Ashish Joy is a 22 years old Malayalee Christian. He is a Theology Major at Portland Bible College in Oregon State, USA. Ashish Joy is a musician, a writer and enjoys computers. Above all, he loves God with devoted passion and desires to see Christians rise up to become world-changers and trend-setters in the ministry and in the marketplace.View all articles by Ashish Joy
What does it mean to live out Christ to the world? What does bearing the Cross look like? I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time. Here are some of my thoughts…
To know Christ, the reality of Him; to be overwhelmed by the sheer goodness of God; the glory of God manifest in all of life.1 The wonder of a God who understands us in our frailty, and catches us in the rapture of His ferocity.2 The beauty of God, as seen in the redemption of fallen humanity, in the life that is caught in the abandon of Abba’s love. 3
Let the love of Christ rule in us richly, and the peace of God rest in our going and coming. May the kingdom’s seed be planted in our hearts as we look to God’s grace upon the earth. Let the presence of Christ sanctify us into His image; and may His goodness speak to the world a message of the hope and promise of life in Him. May our hearts be so in tune with the presence of God, that our hands and feet follow through in response.
For our hearts and minds, lost in the reality of God, must follow through in holistic lifestyle, which flows out in action.4 If we truly believe in the goodness of God, then that goodness must be assimilated into our lives. If we actually believe in the love of God, that love must somehow be evident in our words and actions. If we truly believe that God is trustworthy, then somehow His residence in our hearts must draw out trustworthiness from an otherwise untrustworthy soul. If we believe in the holiness of God, then that reality would cause us to live in such a way that we are set apart.
If we are part of kingdom that is not of this world, how is it that we pledge our allegiance so easily to other kingdoms?5 If God’s kingdom is so much bigger than any tribe, or people, or culture, or race, or nation, then why do we associate His kingdom so readily with our way of doing things?6 If God’s kingdom goes against the kingdoms of men that have been set up, why do we so quickly follow because it requires minimal sacrifice?7 If God truly is the Lord of our lives, why do we live as if the economy or culture or sinfulness lord over us?8 If we are part of a kingdom greater than what is seen or felt or known in the natural, why do we let what is seen or felt or known dictate how we operate in God’s kingdom?9
Is our faith just a set of beliefs, philosophy, or ideals, which makes it a religion at best?10 Or is our faith a living, breathing, moving, active lifestyle, which makes it a relationship with an all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing God?11 If we actually believe the things we claim to believe about God, would that not change the way we live?
The kingdom of God cannot be captured in a box, or analyzed in a test tube, so as to have a complete grip and understanding of it.12 The kingdom of God is not impervious to true prophetic criticizing and re-energizing.13 The kingdom of God is something else entirely.
The effect of the kingdom can be seen, but its methods are actualized to context; thereby the cause remains in God and His Word, but the reality is in the difference it makes in the world it has affected.14 The kingdom of God is truly at work.
When it’s more than just living for Christ or because of Christ, but it’s about living in Christ, and Christ living in you; where the connection has become a inherent, soul, and spirit connection; where Jesus lives and breathes through you… ↩1
Jesus emptied Himself and became like us in every way. He was tempted like us. Though He did not sin, He experienced the weight of humanity’s sin upon that Cross. He understands us on our worst days, and joys and sings over us on our best days. At the same God is also a consuming fire, a blazing furious Spirit, who rules the heavens and the earth; a God we on our best days still feel inadequate to worship and consider as ours. ↩2
When God saves us from what we were, and makes something out of us. When God’s overwhelming loves picks us out of the muck and mire of depravity, and redeems us. We become sons and daughters of the Most High God; that is beauty at work. ↩3
A healthy understanding of God (orthodoxy) is necessary for us to follow through in right response (orthopraxy). Read more about this ↩4
We claim to be Americans or Canadians or…and we forget that we are Christians, citizens of Christ’s kingdom first and foremost. ↩5
There’s such a close-mindedness when we think of God’s kingdom. It is so much bigger than we can truly understand or even fathom. We must maintain a healthy doubt in thinking that we have a complete handle on kingdom living. ↩6
We do what is easy because it keeps us part of the status quo, even if we know we should say something. We do not want to draw attention to ourselves. We are afraid of not bowing down to false images of worship set before us like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; afraid of going against the rule of the land like Daniel; scared to go before our monolithic religious structures that limit the work of God like Stephen; or in fear of stepping up and defending our faith in front our civil authorities like Paul. Where are the citizens of the kingdom of Heaven that fear God and do not fear man? ↩7
Why do we run to and fro, thinking that all is failing? If sin increases, does it change how we raise families, preach the gospel, or run our churches? If America or any nation for that matter collapses, does that somehow affect our Christianity? A resounding NO. We are who we are because God has put us in this situation, and if we are to go through hardship or storm, it is God who will help us through it all. ↩8
There is no place for citizen of the kingdom of heaven to lose his/her focus onto a kingdom of this world. Our focus must remain solely on the Christ’s kingdom, and how we can bring more people into that kingdom. ↩9
Is our faith just a worldview, or philosophic rubric, merely propositional and dry? Do we follow because traditions calls upon us to do so? Are we somehow caught up in a mental ascent? ↩10
Is our faith a divine dance between divinity and humanity? Are we caught up in the wonder of God, and living utterly and completely for Him? ↩11
Some would claim to be living according to the kingdom, but who makes that judgment? We have the blueprint in Christ’s life and teaching, but how do we truly know? Maybe it’s in the simple things like how we love our neighbor as ourselves, and how we love God. Maybe its about righteousness, peace, and joy. Maybe it’s about living selflessly. ↩12
Our interpretations of the kingdom needs to continually go through the prophetic criticism/re-energizing, where we analyze our present through the lens of history and our energized by the hope and promise of the future. ↩13
We only know the kingdom is at work when we see the fruit of the kingdom. We will know the cause by the fruit that is produced. Methods and practices can be taught and administered, but the fruit is what gives the kingdom away. ↩14