Christ in Your City
There are so many churches in cities all around the world. And around these churches there are clusters of drug users’ and prostitutes’ hangouts, there are street children and beggars stricken with different diseases. There is obvious darkness thriving right in the midst of our churches: ever wondered why it is so? I have. I have wondered why we have churches—mega and smaller—filled with thousands or tens of worshippers every week and yet we do not see Christ in our streets, we do not see Christ in our schools or in our places of work. I have wondered, and this is what I uncovered:
“We really are not who or what we claim to be.”
As a Church
The early followers of Christ in Antioch were so much like Him so that they were referred to as Christians, meaning “like Christ”. We see in the book of Acts how “fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.” We see how “all who believed were together, and had all things in common”, and how “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (See Acts 2:43-46). These people were so much in one accord that they sold their possessions and goods to make provision for those who didn’t have among them. And those who weren’t truthful in doing this were struck dead by God. Remember Ananias and Sapphira?
Today we are so self-centered and money-conscious, that our definition of being in one accord and having all things in common has been reduced to spending a few hours together per week in a building we call church.
One who is unfamiliar with the gathering can spot clearly the ones who are hungry and the well-to-dos. We even—maybe not deliberately—segregate the rich from the poor by our disposition and attitude in relating with one another. We have divided ourselves into different groups under the lie of organisation, doctrine and denominationalism. That’s dangerous because we know well enough that united we’ll stand but divided we fall. Plus, Jesus seemed to consider it of high importance that we be made perfect in one when He mentioned it repeatedly while He prayed for us all before He was taken to be crucified. (See John 17:21-23).
That is where we are wrong as a Church. We are terribly divided. And this is why we don’t see Christ in our cities through us, even with thousands of churches planted across the cities of the world.
Now as an individual
If you are a follower of Christ, do you know that you are meant to be a walking expression of Christ wherever you are? If you have never thought of it this way, you should begin to. Christ expects you and I to be evidences, proofs, and signs that He lives, in and to our cities, and to the world. This is what He meant when He said we will receive power to be witnesses to Him. (See Acts 1:8). It will do a lot of good to adapt this perspective concerning who you are or are meant to be. Christ expects that the people in your city will see you and your works and say “Wow! I see Christ, He is alive!”
But there’s a question I’ll ask you. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? It’s important to begin from this rather underrated matter: Belief. Christ said about the one who believes in Him, “the works I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (See John 14:12). Meaning I can tell whether I believe in Jesus Christ or not by answering a simple question: am I doing the works Christ did as recorded in the Bible and even greater works than those He did?
It’s therefore reasonably safe to say that many of us don’t actually believe in Jesus Christ. If we did, we would have seen the results of “greater works than these” in our cities.
They will be unmistakably obvious as we will see diverse expressions of Christ in our streets, schools and in the market place. With the number of “believers” that exist in our cities it should be impossible to miss.
We cannot leave the Love talk out of this
If Christ will express Himself in your city through you, He must have first expressed Himself to you so much that you absorb all of Him. And the only way this can happen is by loving on Christ. Loving on Christ isn’t cheap, definitely not cheap like the action-less words we say when we sing those beautiful songs of love to Him.
Loving on Christ is expressed by absolute obedience to His every command—written, revealed, and spoken.
He tells us this when He says:
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:21, 23 NKJV. Emphasis mine)
You know I’ll ask, right? So here goes: do you love Jesus Christ? You can answer this by checking yourself: are you doing His will? Are you answering His call? Are you in compliance with His word?
Your City Needs You
Our cities need Christ. The world needs Christ. Christ can only walk on the streets of our cities through you and I. Hence, your city and the world need you. But Christ cannot find expression through you until you actively and actually engage yourself in believing in Him and loving on Him. They are more expensive than words and songs alone.
Will you be Christ in your city? Will you believe in Him and love on Him? Will you consecrate your life to Him? Will you give your hands to move at the impulse of His love? Will you give your feet to be swift and beautiful for Him? Will you give your voice to sing for Him always and only? And your lips to speak His messages? Will you give Him your money and possessions without holding back a dime? And your intellect, skill, talents, gifts, will you express them to serve His great purpose? Will you exchange your will for His, allowing Him to build His holy throne in your heart? Will you pour your love on Him, understanding what it means to love Him? Will you give Him yourself?
WILL YOU BE CHRIST IN YOUR CITY?
For personal devotion use hymns Take My Life and Let it Be and Deeper, Deeper in the Love of Jesus.