Calvin College Chimes

Christianity matters now more than ever

The purpose for purpose

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Having a purpose is inevitable. It can be as simple as going to college for the purpose of getting a higher education. However, it can also be quite complex when one dives into the purpose of the purpose itself. For example, my purpose to go to college is to receive a higher education. The purpose of getting a higher education is to get a better paying job after I graduated. But then, what’s next? What’s the purpose of having a high paying job? Perhaps to buy all the things I need. Finally, when I have all the things need, I can get married, have children, and live happily ever after.

Yet, is that all there is? Will I stay happy and content forever? What will happen to me when my time on earth is done? Everything seems meaningless if I won’t be able to bring any worldly things with me to the afterlife (if there is such a thing as the afterlife). That’s where religion comes in. Different religions offer different alternatives and explanations about what happens in the afterlife. Yet, the question remains; with many religions that the world has to offer, why choose Christianity?

Christianity assures us that there is more to life than just living in this world. The Bible tells us that Christians are in this world but not of it. In other words, our ultimate goal doesn’t lie in this world. Living in this world is just a spiritual pilgrimage that prepares us for eternal life. And as John 3:16 says, only those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.

Christianity not only tells us what’s next after our death; it also tells us the purpose of our present lives, which is to praise God and glorify Him forever. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Even doing something as simple as eating and drinking should be an act of glorifying God.

But, the tricky part is how exactly do we praise and glorify God in this present life? Personally, I wrestle with this question a lot. The Bible tells us that Jesus calls us to follow Him, become His disciple, and go tell all the nations about the good news, which is the gospel. Thus, I used to think that the only way I can praise and glorify God is by becoming a pastor or missionary.

It turns out, we can praise and glorify God in every aspect of our lives and through all sorts of careers. Some Christians define this concept as God’s calling or, as people say it in my college, vocation. One can become an entrepreneur (which I aspire to be) who provides jobs for people while demonstrating a good work ethic, based on Biblical principles. Or perhaps, one decides to be a stay-at-home parent so s/he can spend more time with his/her children, raising them to be devoted Christians. The point is that we all have different callings. Christianity guides us as we’re seeking and fulfilling God’s callings.

However, Jesus guarantees us that glorifying God will not be easy. There will be challenges along the way. Jesus says in Matthew 16:24 that “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” As a Christian, we will know from God’s word about what is right and what is wrong. Yet sometimes, although you are doing the right thing, it seems as if the world is going against you.

What I mean by “the world is going against you” is that Christians will have to face those who go against and/or despise Christianity. A couple of years ago, during the Christmas season, one of my church’s Christmas revivals in Bandung (Indonesia) was protested by the local Muslim community. Thus, our church was to cancel the service, sending a vast number of Christians who have traveled far to join the service back home. Not just in Indonesia, but we can see that Christianity in the US wasn’t as strong as the olden days. The US was once built on Biblical principles. But now, there are some growing movements that are trying to strip away Christianity from the State, such as Agnosticism, Atheism, Skepticism, etc. If we do not have a strong faith in Christ, these non-Christian movements can sound promising and logically acceptable.

All these things are why Christianity still matters now. As we Christians believe that the Bible is inspired by God, infallible, and inerrant, Christianity gives us hope by assuring those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life. It gives us a purpose in life which is to praise and glorify God. Moreover, when we know that God’s word is the source of truth, we will have a solid foundation that will help us defend our faith when the world goes against us.

Indeed, Christianity still matters… even more than ever.

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