In our counselor training classes the other night my Pastor/friend/partner Bruce (http://broeder10.blogspot.com) was discussing how in other cultures it is a crime to bring shame on the family name. He mentioned how the church is a family and how what we do as Christians reflects on Christ and on God as our Family Head.
This got me to thinking…Scripture says,
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. Eph. 3:14-4:1Paul prays for the family of God in this chapter of Ephesians, He asks the Father to grant His children spiritual things so that we are able to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, that we are able to walk in a manner that is worthy of the name, “Christian.”Do you? Do I?
I do not intend this to be a rant of all sorts of things you “should be doing” as a Christian, there is already far too much of that going on. NO guilt trips, no encouraging you to stand with a sign, or hand out a tract, or march in a protest.
Instead, an encouragement to look inside and be honest with what you see there, lurking in the corners of your heart. Jesus said we act out of the contents of our heart (Matt. 15; Luke 6) and so when you look at what your life is made of it is clearly visible to others what is going on in there?
Are your thoughts worthy of the name “Christian?” Do you spend time each day at some point through some means and method renewing the content of your mind and reorienting it to what God’s Word says, and what would bring Him glory?
Are your words worthy of the name “Christian?” When you speak, are your words gracious and seasoned with salt? Do they provoke the hearer to godly thought or action or do they provoke anger in others?
Are your actions worthy of the Family name? Do you represent the grace and love of Jesus Christ in your dealings with people? Do you bring them the gospel in an honest, true and gracious manner with your eyes fixed on the cross as well? I think this is where I will land this particular plane…if our intention is to show people how much they need Christ, do we show them Someone they will want to have as their own? While my theology says that God chose me (Eph.1) and that I responded because He chose me, I have no idea who else God has chosen! Paul and Peter didn’t either so they represented Jesus Christ every where they went.
They engaged the culture for the cause of Christ, preaching the cross, displaying His grace, proclaiming the truth that Jesus fulfilled the Law and a new age has come into being through Him. They went and lived among them and showed them Christ. They met them where they were in their synagogues, pagan temples, and street corners and public squares.
They did not carry signs, or scream “Jesus loves you” or try and hand them anything. They did not tell them they were going to hell, or that God hated their lifestyle. They simply lived among them spoke the truth forcefully and in love, and revealed “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). Paul and Peter were the greatest missionaries and evangelists the world has ever known. They changed the world forever through the teachings of Christ and they did it by being faithful to the continually changing context of the cultures they ministered to (1 Cor 9:19-23). They engaged the culture with discernment and never compromised the truth of the gospel.
Can we say the same?