As attacks on the Christian faith continue to grow more militant and shrill, it is tempting for believers to focus more on theological arguments, creeds, and other statements to defend their position. Over the years, believers have learned how to engage in rigorous dialogue and to debate with intellectual bullies who try to mock, repudiate and ridicule their belief in God. A positive aspect of objections to the faith is that we are being forced to study the Word more and to spend more time in prayer so that we can learn to sanctify the Lord in our hearts and to be ready to give an answer to whoever asks us the reason for the hope within us, (1 Peter 3:15). It is no longer enough to merely recite the tenets or creeds of Christianity. The growing hostility against the Christian faith has also forced believers to learn to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints,” (Jude 3). You cannot contend in the absence of challenges or difficulties. When objections to the faith are raised, believers should try to refrain from emotionally-charged arguments that can end up alienating and hardening the objector. Instead, we should pray for grace and wisdom to engage in reasoned discussions to justify our faith and to give reasons for believing the way we do. For example, when discussing the existence of God, we could use approaches such as presuppositionalism or evidentialism without using unnecessary philosophical sophistry to throw off the objector.
However, the greatest case for Christianity can be in the way Christians live their lives. One of the main reasons for the rejection of the gospel is not because it is unable to provide the answers to the questions people have. Rather, its greatest obstacle is in the Christians’ failure to according to the dictates of the gospel. If we claim to be followers of Jesus, then we must act the way He did. We should be spiritually morphed and transformed, and that should be evident in the way we live so that God can be glorified in our lives. We should exude the life of our Lord, Jesus Christ. That does not guarantee that the believer will be insulated from being maligned, criticized, and hated. Jesus lived a perfect life and sinless life, yet the Church of his day found fault with Him, hated Him, ridiculed Him and turned Him over to the Roman imperial powers to be crucified. Interestingly, when He stood before Governor Pilate, accused of inciting insurrection, Pilate questioned Him and found Him innocent of the very thing He was accused of. No other life has fascinated and attracted millions of people like the life of Jesus. Similarly, the lives of His followers, empowered by His Spirit, can be the greatest argument for the Christian faith ever.
There lies deep within each one of us an innate, unquenchable desire for significance, a yearning to immortalize ourselves. This desire to eternalize our existence is almost insatiable. Our nature recoils at the prospect of dying and sinking into obscurity; being forgotten and becoming lost into the blurry dust of antiquity. To mitigate this fear we strive to make an indelible impact on history, to ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to share in our legacy. This is what usually drives us to achieve our highest potential in life. We cultivate immortality symbols such as altruistic projects, academic achievements, and ideologies which outlive us particularly when they are preserved in writing, or made manifest in architecture, etc. We attach labels to our names in relation to our accomplishments to distinguish us from the rest of the crowd. We long for our children to keep our memory alive to successive generations. This inherent aversion toward death, and the incessant craving for immortality attests to the fact that we were created for another world. “He has put eternity in our hearts,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We are princes and princesses in exile, as it were; constantly being haunted by rumors of our other world.
Death came into this world as an intruder, a consequence of sin, hence our deep revulsion and fear of it. Satan has diligently used this and other diabolical strategies to try and eclipse our significance and spiritual heritage. He has endeavored to emphasize the transience of our physiology so that we can be plunged into a death-terror neurosis. But Jesus has annulled Satan’s plans for mankind. In Him our longing for immortality has been secured. Jesus, not our achievements or accomplishments, becomes the source of our immortal identity and significance. We no longer have to flail about, grasping at the thin straws of worldly accolades to find our worth or significance. In Christ our original luster has been restored.
Of course, this is not say that we should be idle or that we should not desire to excel in our endeavors. After all, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) is the counsel from Scripture. Furthermore, in the Parable of the Talents, the individuals who doubled their talents were commended and abundantly rewarded. The point is that we do not draw our worth from what we do, but from who we are as children of God by creation and by redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. This is what gives us eternal significance.