8/20/16 Alex abut 22
“Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” is a great reassurance from 1 John 4, and I was reminded of it from Alex (Western name), a Buddhist student from China, as he compared Buddhism to what he has seen of Christianity so far here in America. His experience of Buddhism has not been so much the “path to enlightenment” that many Americans believe it to be, but more of a path to prosperity, a sort of good luck charm for health and success in one’s business, and a strong cultural force that keeps its adherents in good social standing within the Chinese community.
In contrast, Alex has attended a few Christian gatherings (I’m not sure if they were Bible studies or church services) with some Christian students he has met, and he commented that the difference he sees between the Buddhism and Christianity he has experienced is that it seems like Buddhists are motivated from outside, from the people and the culture around them, while Christians seem to be motivated from within.
I was surprised he had picked up on this Biblical truth so quickly in his experience with Christians because, frankly, here in America where it is relatively easy and often expected that we will be “Christian”, it is easy to look and act the part without the inner change and indwelling of the Holy Spirit that only those who are born again experience.
Alex and I had a long conversation about what it means to be a Christian, and I had to warn him that there are many here in America that grow up in Christian environments which influences them from the outside but never experience that inner change that comes with being born again of the Spirit. They may call themselves Christians but just as if they are from another religion, like, say, Buddhism, they can’t know what true biblical Christianity is because they are still looking at it from the outside rather than experiencing the Holy Spirit on the inside.
How can we know if we really are Christians or if we are just going through the motions? Does the Holy Spirit truly live in your heart? One good sign is if you care to enough to prayerfully meditate on God’s Word about it. A good place to start is the book of 1 John, written to give us the assurance “so that you may know that you have eternal life.” John continues to say that we can have confidence in approaching God , so much so that our prayer are in line with God’s will as he influences us from within. Read and reread 1 John and other passages of Scripture, and repent, believe and obey what you read. Don’t quit until you have that assurance. Refuse to turn back to just “going through the motions.”