Sunday, 17 July 2011

Not Quite Alive...

by Agnes Orito on Monday, July 18, 2011 at 9:13am

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live..." John 11:25

One of the first things Primary 1 students learn in their Science class is how to tell between living things and non-living things. Living things, things that are alive, have special characteristics that set them apart from things that are not alive.
 Ask 1st-graders what these things are and they will enumerate them for you: Living things breathe, eat, grow, move and reproduce. Living things breathe in air. It is the one thing living things can't live for very long without. Living things also need to eat. They get energy from their food. It is vital for their growth. Yes, growth; living things grow--they develop. Growing means becoming stronger. Living things also move, they respond to stimuli. And living things reproduce; they bear fruit.
 All these characteristics can be used to tell whether a person has life in Christ or not. A true Christian [a spiritual living thing] is someone who has been quickened by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the breath of life for a Christian. Without the Spirit, there is no true life [John 6:63]. There's a lot of talk these days about carnal Christians. They profess to believe in Jesus and some even have the audacity to claim to love Him, but their life clearly shows that He has only very little space in their hearts; they adhere to the ways of the world and not to the ways of God. There is no such thing as a carnal Christian. A person who has received the Spirit's breath of life becomes spiritual. If you're carnal, then you are not a Christian and should stop calling yourself one because it's only bringing dishonor to Christ's name.
 One who is alive in Christ is one who feels hunger--hunger for righteousness, hunger to know God, hunger to know and do His will. Do you feel this kind of hunger? It is more than just a mild interest. It is the kind of hunger that pushes you to seek God, to search for His Truths. As living things forage for food, so those who are alive in Christ diligently feed upon His Word and daily crave His grace and love. [1 Peter 2:2]
 As a result of the nourishment provided by Scripture and daily glimpses into God's wonderful attributes, the Christian grows--in strength, in knowledge, in faith, in grace, in joy. There is progress. The love for Christ felt in the heart, though it was only a little love at first, grows stonger and stronger until it becomes the one strongest love felt and all other feelings are subdued and influenced by it. The small seed of faith becomes an imposing and sturdy landmark that no wind of false doctrine and doubt can shake. It grows ever steady, a strong faith in Christ that cannot be discouraged. [Ephesians 4:14-16]

Another mark of a true Christian is his reaction to God's gentle invitation, "Come, leave your love for the world behind." A spiritual living thing responds to God's call and does not remain immobile, but is moved into action. When Christ said to Andrew and Peter, "Follow me," it was not said that they lingered and continued going about their business or that they ignored Him. But they "immediately forsook their nets and followed." Instant action. You may know something about Jesus; you may feel some amount of respect and even admiration for Him; but unless what you know and feel about Him moves you to follow Him, then it cannot be said of you that you are alive in Him. [John 10:27]

As a person walks with Christ, quickened by the Spirit, nourished by His Word, tested and strengthened by the wisdom of God; as he grows in grace and becomes mature, he bears fruit. And that's how we see that he has life in Christ. A dead log cannot sprout oranges; but a tree planted by the rivers of water brings forth his fruit in his season [Psalm 1:3]. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance [Galatians 5:22-23]. The more time a person spends reflecting on Christ, the more he discovers the perfect kind of love. He is filled with love to overflowing and he gains perfect joy--the joy that is not dependent on outward circumstances. Joy unspeakable; joy that comes from perfect confidence in God's wisdom and mercy. A person who has the Spirit is a person who bears fruit in the form of good works. We do not become spiritual living things by doing good works. We do good works as a result of being made alive in Christ. Change can be witnessed in a person who has truly believed. The change that has been wrought in the heart would soon be outwardly manifested. Preferences, priorities, and goals would shift from temporal to eternal things. The momentary fleeting pleasures that can be found in the world are traded for the more lasting spiritual blessings that can only be found in Christ.

These are five things borrowed from a Grade-1 Science lesson that can tell us whether a person is a spiritual living thing or non-living thing. One who is alive in Christ is one who has been given the Spirit's breath of life, one who feeds upon God's Word, one who grows in knowledge and grace, one who recognizes the voice of Christ and moves to respond to His call, and one who enjoys the blessings and fruits of the Spirit.

It would do us a lot of good if we would constantly check ourselves and our lives and make sure we qualify to be named under those who are spiritually alive in Christ. If we are spiritually dead, then we walk in darkness, ever seeking our place in the sun and never quite getting there; ever running after pleasure and enjoyment and never quite finding true and lasting joy. Always, we will feel that something is missing. As a stone cannot feel and appreciate the warmth of the sun, so a person who is not spiritually alive is deprived of the warmth of God's goodness and love. It is only when we are alive in Christ that we can understand His tender mercies, His tender love. Only a heart that has been awakened to Christ can receive His deep and lasting joy. Let's examine ourselves. Can it be said of us that we are spiritual living things? If we say we are Christians but don't long to be closer to God and don't feel the need to know and do what pleases Him, then we are deceiving ourselves.

We should not delay. We should hurry to make sure that we are on the right track. The hours travel fast. Every minute not spent seeking God, communing with Him, praying to Him, meditating on His word, singing His praise, enjoying His goodness, appreciating His beauty, talking about Him, sharing His truths, bringing His love to others; every minute not spent glorifying Him, thinking about Him, is wasted time. Let us redeem the time by making sure we are alive in Christ, because, remember that popular adage that says, "You have never truly lived until you have..." and people fill them in with 'scuba-dived' or 'mountain-climbed' or 'bungee-jumped'? Well, the high you get out of those are temporary and the rush you feel always eventually wanes. The high you get out of knowing God and being loved by Him beats all other highs. No joy can be compared to it. Wordly enjoyments are mediocre at best when compared with the true happiness believers have in their heart. So whether you've already tried scuba-diving or partying-til-you-drop or whatever grand excitement the world can offer, it all comes to nothing. Truth is, you have never really truly lived until you have found life in Christ.


  1. Another good piece Kuya.
    This is what I need to feel that am still alive! :)

  2. Hndi 'to sa akin Edz..galng ito sa sang teacher din dito sa Thailand..but I'm glad you liked it :)


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