Christianity is not a religion. It is neither a philosophy. But it is a vibrant fountain head of a practical way of life. Jesus said, “Even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom to many.” (Mark 10:45) The hallmark of Christianity is self denial and service. A follower of Jesus Christ must be ready to deny himself and to take up his cross daily. Taking up the cross is not only facing persecution and suffering but also to have the willingness to be slighted and ignored for the sake of Jesus Christ. Self denial includes forgoing privileges. It is the attitude of making “of no reputation and taking upon the form of a servant”. Jesus humbled himself. It was more than an external expression. It was the revelation of his divine disposition.
Apostle Paul is the best exponent of this principle. He says,”God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14) “I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. (2 Corinthians 11:30) He appeals to his readers to have the mind of Jesus -the mind to be humble that made the Son of God to become an ordinary human being and be obedient unto the death on the cross. This attitude helped Paul to count all things but dung that he might win Christ.(Philippians 3:8)
In this age of consumerism and globalization it seems that Christianity has lost its hallmark. Consumerism gives emphasis more on covetousness than on denial; more on glory than on the cross and more on comfort than on suffering. Consumerism has given place the symbol of a suffering servant to a domineering master. Pomp and power has taken the place of humility and servitude. Exploitation is done in the shadow of the cross. The result is that the impact of Christianity is gone. The moral appeal of once an esteemed community has been degenerated. Christianity has become synonym of extravagance, exploitation and show business. Material prosperity has been interpreted as the result of superfluous spiritual mimicry. Religious leaders go after benefits and ease instead of contenting with what God has provided. Self profiteering projects have become the order of the day. The spiritual bankruptcy makes them to shy away from the burning problems of the common man they serve and the spiritual needs of the individuals. They are afraid to “call a spade a spade”. So the appeal of the dynamic movement has run out of steam. Since it has lost the hall mark of a self giving Christ, it has become an ineffective sham and an object of ridicule.
Now how to change this pathetic situation? The only solution to this tragic state of affairs is to repent and rededicate to the calling that every believer has been made. It needs the corporate effort of dedicated individuals surrendered at the foot of the cross of Christ. Let us pray to “the Lord of the harvest” to raise such spirit-filled people who will be able to “turn the world upside down”. Then the lost hallmark of Christianity will be rediscovered and reinstated.
– Cherian Kurian