Be The Example
I was riding with a friend through a parking lot when a car came out of no where and beeped the horn at us. Arms were waving and the driver was obviously upset as she shared some sign language with us - not telling us we were number one. We were so shocked we just stared and I realized it was someone from my church who I knew pretty well! She did not recognize me as a passenger in a different car. That was at least 20 years ago but I have never forgotten that. That was a life lesson! You never know who is watching.
2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God." We represent God. In John 17: 18, Jesus prayed and said, "Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world." This is our mission. God calls all of us who follow Him to be messengers of peace and light to those who live in darkness.
1 Timothy 4: 12, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." Paul is writing to Timothy who is a young believer. He encourages Timothy to be confident and set an excellent example of the Christian life. Paul's message applies to us also. He can enable us to live in a way that brings praise and glory to Him and to bless others.
Paul names five areas we need to show a changed heart. The first one listed is our speech. Ouch! That is probably the hardest for most of us. James 3: 6, "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." We have to learn self control. Words can heal or kill. A few words can build relationships or destroy years of friendship.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians, to "conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Our actions should represent Christ even in bad traffic, dealing with a rude waiter, waiting in a long line, or dealing with your cell phone company. If we are to consider ourselves "Christians" then we must try to live to that standard.
John 13: 35, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." This is probably the most important characteristic. Our love should distinguish us from unbelievers. We are to show the kind of love that Jesus showed us - unconditional love. Undeserved love.
We trust the Bible is true but to an unbeliever they are watching our faith in action. 2 Corinthians 5: 7, "For we live by faith, not by sight." This faith gives us courage to live boldly and joyfully for Christ no matter what our circumstances are. We know that God will love, protect and provide for us.
Lastly, Paul tells us to be an example of purity. Matthew 5: 8, "Jesus says, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.'" It is crucial that our lives reflect the Spirit of God working in us. Whether we are at home, school, work, driving, the store or with friends we must be Christ like. Rick Warren said, "Christlikeness is not produced by imitation, but by inhabitation.”
Do you do a good job representing Christ?