My colleague, Charles, is a person who is interested in exploring spiritual life. From our previous conversations, I think Christianity could answer some of his questions, at least provide another way of thinking. Therefore, I continually try to invite him to our church as and when possible.
"What value do you think Christianity brings to you?” Charles asked during one of our conversations. It’s quite understandable for him to ask such a question. But I failed to provide a satisfactory answer somehow.
After a long time, the question occurred to me again and I thought it might worth further thinking. If the love and grace that I experienced from God could be called 'value', I think there are at least three points that I would like to address towards that question.
The most important value of being a Christian is no doubt the new life given through Jesus Christ. 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. (John chapter 3 verse 16)
For me, the new life is not a one-time result but an ongoing process. As I'm still in the old body and used to do what pleases it, therefore, the old self needs to die every day.
It dies every time when I quit my sleepiness and rise early; it dies every time when I overcome my ego with humility; and it dies every time when I give up worldly pleasure and spend time on Bible study.
The new life in Spirit enables me to learn from Jesus, and to inherit his characters. Moreover, to restore the relationship with God.
Apart from the new life given through Jesus, His teaching is another valuable gift for his followers, which always provide new standpoints of viewing things.
For example: “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”(Matthew chapter 6 verse 39). This is so different from most family and school education. Hardly will a parent or a teacher educates a kid like this.
However, God has a higher purpose for his people. By turning the other cheek shows one obeys God’s way and is proven to be innocent in His eyes. God’s good will for us is not to take revenge but to overcome evil with good.
There are countless examples like this in Jesus’ teaching. ‘Do not judge’ lets us to examine ourselves first instead of picking on others’ fault. ‘do not worry’ encourages us to rely on God and find rest in Him; ‘love your neighbor as yourselves’ enlightens us to honor others above ourselves without self-seeking.
Jesus teaching is like what a caring father said to His kid. The big difference is that God words never fail and upon which we can be built and given the inheritance.
New hope (Peter chapter 2 and 3 verses 1-18)
With fresh perspectives, my hope in Christ is not only in this life, but in eternal life.
As The Shawshank Redemption put: hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. Nowadays, people are crazy about good things, let alone good thing that never dies.
However, without knowing God, people tend to place their hope on worldly fleeting pleasure which they consider good, such as money, power and position.
I didn’t have a clear hope before I converted to Christ. I drifted through life without knowing where it is heading for. Neither a philosopher nor a book ever tells me what life is about and what’s next. The only answer they could offer is that I will see when I get there.
With belief in Christ, I know clearly that my hope is the second coming of Jesus! Only with His coming, can the evil one be defeated; the new heaven and new earth be established, and His glory will manifested.
This is the good hope that never dies! For Jesus has said himself: I am going to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John chapter 14 verse 3)
As you can see from above, what I have experienced is a picture of a new Christian’s life. I’m sure that the value I summarised are just the tip of the iceberg, for God’s love and grace must take a life-time exploring!
Cheng Xingyi (known as Cindy) was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cheng Xingyi's previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html