Proverbs 16-18 2 Corinthians 6
“We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth, and by God’s power. We use our right living to defend ourselves against everything.” (2 Corinthians 6: 6-7 NCV)
How do people know? Seriously, how do people know that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ? Paul noted a couple of ways to look at the proof of his status as a follower of Christ: the hardships he endured in working for Christ, and the purity of his life because of the presence of God in his life. In short, our relationship with God should make a difference. We shouldn’t let the problems that befall us as we live and serve each day deter us from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, nor should we give in to any form of sinful living because our lives are a testimony to the presence of God in our lives.
The gospel should make us more understanding and patient. It took a long time for God to make that clear to me, but I can testify that as God’s worked on me, I’ve shown a lot more patience. I’m not perfect in that area, but I’m a lot better. One area that most of us can use a lot more work on is showing kindness. There are some who claim the name of Christ who do an amazing job of practicing kindness. On the other hand, we have some who claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ who are the meanest, orneriest cusses in the world. We see those folks featured in the news when they’re attacking others for their sins. We experience that meanness at church when the “holy ones” of the church gossip about the common church folk who aren’t as perfect as they are. There are times to deal with sin, but we need to do so redemptively. We need to draw people back to Jesus if they’re followers of Christ, and we need to make sure people know of His grace and goodness if they aren’t. It’s sad that too often, our efforts to be right about issues make us wrong in dealing with others. If God forgave all that I did without making me endure lightning, the least I can do is show others His mercy and grace without threatening the storm.
Lord, when people look at me and wonder about my relationship with You, may they see my hard work to advance Your kingdom, and a pure life that shows understanding, patience, and kindness.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
We Christians are often told that people are watching our behavior, and my dear friend Lois Mintz was one of those watchers. She grew up an observant Reform Jew in Baltimore (where she became fluent in written biblical Hebrew), and later earned her PhD at UCLA where she then joined the faculty. About 18 years ago she started spending time with a Christian woman — both of them were young mothers of student athletes, and had several hours to kill each week while their kids were at practice. They’d walk around off-campus areas just to keep moving. Over time, Lois began to notice the incredible kindness of the Christian, especially toward the homeless of LA for whom she always had a smile and a kind word — she’d sometimes even stop to have a conversation with them. Before then, Lois had taken little notice of the homeless as individuals, and had rarely made eye contact with any of them. Through the love shown by the Christian woman, Lois’s eyes were opened, thinking “hmm, maybe there’s something to this Christianity thing after all.” Being a scholar, Lois immediately bought a Bible and began to study, then added more resources and studied harder. She finally came to the inescapable conclusion that her Messiah had already come! At that point she was ready to visit a church in her area and see what “church” was all about. Over time, she accepted the Lord in her heart as well as her mind, and led her whole family (and countless others over the years) to Christ! Lois, now a messianic Jew/Jewish believer, is a dynamo, and shares her story, her testimony with great joy. All of this because one Christian woman in LA shared her love of Christ by example, probably not even aware that she was being so closely observed.
Lois has been my dear friend and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Boerne for the last three years. The name of the class is Our Jewish Messiah — learning (in great depth) the roots of our Christian faith has been priceless. Lois spends hoursevery week researching for and preparing our next lesson — I’d be happy to share next Sunday’s class notes with you if you’ll send me your e-mail address. She’s enjoyed reading several of your blog entries that I’ve forwarded to her. (If my e-address doesn’t show up on your end with this reply, you can always pm me at Facebook).
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What an awesome story! Thank you for sharing!