Don't believe me?
We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. -- 2 Corinthians 5:20a
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -- Colossians 3:17
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, -- Colossians 3:23
Still don't believe me? Let me share what got me thinking about this.
One of my relatives is in the hospital and I've gone to visit her a few times. She is pretty old school and she's a lot of fun and tells me hilarious stories about the 1940's. She has been in a wheel chair for a long time due to a degenerative condition she had since birth that has gotten worse and worse with time. Before I left from my visit, I prayed with her. She smiled and said, "That sounded nice but nobody was listening." We talked for a while and she shared with me why she didn't believe in God.
When she was engaged and making wedding plans, she and her husband met with a minister. She was feeling tired and went home early. While she was gone, the minister asked her husband why he would want to marry a woman who was in a wheel chair. When she heard about that, it really jaded her against the church. She told me about the time when her father had a heart attack and they rushed him to the nearest Christian hospital. He was turned down while having a heart attack because they couldn't verify his records. The County hospital accepted him, but he died shortly after. She always wondered if those precious minutes would have been enough to save him if he had been accepted by the first hospital. She has many more stories like these. After telling me, she said, "That's why I don't believe in God."
It wasn't some theological issue she had against the Bible or her great belief in the Big Bang theory that dissuaded her from faith. It was her interactions with Christians! Her experiences with Christians have caused her to make sweeping judgments against not just those individual Christians but about the entire church, Jesus, the Bible, and God Himself. Whether we realize it or not, if we call ourselves Christians, all of our actions are representing Christ. Many people are taking their opinions of God from how we live and act. Our careless actions that don't represent Jesus well can actually drive people further from God. It makes me wonder what I've done to give people a bad impression of Jesus.
It also makes me wonder... Where were the other Christians over the course of her life? Where were the others to live out their faith in front of her and show her that many who follow Jesus display His love and goodness? Where were the Christians to befriend her, care for her, and share Christ with her? Was there really nobody there to truly live as an ambassador for Christ and leave her with a good impression of God?
I've been challenged this week to step up my game. I call myself a Christian and I am therefore a representative of Jesus 24/7. In everything I do, I need to strive to live as Christ so that by my every breath I am encouraging people to come to Jesus. And when I fail people in this task, it is my duty to repent and apologize to them and find a way to fix it. I desire my life to lift Jesus on high for the world to see and not to run His great name through the mud when I act carelessly forgetting Who it is I represent. Will you join me?
- Do I do everything as a representative for Jesus? What things do I do selfishly, angrily, grumpily, rudely, or in any way just not like Jesus?
- How have I given Jesus a bad name lately and to whom? How can I apologize and right that mistake?
- Who are some people that could really use the love of Jesus? How can I serve them as Jesus would and how can I share the gospel with them?
- Don't forget to vote for next Thursday's question at the top right of the blog.