“Living the faith” – the slogan of the Nigerian Federation of Catholic Students, NFCS. Whenever I heard that in school, I remember that I should be living my faith. I would be more willing to share my faith with joy when I experience the happiness in living it.
What many Christians do is to live a life of duplicity, Mr. Saint in the church, Mr. World elsewhere. This dichotomy creates a dual personality in us. We have become so insensitive to spiritual advancement that rather than take the faith of the Church to the world, we are bringing the world to the Church.
I had a chat with a printer who told me that right inside the Church, a committee member will call a printer for a job and before the printer prepares his quote, he would state his “cut” so that it would be included in the quote. It is sad that many Christians see nothing wrong with that. In fact some defend it with, “Where man dey work, na where im go shop.” But the Church is not a work-shop. That attitude kills the spirit of sacrifice which the Church preaches. They are motivated to join a committee because of what they intend to gain. Where they see nothing, they stay away. You find a committee member “hustling” to ensure that he belongs to the Advert sub-committee. What does a person with such an attitude have to share about his faith?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly father” (Mt. 5:13-16). The question is, “Does your light shine before others so that they see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father?” It is worth reflecting upon.
Through our words and actions, we ought to share our faith. One who wishes to share his faith will not talk to the cleaner at the office or his driver as if she was less than a human being. Our behaviour tells a lot about who we are.
Our faith is rich. It has so much valuable treasure. I have a glimpse of her beauty in a way I find difficult to describe but I admit that sharing it in both words and actions is still a challenge for me. So along with many Christians, I am convicted falling short. We have gotten so busy with the secular world that we forget that Heaven is our home. Consequently our priorities are misplaced. We have “packaged” Christ in a corner and have grown deaf to his calling in spite of the many sermons we hear. So rather than experience the joy of living the faith, we are overcome with the problems of Nigeria, family issues, financial challenges, and work stress. Truth be told, many of us have become attached to material things and this is usually at the expense of moral integrity. We have placed material things above our relationship with God.
One thing I suggest you do more is personal reflection. We live life daily and continue to go in cycles. If the cycle is not beneficial then we have to break it. Reflection can help. Have an alone time, be by yourself, with yourself and think of your actions and inactions of the day or week. Where you find you are falling short in the practice of your faith, make amends. It is sad that many Christians do not have time for reflection. In my experience, reflection is vital for spiritual progress. Take a step forward by allotting a time either daily or weekly for your reflection. Do this repeatedly and you form it as a habit.
Let us endeavour to know our faith, live it, and share it. Someone may be watching you who can be influenced to join your faith by your manner of living. There was a week in my third year at the university in which I looked at my spiritual life and saw my sins before me. Consequently, I made up my mind to go for Confession by the weekend. That week, one of my roommates said to me, “I never believed that there was a guy like you. I thought that every guy must have at least one of these three weaknesses – alcoholism, gambling, womanizing. I have watched you and seen that you are not into anyone of these.” There I was, seeing myself as the sinner I was, preparing to go for Confession not knowing that for more than a semester, someone was observing me. Of course I do not present the story to show myself as a saint, I present it to say that someone may just be watching you without your knowledge. If my roommate had not told me, I would have had no inkling that he was observing me.
Your actions (together with your words) may be the preaching someone around you needs to change for the better. Live your faith. Face the challenge.