save us from our iniquities.

• Sonship and Companionship

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “ Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
Galatians 4:4‭-‬7

We cannot understand the Gospel without understanding the terms – grace and free.

There is a new mandate for us as new creation, to be called His sons – sons of the Almighty God and Co-heirs with Christ. This is all at the cost of just believing in Jesus Christ.

We cannot understand the Gospel without understanding the terms – grace and free. It is just like how we cannot overlook a sale of 70% or 90% on online shopping. In fact, Jesus is giving salvation for free. That is why you will notice that the terms grace and free are often repeated in the New Testament. Companionship with the constant presence of the Holy Spirit is an added bonus.


We are living in times of identity crisis, emotional breakdowns, loneliness and depression. The Bible provides a perfect solution to our problems which is to just believe in the one, Jesus, who gave His life as a ransom for us.

Are you willing to put your faith in Jesus today?

If yes, drop a comment below saying, ‘I put my faith in Jesus Christ.’

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HOW CAN DIVISION BE FROM GOD?

In today’s church, there is tremondous emphasis on unity and most definitely the Bible, at many instances, encourages us to be like minded. So it isn’t uncommon for us to associate separation and disunity to the devil and unity as God’s work. Yet, according to the Bible, that is not always true. God can and has used seperation as much as He uses unity for His purposes.

We see how God himself used separation on the very first day of creation, is going to use it on the last day of this earth and has used it and is using it many times inbetween as well.

On the very first day of creation, God separated light from darkness (Genesis 1:4). Even today, light and darkness cannot coexist. On the very last day of this earth, God is going to separate his sheep from goats, that is those who believe in Jesus and follow Him from those who don’t believe in Jesus (Matthew 25:32).

We see how God himself used separation on the very first day of creation, is going to use it on the last day of this earth and has used it and is using it many times inbetween as well.

So, let’s understand what the Bible really has to say about separation –

• SEPARATION TO PROTECT

When the Israelites were faced with a hopeless situation with the Red sea in front of them and eqpytians behind them trying to hunt them down, God’s Shekinah glory miraculously came in between the Israelites and Egyptians and they were separated. None of them could go on either side (Exodus 14:20). And God split the Red Sea (which was united) for the Israelites to crossover to the other side. When the Israelites crossed safely, He used the same Red Sea to come upon the Egyptians who were now trying to chase the Israelites. Suddenly the sea came together and all the Egyptians there died (Exodus14:28).

This is a clear instance when God uses his glory and power to separate to protect His people.

God’s promise for you “I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Isaiah 45:2

God uses his glory and power to separate to protect His people.

• SEPARATION TO GROW

This might sound strange, but it is true. For example, when it comes to marriage, God commands man to leave his mother and father and be united to his wife. This means to grow as a family, God’s principles require a man to separate from his parents (Genesis 2:24).

We may have to leave our comfort zone, sometimes our families, friends, relatives and go to a place where no one has gone before to witness growth in God’s kingdom.

Even the hard-earned money that we gather, we redistribute (divide) into many areas like food, clothing, shelter, investments and more to see fruit.

To see His kingdom expand, we ought to go into the world. This means, we may have to leave our comfort zone, sometimes our families, friends, relatives and go to a place where no one has gone before to witness growth in God’s kingdom.

• SEPARATION FOR COMPLETE DEPENDENCE ON GOD

This one is going to be a little hard to accept. Over the past year, we have seen so many loved ones rest in the Lord, so many losing jobs, so many having to move places. One of the reasons that God allows such situations is that we would rely on him completely and trust him to come through in the toughest of tough situations. In Gideon’s life, when he had a huge army of 32,000 soldiers to fight his enemies, God reduced their number to just 300 men (Judges 7:7). It seemed impossible to even think they could overcome their enemies. And don’t forget, when God called Gideon out of the fear of his enemies, he was threshing wheat by hiding in a wine press.

One of the reason God allows separation from people, jobs, places and other things is so that we would rely on him completely and trust him to come through in the toughest of tough situations.

• SEPERATION AS A WEAPON

God could also cause confusion among your enemies who are united to see you destroyed to save you.

Confusion is also another weapon of separation that we see God using in the Bible. In the old testament, we see how confusion is commonly used among the enemies fighting Israel. Whenever God would want to save the Israelites miraculously, God would cause confusion among the enemies camp (who were united by devil) to kill each other. In some cases, the enemies would be confused and harm each other to an extent where Israel would be victorious without even raising a sword (2 Chronicles 20:24).

Today, God could also cause confusion among your enemies who are united to see you destroyed to save you. All you need to do is ask God and bow down in prayer and trust Him.

• SEPERATION TO CONSECRATE

The meaning of consecration is ‘separating oneself to be holy for the Lord’. God, in the past, has called individuals, people groups and even nations to be consecrated for him (Exodus 19:5-6). Even today, the church, which is the pillar of truth, ought to consecrate itself from every hollow philosophy which doesn’t depend on Christ but rather on traditions and elemental spiritual forces. We need to guard ourselves from every teaching which has the pretense of knowledge but causes us to deviate from sound doctrine.

Even today, the church, which is the pillar of truth, ought to consecrate itself from every hollow philosophy which doesn’t depend on Christ but rather on traditions and elemental spiritual forces.

There is an emphasis, today, by preachers to call preachers, pastors and leaders from across all denominations to unite – this by giving a blind eye to each other’s theology and doctrine. Is this the kind of unity God desires? By doing so, we are making our churches lower their guard and become vulnerable to false teaching and teachers.

Let’s rework our theology (understanding of God) not just based on what we hear from preachers, because they are also men who can err in their teachings. Instead, let’s rework it based on what we read from the Bible, the solid rock foundation.

Be wise! Build yourself on the word of God, the solid foundation.’

God can use separation too, as much as unity, to build His kingdom!

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SET APART AND FOR A PURPOSE

Sanctification explained

The word sanctification comes from the word ‘Hagiosmos’, which means ‘set apart from everything else and dedicated for God’s use’. In simpler words, ‘being made Holy for God’.

In the Old Testament, there was the ‘Sanctuary’, which comes from the same root word as sanctification. The sanctuary is a place set apart and dedicated for Yahweh to dwell, also known as the Most Holy Place. And then, in the New Testament, we see how God sets apart individuals and not just places for this very purpose. God is setting apart individuals by sanctifying them from within.

1 Corinthians 6 : 19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

“It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.”

So what really brought that difference between the two testaments? What brought the change from the ‘sanctuary – a place’ being sanctified to ‘individuals’ being sanctified? The answer is Jesus Christ!

What Jesus prayed to God in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 is very crucial for us to understand sanctification.
Jesus prayed in John 17 : 19, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”

Here, first of all, Jesus says that He was sanctifying himself. And, how do we see that He sanctified himself? Going by the meaning of the word sanctification, He set himself apart, kept himself pure and without sin. He did not give into the pleasures of the world. Nor did he use His God-given gifts to make his life comfortable, unlike so many men do for their personal gain. Rather, He made himself available for God, for the purposes that God intended for Him – for the Cross, for humiliation, for insults, for pain, for flogging, for resurrection. And He declared all these even before they took place.

Luke 18:32-33 says, “He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

Secondly, when Jesus prayed for his disciples to be ‘truly sanctified’, it is important to note that the disciples had already left everything and everyone behind, yet according to Jesus, ‘true sanctification’ did not even begin in them thus far. So this shows us that mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy. Likewise, the offerings and sacrifices offered by people year after year in the Old Testament could not sanctify them.

Mere human efforts cannot help a man sanctify himself or make himself holy.

People can do wonders in personal and professional lives, and still not be separated from sin and the consequences of sin, which is death. Because of which, they are not truly ‘holy’ to the Lord. Each and every person needs Jesus’ sanctification to truly be sanctified. It is the blood of Jesus, offered without blemish through the spirit, that sanctifies all those who believe in Him. This means, a person must put his or her faith in Jesus for the work of true sanctification to begin in them.

The author of Hebrew points us to this vital truth, in Hebrews 9 : 14, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

God’s purpose of sanctification in the lives of individuals is two-fold –

  • BEING SET APART

God’s work of sanctification is to free people from bondage of sin, addiction, the power of satan and worldly philosophies (which at times comes from your own family and friends).

A lot of people, after accepting Jesus as their personal saviour, are taken on a guilt trip by the devil about what happened, what they could do or couldn’t do in the past. Satan also constantly works to make people slaves to him by making them slaves to sin, slaves to people, slaves to idols; causing them to forget the sanctification power of God in them that set them apart.

Press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God

As Christ desires, let us throw off everything that entangles us and makes us slaves to sin again and instead let us keep ourselves pure and holy. Through all these experiences that we go through, we know that sanctification is an ongoing process until we die. No, it is not a one time event. So, press on to be rooted in Christ by a constant and continual renewal of your mind with God’s word and by remaining in communion with God. Both of these are very important for the sanctification process to fully take place in our lives.

“to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” – Acts 26:18

Paul reminds the believers in the church in Corinth, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

  • DEDICATED FOR GOD’S PURPOSE

God is sanctifying us so that we can fully represent Him in this world, be his ambassadors, share His Gospel, be that aroma of fragrance to the people who are oppressed, suffering and ailing, to share His love and to share the truth in love.

Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

Most often, we are not prepared to face a situation that requires us to give a reason for our hope in Jesus. It could be because of lack of courage or the feeling of not being equipped. We tend to avoid such opportunities that God creates in our lives. Let us remember that we are sanctified by God for this very purpose. Let us embrace our calling and purpose on earth and do it diligently.

The apostle Peter, reminds us in 1 Peter 2 : 9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”

HOW MUCH DOES GOD EXPECT FROM US?

Faith. Heart. Renewed Mind.

with everything else that we can give him.

Have you experienced this? – Writing an exam where you filled two pages as an answer to a question and felt very happy, but finally the teacher marked you less for the answer and made a comment, “you have written a different answer” or “your answer is not satisfactory”? In the same way, we might have answered certain questions in our lives by giving God offerings, alms and talents and felt very happy about it; yet in the end God is not fully pleased.

The answer, actually, lies in the question. If only we had paid more attention to the question, we would have answered it better and scored better marks. Similarly, if we pay attention to what God really desires of us and not just, what we feel like giving Him, we would really do well. God wants us to hit the bull’s-eye and not just the periphery! Offering, alms and talents are the periphery, whereas, faith, heart and a renewed mind are bull’s-eye.

So, the question is, how much does God expect from us?

  • MORE THAN MERE WORKS – HE DESIRES FAITH

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

In this verse, Jesus desires us to be righteous! We know that. We try to attain it on our own strength by giving to the church, by going to Jerusalem, by being baptized in River Jordan, by wearing white clothes, by removing all ornaments.

Our Christian walk should begin and end with faith!

Let me tell you, that’s the wrong answer! This is the righteousness of the Pharisees, which Jesus wants us to surpass. If we think we can please God or receive eternal life through all of this, we will not even enter heaven!

So, how can our righteousness surpass that of the Pharisees?

For the Pharisees, doing good works – like giving to the poor, giving offerings, teaching, and ministry was a full time job. For us, we have our own career. Unlike the 1st century, in this 21st century we have to have work, work and work to make our living. It is close to impossible for us to even match up to their good works. However, Jesus wants us to surpass their righteousness. What He wants is our righteousness to be based on faith and not on works. Our Christian walk should begin and end with faith! Many begin well but do not end well. We need faith to enter and continue in his Kingdom. Towards the end of his life, Paul says, ‘I have kept the faith’.

He expects us go to him ‘in faith’ for everything we need, so that we would use the privilege of prayer to receive all good things from Him. We should walk, sit and stand, not in our own strength, not in our wisdom, rather by trusting Jesus. This is important so that every human boasting is cancelled and it will all result only in praise, glory and thanksgiving to God.

It all starts with a mustard seed like faith, which is more than enough to move mountains in your life!

  • MORE THAN MERE WORDS OR LOOKS – HE DESIRES THE HEART

I’m sure most of us can testify about how during these COVID-19 times, we have learnt to cook new dishes and bake new stuff. Finally, after all the effort, we look at the sink and utensils have piled up (Husbands, hope you are helping your wives as you enjoy the new meal).  Nevertheless, after all the tiredness and enjoyment, we clean the vessels inside out. Do we only clean the outside and leave the inside dirty? No, we don’t! Yet, somehow, this is what we end up doing with our lives. Clean up on the outside, but leave the inside dirty.

God says, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Mat 15:8-9

We can get so caught up in life and miss the main part. Miss what God really desires from us. We honor God with our words, worship God, follow certain teachings, but we are still not pleasing God. Simply because our hearts are far from Him.

Some of us who are born in Christian families know how to externalize our faith quite well but fail on internalizing it. We can like Christian posts on social media or write something very God-like, talk spiritual and wear good clothes (Saris, Suits, dresses) to church, and still have hearts that are not filled with God.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalms 51:16-17

We honor God with our words, worship God, follow certain teachings, but we are still not pleasing God. Simply because our hearts are far from Him.

David understood this. He earnestly took his heart to the Lord. He prayed seven times a day despite being a King! How much more do we need to pray, guard, and protect our hearts?

Can you offer your hearts to the Lord? Even as you are reading this, can you make a small prayer in your hearts? Praying, ‘Lord I have been bringing things to you, thinking that you would be pleased with it, but have kept the only thing that you desire the most, ‘my heart’ away from you. Today I give it to you completely as an offering. You fill it with yourself! Amen.’

  • MORE THAN MERELY KEEPING GOD AS THE LAST RESORT – HE DESIRES A RENEWED MIND

To play in the Indian Cricket team, one needs passion, good health, but most importantly, dedication! They need to give in hours and hours of practice, both on and off-season. You would not find a cricketer, who wants to play international cricket, resting during lockdown. Rather always beating their bodies down and strengthening their muscles, so that when the appointed time comes they are ready and prepared!

If we constantly renew our mind in His word, we will be able to test and approve his pleasing will for our lives. Until then, we will keep rejecting his will.

But, we on the other hand, fill our minds with junk from social media, wrong company, wrong relationships, wrong decisions and then when we get into a mess, we run to God for a breakthrough! Then, we wonder why God is silent and not responding, and go around asking people to pray for us and still nothing happens. It leaves us broken-hearted and hurt. We need to breakout of self-pity and realise that it was never his will.

We tend to do what we like and then try to grapple with God for his will. We cannot twist God’s arm or His word to accomplish our desire! No Shortcuts!

The Word of God says in Romans 12 : 2, ”Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

What we need to do, like a sportsperson, is allow God’s word to dwell in us both in and out of season. Let His word renew us. Stay in that secret place, like the larva that grows into a butterfly inside a cocoon. If we constantly renew our mind in His word, we will be able to test and approve his pleasing will for our lives. Until then, we will keep rejecting his will.

Take time to read your Bible, and you will be a changed man!

God wants us to hit the bull’s-eye and not just the periphery! Offering, alms and talents are the periphery, whereas, faith, heart and a renewed mind are bull’s-eye.

Is what we are offering to God and what He actually desires, the same?

We don’t mind giving God our offering, alms and talents. Yet, for God, there is something more precious – our faith, heart and a renewed mind. Can you offer these to God by not neglecting the former? This is how much God expects from us.

If we do this, then we won’t struggle in our giving, then we will be a pleasing living sacrifice to God. And, then we will be able to give more and more and not feel bad but blessed!

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7 WAYS IDOLS ENTER A BELIEVER’S LIFE

Fear the LORD your God, serve him only..

DEUTERONOMY 6 : 13

Yahweh, God, has detested idols from the beginning. In fact, a large portion of the Old Testament shows how God’s people, the Israelites, turned to idols so quickly and God was against it.

Idols are anything that take the place of God in our life! It can be technology, career, people, relationships, social media, traditions, culture, statistics, logic, science, role models.

The question is, can a born-again believer go back to idolatry? Yes, that is possible. Scripture points out to this –

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.Therefore, do not be partakers with them. Ephesians 5:5-7 NKJV

Let’s look at seven ways idols can enter a believer’s life and turn us away from God –

  1. WHEN MARRIED TO AN UNBELIEVER

I have oftentimes heard believers say, ‘He or she will believe in Jesus after we get married’. The truth is that he or she may or may not! It all depends on the grace of God and your behaviour towards your spouse (after you get married).

If we obey God and marry a believer in Christ, we can avoid letting idols enter our lives

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. Numbers 25:1-3 

People who marry this way find it hard to go to church on Sundays, leave alone attending weekly prayers or bible studies. Some find it hard to even say ‘no’ to idol worship. Still some, unfortunately, turn away from their faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s remember that even the wisest man on earth, King Solomon, could not take stand! Can you imagine? Even the wisest couldn’t resist.

There are a few reasons believers end up marrying unbelievers –

  • Parents do not bring up children in the word of God.
  • We do not seek his will (Bible) for marriage, instead choose based on our emotions.
  • We lack patience and are in a hurry to get married.
  • We come under pressure to marry people of the same caste or denomination.

Instead, if we obey God and marry a believer in Christ, we can avoid letting idols enter our lives. There is always wisdom in what God says!

  1. WHEN OUR ENVIRONMENT IS IMPURE

 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Mathew 6:22-23

Words and visuals have great power to affect our thinking or even shape our very DNA! Let nothing impure stay in our environment.

This is something we need to watch out for. With whom or where do we spend most of our time? Whom do we listen to and look up to? What we are watching on Netflix, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook? Because words and visuals have great power to affect our thinking or even shape our very DNA! And it is based on this that we act. This does not stop with us, but it goes down to our children and our children’s children!

Watch out for those who have the appearance of light but are full of darkness (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). They are wolf coming in sheepskin, looking to devour men and lead them astray.

When Gibeonites approached Joshua in disguise as though they were coming from a distant land in sack clothes and with dried bread, they were in fact from the neighborhood. Joshua and the elders did not realise, and instead pitied and made an oath to protect them. What happened? The land that was supposed to be entirely for Israelites, now had a share given to the Gibeonites because of the oath.

Let nothing impure stay in our environment!

  1. WHEN GREED CONTROLS OUR ACTIONS

In Joshua 7:1-21, we see how a man named Achan took some plunder from Babylon because he found them beautiful; when God had told them not to. He even hid it inside his tent. Achan saw these things as very beautiful, very costly. It was appealing to the eyes and thought these will make him wealthy. However, his greed made him come against God and God’s anger burnt against the whole of Israel.

Look for inheritance in heaven and not on earth, because only heaven lasts for eternity.

The same greed made satan fall from heaven. He coveted God’s throne, which made him lose his position in heaven and is condemned to hell eternally! Satan also used a forbidden fruit, appealing to the eyes, to deceive Adam and Eve with a lie that they will become like God. They forgot that that they were already created in God’s image. Greed took them over! Satan tried it on Jesus too, by showing him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.

What is satan showing you to make you greedy? Money, power, women, men, riches, etc. They all will fade away. Bible says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27).

Look for inheritance in heaven and not on earth, because only heaven lasts for eternity.

  1. WHEN WE WORSHIP SCULPTURES, IMAGES

Have some of us considered how we might have been carrying idols all along? Let me explain this. God clearly tells us in His word that we must not form idols of any kind. Not even images and sculptors of Jesus!

Slowly but surely, you will see yourself following the things and people of whom you make sculptures and images, worshiping them unknowingly or knowingly.

You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air,or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. Deu 4:15-19

Unfortunately, we see it as a common practice to have images of Christ and other people and things in our homes, mobiles screens, cars and ornaments. Some of us, even in our churches. Slowly but surely, you will see yourself following these things and people, worshiping them unknowingly or knowingly.

Let us replace all of them with scriptures today! Not some other day! If you do it, you will see the change in the atmosphere!

  1. WHEN OUR COMMUNICATION WITH GOD AND HIS PEOPLE STOPS

Some of us choose to stop praying and reading God’s word. Later, when we end up not being able to hear God, see his hand, his miracles and healing in our lives, we question God for not speaking to us. Then, we eventually turn to another for the answer! This is just like what the Israelites did in the wilderness.

There are some who like to adapt to the culture to please people, to tradition to please ancestors, to religion to please themselves and in the end, miss out on pleasing God.

Exodus 32:1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

There are some who like to adapt to the culture to please people, to tradition to please ancestors, to religion to please themselves and in the end, miss out on pleasing God. They can’t make out the difference between culture, tradition, religion from kingdom, simply because their lives are not being built on solid foundation. These days we come across this to an extent, where a believer dating someone tells them, ‘If you don’t agree to sleep before marriage, you are religious!’ When the line between truth and culture or religion is being pushed and made thinner, sin will become the new norm!

That is why, when our communication with God and His people stops and we are not rooted and built-up in Christ, we begin to give ourselves to hollow and deceptive philosophies based on human traditions and demonic in nature.

Let’s restart today!

  1. WHEN WE LIVE A DISOBEDIENT LIFE

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 1 John 3:9

One of the ways to train ourselves to lift the spirit over the flesh is by fasting and praying. Why? On one hand, we are intentionally making efforts to strengthen our Spirit man and on the other, we are receiving more grace to overcome sins! 

Many try to use the logic, ‘I have been saved by grace and not by works, so I don’t need to prove my salvation with works’. Yes, we are saved by grace, but because the seed of God (Jesus) is in us and we have received a new heart, we cannot go on sinning. We will always be deeply convicted of our sins and be led to repent! I have seen it in my life! The day I was saved, I realised my sins and I repented of them. Those who grow in the Lord, read the Bible and pray, will themselves come across certain sins and patterns in their life and overcome them.

Is it possible to be very passionate when born again but over period of time, slack back and reach a point where sin doesn’t prick us anymore? Yes, our spirit man becomes weak when we choose to listen to more of the flesh in our spiritual journey and then our decisions, speech, conduct, emotions, and feeling are being led by the flesh. One of the ways to train ourselves to lift the spirit over the flesh is by fasting and praying. Why? On one hand, we are intentionally making efforts to strengthen our Spirit man and on the other, we are receiving more grace to overcome sins! 

Let there be no loopholes (unrepented sins) for Satan to enter!

  1. WHEN OUR FELLOWSHIPPING IS JUST AN EVENT

This is a dangerous place for any of us to be in! Children of God, over the years, have started to see correction and rebuke within the body of Christ as an offense.

Let’s open ourselves to fellowship with saints, and let church be about doing life together.

This is because spiritual pride has taken over humility, we are casual about sin, not giving importance to the work of the Holy Spirit, and selectively hearing what suits us. This is why some people have idolised certain preachers, whose teachings match their lifestyle. They do this so that they don’t have to beat their body down.

We read about Phinehas, a man whom God commended for his zeal and act of killing an Israelite man and Moabite women for their disobedience. (Numbers 25:13) Did God not stop the plague based on Phinehas’ act?

Then why do we hate correction today? Let’s open ourselves to fellowship with saints, and let church be about doing life together. We must not and cannot sit silent when we see sin creeping into the body of Christ.

Let us, as believers, guard ourselves from making idols and turning away from the one true God. As Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

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PLACING YOUR FAITH IN JESUS

Jesus said, “Have faith in God…”

Mark 11 : 22

 “Do you still have no faith?” Jesus said to his disciples right after he calmed a stormy wind and raging waters with a command. It was evening, after a day of ministering to large crowds Jesus and his disciples were travelling in a boat across a lake. Jesus was sleeping with his head on a pillow, when a bad wind came up on the lake and the water entered the boat and it was almost full of water. His disciples were perplexed, scared and had no idea how to control the situation. Then they realised that Jesus was in their boat yet he was sleeping, calm and composed. ‘Who can save us?’ they thought and they knew Jesus could. They knew God himself was in their boat. Yet, their response was to put in their own efforts. They thought if Jesus did not wake up and do something, they would drown and die. So they hurriedly woke him up and said, ‘don’t you care about us if we die?’

Maybe, most of us are in similar situations. We are in a place where our boat is sinking, we have no control over our situation. Maybe it is a job that is slipping away, or finances running dry. We are living in a time where businesses are sinking, the economy is hitting rock bottom. You probably are struggling in your relationship with God and people, or you are in a position where people are looking up to you to do something and save the sinking ship. You don’t know what to do, so you want to take control and do something.

Hold on, God is calling you to him and asking you to have faith in Him.

There were seven simple reasons why the disciples could have remained calm and placed their faith in Jesus; and the same reasons for us to place our faith in Jesus in these storms of life –

  • HE IS A PROMISE KEEPER

To the disciples he said, come lets go across the lake Luke 4:35

Jesus had already told His disciples that they will go across the lake. He had spoken it and God never fails the word He gives.

What is the word God has spoken to you? What was the last thing He told you before the lockdown or the situation that faces you now? Recall the promises, the word that the Lord has given you and cling on to it. Listen to it again, search for it again. Because God brings to fruition every word that He has spoken.

…if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Tim 2:13

Or are you someone who has not heard anything from God yet. Could it be because of your busyness? Could it be because your ears are listening to too many voices?

Because God brings to fruition every word that He has spoken.

Take time to receive fresh promises from God. In the midst of the chaos, God wants to speak to us. The promises of God will give you faith. The Word of God doesn’t return back to Him without bearing the fruit He desires. It might take a while, but be patient and trust God. He will restore you.

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19

  • HE IS ALL POWERFUL

Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The followers went and woke him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!” Mark 4:38

Remember and remind yourself – the God who is in your boat is all powerful.

The words of his disciples were not words of faith. They were words of disappointment, of despair, lack of faith and disbelief. These words make us think that God does not care. Despite having seen miracles that Jesus performed even before getting into the boat, they did not believe that Jesus could control the situation and their lives.

Even the Israelites did not believe God, though they saw how He delivered them from the Egyptians. They saw the red sea parting. What more? Yet in the wilderness, they did not have faith to believe that God can come through. After witnessing God so many times in our own lives, where do we stand today? Where is our faith? Some of us were brought out from situations like death to life, brokenness to being mended, and loneliness to being comforted.  Remember and remind yourself – the God who is in your boat is all powerful.

  • HE IS A PRUNING FATHER

Jesus was in their boat, and he slept. He is God, He was aware this would happen. Yet He was sleeping because He wanted to strengthen the faith of the disciples. Our God likes to put us in the test to prune away everything from our lives that is not from Him.

If we allow God to prune us, we will bear much fruit!

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:2

These situations bring the bad in and around us to surface. The reality comes out and it shows us where our heart is inclined. For all those who are workaholics, God is pruning you to give Him your time. For all those who thought ministry is everything, God is working in you to prioritise family. For all those who always try to run away from home because of your broken relationships, God wants you to mend them.

If we allow God to prune us, we will bear much fruit!

  • HE IS THE PATHWAY

The disciples had to run to Jesus, have faith in Him to come through this situation.

When we are faced with hopeless situations, do we turn and look up to God or murmur, doubt God and get frustrated? The Israelites were in a similar situation when God sent fiery serpents among them because of their sins and many died. But, God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole and that whoever looks at it will live and not die.

For all those who are cursing and murmuring against God and against his children, those saying to themselves that there is no God – Remember, God is stopping everything around you just so that you could look to him and believe in Him.

There may be so many things at stake, but, the only way out is Jesus! So lift your head up to Jesus and be saved!

 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him – John 3:14-15

You cannot overcome this situation on your own. It could be your marriage, a broken relationship, an issue related to your job. There may be so many things at stake, but, the only way out is Jesus! So lift your head up to Jesus and be saved!

  • HE IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE

Jesus was sleeping with his head on a pillow; he was full of peace and calm.

But (the kingdom of God is) of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Rom 14:17

God wants you to have peace. This peace comes from you remaining steadfast in God. You cannot be going back and forth from this God to another god (even habits or things that we place above God).

This peace comes from you being rooted in scriptures and knowing God.

Some of us are living in constant fear and without perfect peace because we have not been able to distinguish good from evil. Ask God to give you discernment and a heart that relies on Him.

  • HE IS OUR PROVIDER

The disciples knew that Jesus could provide for their needs, because they had just witnessed a miracle. Yet, in the midst of the storm they seem to have forgotten that Jesus was their provider.

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalms 34:10

God will not only supply for your needs but also for all those who are dependent on you!

Elijah was provided for by God in the midst of a famine. Though God allowed famine during the time of king Ahab because of their sin, God provided for prophet Elijah miraculously. Even in the times of scarcity, God will provide his children with abundance. Then, God also supplied for the needs of the widow through Elijah.

God will not only supply for your needs but also for all those who are dependent on you!

  • HE IS OUR PROTECTOR

They were became scared and feared death because the boat was almost filled with water.

The word of God tells us that the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalms 121:8). So we needn’t be fearful.

We know that He is watching over us and protecting us from harm day and night.

The Psalmist recognises this vital truth in Psalms 91:2-4 – I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

He is Emmanuel God, God with us! Gear up, and have faith in Christ. He has never failed us, and He will never fail us if we put our trust in Him.

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TACKLING THE NEW NORMAL – ‘SOCIAL DISTANCING’

S o c i a l d i s t a n c i n g

Stay three feet away from each other.  Do not go out and stay indoors. Don’t shake hands, don’t hug. Stop meeting up. Cancel all your programmes. The pandemic that has hit this world has called for a phenomenal shift in the way we are supposed to live and the world calls this ‘social distancing’. This is no ordinary situation. While some of us are locked up in our homes with family, some people are all alone and some are without a home wandering for shelter on the streets. Yet, the common shift is being ‘socially and physically disconnected from people’. We also generally come across this scenario of social distancing during semester holidays, shifting jobs, shifting cities, being newly married, post a broken relationship, while facing trials.

People in the bible also faced this and felt lonely. King David in a psalm expresses how he felt alone when everyone including his son abandoned him.

So how do we face a situation where we are alone and social distancing ourselves? The Bible has an answer!

In John 16:32-33 (AMP), Jesus spoke this word to His disciples, “ Take careful notice: an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home, leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Here Jesus was talking about how the disciples will be scattered, each to their own home! A very similar to situation. And Jesus said, he would be left alone. What would cause the scattering is the death of Jesus. Even now, what is making us scatter due to the pandemic is the fear of death.

The Disciples faced with a similar situation! And, what did they do? What was Jesus’ advice?

  • Receive/ Be filled with the Holy spirit

“…an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home”

Jesus knew he would be leaving them soon, and they will all be scattered. That is why, before saying this, Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit – who would be their Helper, Counselor, One who leads them into all truth.

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

In John 14: 18, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit and says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”

It cannot be emphasised enough how being filled with the Holy Spirit is the solution in a situation of isolation, seclusion and being alone.

  • Danger of going back to the world

“…Leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me”

Here, Jesus points out to the disciples about how they were going to leave Him alone. That is how He predicted about Peter denying Him thrice before the authorities. And that’s what Peter did, Soon after Jesus Died, Peter (who healed the sick and cast out demons) denied Jesus thrice and started fishing. He went back to his previous way of Life- being a fisherman.

Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved.

You may have been actively volunteering in church, participating, singing or even preaching. Nevertheless, in times like these, you have to be vigilant. Be alert and not sober, simply because only those who protect their faith till the end will be saved. Spend more time in God’s presence, reading the word of God and praying. Be accountable to someone who can encourage you and correct you in love.

If you’ve already fallen, it is never too late to reach out to Jesus and turn back to Him. And, as the Bible says in 1 John 1:9, He is faithful and just to forgive you.

  • Let the Word of God richly dwell in you

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.”

These are good times, isn’t it? Work from home, more time for ourselves, for family. But we tend to feed ourselves with movies, songs, tiktok, news, social media and a lot of other things during these times. These are good for enjoyment, but these will never give you the lasting peace, joy, it will not help fight away fear completely. Instead, it only increases fear. That is how Devil wants us to live – with fear, no peace, discouragement and no purpose.

We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

On the other hand, Jesus wants us to have life and life in abundance. That is why Jesus tells his disciples, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace.” He spoke the word to them and has also given us the word. If we meditate on it, like the psalmist says in Psalms 1:2-4, we will thrive and grow and flourish through any season, any trial. We can have immense peace, if we let the word of God richly dwell in us.

  • Testing of Faith

“..In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering”

Jesus reminded the disciples a crucial truth here – in this world (that is full of strife and sin), you will have trouble. Your question may be, ‘Why would Jesus allow us to go through trouble? Why can’t he take them away?’.

Well, God is a loving father and He wants us to grow and become more and more like Him. So, He allows us to go through trials to purify us, strengthen us, and make our faith grow. These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

Jesus prophesied about the end times in Matthew 24:7, saying ‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

These have come to shape us, mold us and make us the creation that God created us to be.

1 Peter 1:6-7 :  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

  • Be courageous

“…but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

While Jesus told the disciples that there will be trouble, he also went on to tell them to ‘be courageous’  because He has overcome the world.

In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

God told Joshua in Joshua 1:5, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, They cannot touch your soul”. The devil cannot condemn you, no one can touch you without Jesus’ permission. In Jesus, you stand victorious, redeemed and saved.

This is God’s word for you in this time of social distancing, beloved. You and I need to be sensitive to God and respond as He would want us to. Seek and receive the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into all truth to protect you from going back into the world, from trials and test and to stand victorious with Him.

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