1. Faith: Misused Word
Faith is a misused and abused word. A good way to separate good faith from bad is to see if it empowers or controls. Good faith empowers, liberates, and sets you free (“Truth will set you free” – Jesus in John 18:32). A misuse of faith controls, exploits, holds you in bondage.
1.1 Faith That Saves
Faith is not just a belief/desire that God will do something for you. Faith is that God has a purpose/meaning in this world for all of Creation and that we have a positive role/part in it. The faith that saves is the faith where it becomes our life’s mission to fulfill it and make a positive impact in the world – even sacrificially. To be increasingly transformed into Christ-likeness as life’s mission? That takes faith (after all, we cannot prove in a scientific lab that it is a worthy goal).
Having a “faith” that God will give you your dream house at a dream location (especially when you have no money for it) or a dream college admission or a dream job/business at a dream city/country (especially if it happens by a “miracle” and you don’t have to work hard or have the competence or the integrity for it) – Well, that’s between the person and God, but that seems like a misuse of the word faith.
Even worse, there are people who manipulate, lie and deceive their way into getting these things and then claim that God has blessed them!
2. God’s Mission and Purpose in This world
So what is God’s purpose/mission in the world? What does it mean to us in our daily-to-day life/work? How can we equip ourselves with God’s work/purpose in the world? These are the questions we will explore in this “Faith & Work” series.
2.1 Celebrate Humanity of All
We begin with Genesis 1-2, where we see the glory of God’s creation. The apex of the creation is humanity in God’s image. Let us pause to celebrate that humanity made in the image of God- not only the humanity of ourselves and our family/children but all of humanity (our coworkers, neighbors, friends of other faith, etc). Many Indian philosophers complained that Christianity has a low view of humanity. That is not really so (though many of the Christian preachers make it sound so). Unfortunately, the fall of humanity is also true, and the world falls short of God’s intent.
3. Religion Misused to Control Others
In fact, the fall has its worst repercussions in what we call “religion” (including “Christianity” if viewed wrongly as a religion). Probably the biggest enemy to God’s mission in the world is that sort of “religion” which seeks to control others, hold them in bondage and seek self-gratification in the name of religion. Much of “Christian leadership” has become about the buildings, the stage, the titles, satisfying one’s craving for praise/adulation, etc – they love for places of honor and to receive respect from people (Matthew 23). God empowered, while man-made religion is used to manipulate people into controlling them and to get a narcissistic supply of respect/honor from unsuspecting people. Jesus empowered people and that made him the number one enemy of religious leaders who seek to use religion and use the pulpit to control people. We will explore these issues in this series.