SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (November 25, 2013)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” Galatians 5:22-26.
“SINCE WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT, LET US KEEP IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT” Galatians 5:25 (NIV).
The FRUIT of the SPIRIT –
FAITHFULNESS to God in the Society
In the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we discussed Christian Faithfulness as part of the Fruit of the Spirit. We made mention of the fact that faithfulness to God is very much connected to our obedience to God. This includes the desire to present the gospel message as he has given us in the same manner he wants us to present it. It does not allow for compromise when it comes to issues concerning the gospel of Christ. Our faithfulness to God must move us to stand for the truth no matter how much it will cost us. It was also mentioned that our faithfulness to God as far as the undiluted gospel is concerned, could lead us into several difficult situations such as persecutions, financial challenges as well as loss of relationships. But we also noticed that even though we are likely to meet persecutions and hard times, God will reward us for our faithfulness if we shall endure to the end. In this edition, we want to continue with the theme of faithfulness to God outside of the typical Christian setting.
Christians who truly understand that God is sovereign over all things both visible and invisible will also know that our faithfulness outside of the church setting is very much important in Christianity. In Jesus’ teaching on the mount in Matthew 5:16, he said:
“IN THE SAME WAY, LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE MEN, THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS AND PRAISE YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN.”
I do not want to believe that ‘men’ in this case was just about believers. Jesus was talking about human beings especially those who did not praise the Father. This means that Christians must be faithful to God outside of the church setting so that those who do not belong to Christ will see our good deeds and praise (glorify) our Father God. This implies that even in the presence of unbelievers we should demonstrate our Christian virtues. We have not been called to be faithful evangelists, teachers, pastors, prophets and apostles alone. We have been called to be faithful politicians, public school teachers, journalists, economists, lawyers, magistrates, drivers, pilots, doctors, chief executives, chemists, nurses, police and military officers, cooks, house wives, husbands, and what have you. We should be prepared to be faithful witnesses of Christ in all areas of life. We should proclaim the lordship of Christ over all spheres of life. I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT IF CHRISTIANS WOULD REMAIN FAITHFUL TO GOD IN ALL SPHERES OF LIFE, THE WHOLE WORLD WOULD ENJOY THE ‘SHALOM’ OF GOD.
One of the major causes of the problems of this world is the unfaithfulness of many Christians to God in the areas they have been called to serve. Because many Christian health professionals see their professions as something secular, they sometimes fail to take good care of their patients and end up causing the loss of many lives. Our faithfulness to God should remind us that lives are precious and human beings are not animals. Now we are even being told that animals have the same rights as human beings. Well, I have no time to get into that argument now, but the point is that a Christian health personnel is expected to work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in helping to save lives and finding solutions to the pains and sufferings of the many who throng to the hospital. Jesus healed many sick people and has given wisdom to the health personnel to continue. Therefore Christian health personnel, caregivers etc. should all know that they are agents of God and work faithfully to save lives and alleviate pains. The faithful Christian worker will not put money before human life. I wish I could talk about all professions but I cannot, and I know you understand why I cannot talk about all others.
How about the Christians who happen to find themselves in politics, either as ministers, members of parliaments, city or provincial mayors, presidents or prime ministers? Do they all see that as a calling or as something secular? Romans 13:1-7 shows that the civil authorities were ordained by God for a purpose. There is something God expects from those in political positions. One of them is to pursue justice by rewarding those who do good and punishing those who do evil. Therefore every Christian who finds him/herself in any political position must know that he/she is there as God’s servant to promote goodness not as Satan’s agent to promote homosexuality, abortions, unbearable tax regimes, evolution etc. Unfortunately this has not always been the case. There are many Christians in positions of civil authority who are doing the same thing the non-Christians are known for. They are the same people who promote corruption, and embezzle state funds for their selfish desires. They cause the masses to suffer poverty and pay heavy taxes while they and their families continue to reap from where they have not sowed.
No faithful servant of the Lord will delight in doing anything that will bring hardships on other people. Just pause and imagine how the world would be if all Christians in politics would stand for the truth and promote peace, justice, equality, fairness, social welfare, Christian education etc. If Christians in politics would remain faithful to God in their political career, evolution will no longer be taught in our schools while the mentioning of Jesus is banned in schools. Politicians who claim to be Christians need to demonstrate Christ especially when it comes to national policies. The Bible should always be their reference point in every decision they want to take. Such politicians will stop the collection of bribes in order to give contracts to undeserving applicants, etc!
Apart from medical personnel and politicians, there are so many Christian civil servants who have also taken Christ out of their works as civil servants. They see themselves as people working for the government just to make enough money to survive. Some of them are the ones who actually promote corruption especially in most developing and least developed nations in the world. Some civil servants intentionally create unnecessary bureaucratic systems in their departments just to make it easy for them to exploit those they are being paid to serve. Somebody can keep a document which could be signed in five minutes for one week or more just to force the one in need of the document to pay bribe to ensure the faster release of the document. Some may go to their offices and will be doing their personal things instead of their official duties.
Some may even use official resources such as telephones, vehicles and others for their personal businesses without any authorization and end up causing lots of losses to their governments. After taking all the bribes and using official resources for their personal gains, they will still threaten their governments with strikes in order to press for salary and allowance increases. It is not surprising because some of the Christian politicians are as corrupt as some of the Christian civil servants. But the faithful Christian will not exploit his brother or sister. Jesus said that if we do not do it for a brother, we have not done it for him. The reverse holds. Therefore Christian civil servants should demonstrate their faithfulness to God by understanding that silver and gold belong to God and he will give them to his faithful children. They will also remember that stealing is sinful. They will also uphold hard work as a Christian virtue and try to do everything for the glory of God.
If all Christians working and living everywhere will approach everything we do in this world from the biblical perspective and not see some things as secular and unimportant to God, we will be demonstrating our faithfulness to God as part of the spiritual fruit we are expected to bear. In the next edition, we shall look at faithfulness to God in our family and other relationships. May the Lord help us to remain faithful to him in everything we do!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.