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Is Christianity still relevant today?
Great Advice for today from the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus came into a world very different from our world. The question then has to be asked: are his teachings still relevant in our day? Looking at some of his key teachings that brought him into conflict with the political and religious leaders of his day it becomes obvious that his teaching are not only relevant but would also bring him into conflict with the political and religious leaders of our day. They will also change our lives and make the world a better place.
How can it be possible that the teachings of Jesus are still as challenging and helpful in such a different world? Perhaps the answer is that people have not really changed over the ages. We may travel in modern transport, live with mod-cons that could not even have been imagined 2000 years ago, but really people are still the same. They live and die, love and hate, hope and despair, work and spend. The world keeps on turning and the cycle of life continues. Into this world come the teachings of the greatest teacher who ever lived, and these need to be seriously considered, even today.
Live every day, day by day. Jesus said in (Matthew 6:34) "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (NIV-translation) We tend to spend too much time and energy worrying about what may or may not happen in the future and this can impact on how well we deal with today. Make today the best day that it can be and leave tomorrow to be taken care of when it happens. A few verses earlier Matthew records the context of that statement as the futility of wasting time in worrying. "If only I was taller, thinner, wiser, etc......". Accept the hand you have been dealt and make the most of it.
It is more blessed to give that to receive. The Apostle Paul is quoted (Acts 20:35) as saying : ..the Lord Jesus himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive"(NIV). In a world were selfish ambition and greed easily overpower the important qualities of giving, sharing, caring and serving, we sometimes forget that happiness comes from love, a love that shares what is has with others. Political power corrupts and instead of leading to serving, as it indeed should, it usually leads to gathering and getting. People are somehow driven by "what I can get out of life", rather than by "what I can do to make the world a better place for everyone."
Blessed are the peace makers. (Matthew 5:9) As we look out into the world we see so much violence and war at so many different levels. One country goes to war against another, people flee from their homes and towns and countries. Even in a family, anger and hate lead to violence and murder. The battle for the hearts and minds of people cannot be won with the sword, as Jesus explained to Peter when the soldiers sent by the religious leaders of his time came to arrest Jesus.
Love your neighbour as yourself. (Luke 10:24) We all tend to have two standards. I expect to be treated with respect, kindness and fairness but somehow I don't always show those same attitudes when I deal with others. It takes courage to be an initiator of love. Yes, it is easy to show love to those who love you but somehow it seems impossible to show love to the unlovable. This strange teaching of Jesus brought forth a self justifying response in the form of a question: "Who is my neighbour?" The answer came in one of the greatest parables that Jesus taught - the parable of the Good Samaritan. Your neighbour is someone who is in trouble. Your response should be to help that person in a caring practical way.
Seek out righteousness: (Matthew 5:6) When all is said and done you cannot take it with you. What you have earned, the power you have gained, your possessions and riches will be spent and often wasted by those who come after you. How you have made the world a better place by showing mercy, shared the message of salvation, loved your family and those you came into contact with, is really important. Jesus in fact says: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Fill your life with good deeds and it will all have been worthwhile.
No wonder the response of the people in the time of Jesus was one of amazement, " ...because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law". (Matthew 7:29-NIV)
A change in thinking can only come with a change in heart and so Jesus advised: "Set your mind on things that are above". On a human level is seems impossible to even try and reach out to these difficult teachings and so one needs to function on a higher level by following not only the teachings of Jesus but also by becoming a follower of him. A good place to start is to read one of the Gospels and see if he speaks to you even today in our crazy mixed up world. It is a world that so desperately needs the direction that only Jesus can bring.