Followers of Jesus Christ are being watched. The world knows we are different. We listen to a different Source. We’re children of the living God. The angels are watching. The demons are watching. Unless we’re “prayed in” to God’s strength, wisdom, and guidance, we’ll be nothing more than fish-on-a-hook, struggling for life. With His Spirit in us, we can reflect the love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness that we already have received from the Son. That is the work He has called us to do.
“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NCV)
“Without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5b (NKJV)
PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING US.
The other day I was at the service station, filling my car’s gas tank, when I noticed the driver of the car behind me. He cocked his head, as though studying me. I thought little of it and finished my task.
That next Sunday, as I was making my rounds at church welcoming worshippers, I came upon a young man, who said, “Hey, I saw you at the gas station the other day. I was in the car right behind you. I thought I recognized you.”
Okay, that was great. Immediately, my mind raced to that day and every movement I might have made and, especially, any facial expression — especially those involuntary ones — that could have signaled my displeasure with something.
In other words, what was my witness like? Did he see Christ in me … or did he see … me in me?
IF WE SAY WE FOLLOW CHRIST, they will watch us. Are we different in the way we act? In the way we talk? Do we model grace? Are we patient? Compassionate? Forgiving?
When we are thinking about our witness, we have the advantage of praying in and seeking the Holy Spirit’s divine guidance for our actions and words.
But what about those moments when we’re not focusing on Kingdom work but just buying groceries or driving along the highway or playing sports at the neighborhood park? Are we displaying the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ then?
I find it very difficult to walk in Jesus’ sandals, to place my feet in the markings left by His feet, to show compassion and grace the way He did, to genuinely feel love and concern for others the way He did.
Every day, the Holy Spirit works in my heart to bring me closer to the person He wants me to be; but every day, I fail to measure up, so I am in need of forgiveness.
THAT EVER REPEATING CYCLE brings me closer to Jesus because I constantly and repeatedly see my need for Him. He tells us that we should abide in Him and promises us that, when we do that, He will abide in us (John 15:4 NASB). He assures us that without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5 NASB).
Theologian and author Robert A. Cook wrote about this same topic. Here’s what he had to say about it:
“People do watch you, you know. What you may not realize is that there are individuals right now who are patterning their conduct after yours. Somebody, somewhere, is a carbon copy of you. What if he is reproducing your selfishness, your weakness, your compromise, your sin?” [Robert A. Cook, Now That I Believe, Moody Publishers. Chicago. 1949. 1977]
SO, HOW ARE WE DOING? More import, What is in our hearts?
Do we want to hear from our Savior that we could have done more to spread His Word to our neighbors and co-workers, and especially to our family and friends, but, instead, our energy was absorbed in personal concerns, and too often we failed to ask the Holy Spirit for His guidance?
Jesus tells us that it is the evil in our hearts that leads us to say hurtful things and to act rashly toward others, (see Matthew 12:34-35; Matthew 15:11)even while He commands us — commands us — to love one another (see John 13:34; 1 John 3:11).
Since, as Christians, we are born again, and we are new beings (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), we should show that new being to the world.
Here’s Cook again:
“You don’t need any list of dos and don’ts as a Christian. All you need to keep straight is the thorough knowledge that you’re born again … a real surrender to Christ … a loving concern for your fellows … a genuine hatred for Satan and sin … and a healthy fear of God.”
WANT A QUICK REMINDER that you can carry around with you, something to keep you grounded, something to keep you on track? It’s from the apostle Paul. It said it first to the church in Corinth, but his words echo down the corridor of time to reach our ears.
Here it is:
Imitate Me As I Imitate Christ
1 Corinthians 11:1 (GW)
O Lord, please forgive when we fail to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. There is evil and malice in our hearts; there was love in His; there is pride and greed and envy in our hearts; there was compassion and grace in His; there is spite and anger and vengeance in our hearts; there was forgiveness in His. Lord, lead us to become more like Him and less like ourselves. Thank You for Your mercy and loving kindness. Thank You for claiming us as Your own. In Jesus’ name. AMEN
Questions for Meditation and Small Group Discussion
1. Can you understand why unsaved people will watch you closely when you identify as a follower of Jesus Christ? Can you accept that truth and see how God can use you to witness for the Gospel?
2. How do you prepare for those moments when you expect people will learn from you? Do you pray in for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and strength? How faithful a witness do you think you are in those moments when you are not consciously modeling Jesus Christ?
3. Do you believe, without a doubt, that Jesus has called us — called you — to honor Him by carrying out your life as a living testimony to the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit, which is living in you? Regardless of your answer to that question, what about your answer to this question: What are you going to do about it?
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