Become what you believe

Russian dramatist, Anton Chekhov, from the late 1800s, is attributed to have quoted the following line, which is predominantly used as a theme in university majors like Psychology and in positive thinking seminars within companies. He said “Man is what he believes.” In October 2011, talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, in her Lifeclass series, “You become what you believe”, interviewed actor Jim Carey, author J.K. Rowling and fashion designer Ralph Lauren as those who put Mr. Chekhov statement to a test and proved him right. Though many may attribute this quote to Mr. Chekhov, and extend it as did Ms. Winfrey, close scrutiny of the Bible reveals this to be a statement, made by Jesus Christ himself.

Matthew 9:27-31 records the event of Jesus opening the eyes of two blind men, who followed him and cried unto him to have mercy on them. When Jesus asked them, “Do you believe, that I am able to do this?” (that is restore their sight), they responded, “Yes, Lord” and then, Jesus touched their eyes and told them “According to your faith be it unto you” which is rendered as “Become what you believe.” (in the Message translation). The eyes of the blind men were opened and they could see.

The Bible counsels us to be followers of God (Ephesians 5:1) which means we ought to be like Jesus, walking in love and presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice before God, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and The Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:10). In order to be like Christ, we must first believe in him, for according to his words, we “Become what we believe.” Jesus is the Only begotten Son of God (John 3:16) and when we believe in him, we are made (not begotten) into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), as children of God, for as many as them that believe in him (Jesus) and have received him, to them he gave the power to be called the sons of God (John 1:12).

Points to ponder:
If man is what he believes and we become what we believe, then the question that demands an answer is “Who are you?” Are you a son (or daughter) of God? In other words, have you believed in Jesus Christ, the Only begotten Son of God, who was sent by God, the Father, for everyone who believes in him, is given the power to be called a child of God and shall not perish but have eternal life. Who are you?

Matthew 9:27-34 (MSG)
27-28 As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”
29-31 He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.” But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.

One small step for a man/woman; one giant leap for God

It is leap year and I wondered what I could write about the word “leap” and the very famous line of Neil Armstrong, that was spoken on July 20, 1969, 10:56 p.m. EDT, came to mind. Neil Armstrong uttered the following words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”, when he became the first human to step onto the moon.
But then it got me thinking, a far greater and gigantic step was taken by the maker of mankind and the moon itself; by the creator God, himself, Jesus Christ, when he left the riches of heaven and the glory of God to be born of a virgin, in a manger, making himself of no reputation, so that he could reconcile man to God by his life, death and resurrection.

Points to ponder:
Christmas that we celebrate is indeed, “One giant leap for God” which mandates “one small step for each man/woman” to take and that is to believe in Jesus Christ. Have you taken that small step. Remember, God took a giant leap for you.

Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God Letters – Not junk mail

Every time, I get our mail, I often wish that there was a law against “unsolicited / junk mail”. The contents of these junk mail letters go straight from our mail box to our trash can or shredder.

Apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth that those who have believed in Jesus Christ, are epistles (letters) of Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God  (2 Corinthians 3:2-3). It is an astonishing thought to realize that we are God letters, but at the same time, it is also apprehensive to realize that if our lives are not in sync with Christ living in us, someone who opens and reads our life letter may end up throwing the content of our lives, which is Christ in us, as trash.

Jesus said, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). American evangelist, preacher and publisher, Dwight L. Moody, accurately and eloquently said “Out of one hundred men, one will read the Bible, the other ninety-nine will read the Christian.”

Points to ponder:
1. What would someone read your/my life as?
2. Will it be as something that is of value or will they consider what they read in you/me as trash?

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (KJV)
2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Le Phénomène Humain

In the 1955 acclaimed book, Le Phénomène Humain (The phenomenon of man), paleontologist, philosopher and Jesuit priest, Pierre Tiehard de Chardin, writes “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” World renowned author, Stephen Covey, is attributed to have paraphrased this Tiehard saying into “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey; we are spiritual beings on a human journey.

Jesus Christ counseled His followers to store up treasures in heaven and not on earth. Our journey is to culminate in a final destination which is more about God’s presence than just God’s place (heaven). To be with God, in His presence, is what and where heaven is and our life events should aim toward our eternity with Christ.

A wise Chinese adage prescribes that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The journey to being in God’s presence, starts with one step as well. That step is to believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. When we believe, our citizenship is in heaven henceforth (Philippians 3:20) and we are all pilgrims on a journey to a place whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10).

Points to ponder:

  1. Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
  2. Have you taken that first step of believing in response to the First step of reconciliation and relationship building that God took toward you?
  3. When our time on the earthly journey is over, would those who survive us, be able to say of you and me, “He/she was a spiritual being on a human journey”?
  4. As a pilgrim, are we making progress?
  5. Would this be your/my phenomenon?

Matthew 6:19-21 (KJV)
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Atomic Christ Jesus

Noble laureate Physicist, Albert Einstein once said, “It is easier to denature plutonium, than to denature the evil spirit of man.” Time Magazine, in its April 08, 1946 issue, published under the title “Science: Denatured Plutonium” that “Uranium 235 and plutonium can be denatured; such denatured materials do not readily lend themselves to the making of atomic explosives, but. . . can be used for the peaceful applications of atomic energy.” The process of denaturing involves the mixing of another element with plutonium, so that the plutonium is not in and of itself destructive.

Unless our evil spirit is denatured from our nature, it can result in atomic explosions of our lives that can be devastating. For in sin were we conceived i.e., our evil nature is in us from birth (Psalm 51:5). And in order for us to be denatured of our evil nature, there is only one way possible, which is for us to mix with Jesus Christ. In fact Jesus Christ was born to save mankind from their sin (Matthew 1:21). When we trust in Jesus that He is a Son of God, and believe in His name, we are made one with (mixed) Christ Jesus, and He purges any self-destructive elements (sin) in us. Upon being denatured, Jesus changes us from being harmful to being useful (for peaceful applications) in His kingdom business.

Matthew 1:21 (KJV)
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Romans 7:24-25 (KJV)
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

God Manifest

American pastor, preacher, author, editor, speaker and mentor, A.W. Tozer eloquently put it the “Our pursuit of God is successful, just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us.” In other words, we find God when we seek Him, because, God is seeking us as well. The ultimate manifestation of God to mankind was 2000+ years ago, when Jesus Christ, was born into His own world.

God’s manifest to mankind is Jesus Christ and none other. His name shall be called Immanuel, which means God with us; a.k.a., God manifested to us. The question that then remains and which matters is “Is God manifested in us?“. This happens when we believe in Jesus Christ and trust in Him.

To be a Christian means what?

British religious leader, William Penn (1644-1718)  is known to have quoted “To be like Christ is to be a Christian”. What does it mean to be like Christ? How can unholy and sinful man/woman be like a Holy and Sinless God?

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians writes that we ought to be imitators of Christ. But Apostle Paul with the divine wisdom of the Holy Spirit also penned the words “I am crucified with Christ, Nevertheless, it is no longer I who live, but Christ [Jesus] who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Apostle Paul recognized and counsels us that to be a Christian does not mean that we are trying to live like Christ did, but that, it is Christ living in us. The only way unholy and sinful man/woman can be like a Holy and Sinless God is to let Christ live in us, by believing in Him as the Only true God, who gave Himself for us and who takes away our sins, and the sin of the whole world.

Point(s) to Ponder:
Now upon realizing that to be a Christian is to let Christ live in us, would you deem yourself a Christian? I ask myself the same!

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.