An article written by my father, the Rev. C. Thomas Paige, as it appeared in the Tri-State Defender on the date shown.
Recently I read a very intriguing article entitled, “How Do I Know I’m in Love?” This article started me thinking along many lines. The question foremost in my mind was “How do I know that I am a Christian?” I wonder if many of us ask ourselves the same question.
In these days of trying times, I wonder if we have stopped to think of our spiritual roles in this world, where man at his best is the only criteria for better world conditions. The only cure for current world conditions depends upon each of us living life at its very best. Anyone talking with people in all walks of life will soon realize that many of the things needed most in life today are sadly lacking. Only a conversation with people walking about our streets today will reveal how utterly lacking most of us are in that behavior pattern which is consistent with Christian living.
It appears to me that a new sense of human respect and dignity will have to rise on our horizon and then and only then will the higher and better life mean something to most of us. Time and time again I see evidence that, in spite of the best laid plans of men, our plans are going far off course. If the nobler life is the ambition of most of us, something drastic must happen — and happen soon.
Observation will reveal to most of us that above everything else, there is a general breakdown of the heart-to-heart relationship that once characterized many of our lives. Our neighbor’s adversities, heartaches and the like don’t mean a thing to most of us. In spite of the fact that there are hearts crying out daily for love, for guidance, and for new evaluations of the better things of life, many of us have chosen to go on as if nothing is going on about us.
Years ago, the old prophet in the midst of travel called out to those who stood before him, “Is it nothing to all of you who pass by?” The minister of today could very easily cry out with the same words. We live in a world where selfishness is king. In spite of the many evidences that are among us today, many of us are unfortunately not moved to do anything about the world conditions. Most of us are so wrapped up in achieving our personal goals that the welfare of our neighbors means nothing to us.
I wonder if many of us should not pause daily to rest our compasses that our lives might be pointed to others rather than ourselves. I know that while we are wrapped up in a nice cozy bed or walking around with our stomachs fill or enjoying the comforts many of us enjoy, there is not much of an urge to help others. But deep down within each of us, there must be the zeal that makes us want to be of help to those who are less fortunate by nature or choice than we are.
In light of all of the current world conditions, each one of us should personally ask ourselves, “How do I know that I am a Christian and what can I do to personally make this world a better place in which to live?” In answering the first question, each of us can summarize our Christianity by realizing that only in proportion that we are willing to give water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, or visit those who are imprisoned can we say that we are Christian.
We must realize that above everything else, Christianity is a functional thing. The man who tells me that he is a Christian and does nothing to better the condition of his fellow man gives rise to much criticism on my part as far as his Christianity is concerned. The life of Jesus was one of activity toward the goal of resetting the eyes, ears, and goals of man that this world would be a better world. Only to the extent that each of us realizes that will we make this a better world in our day and time.
In its simplest terms, Christianity is an active life – active for the cause of Christ. Only when we are active, day and night, for the cause of the kingdom can we lay claim to being a Christian or doing the will of God. Each time we feel the urge to live life a little fuller and a little higher we can say that we are Christians.