Do you see Jesus?

Last week I was waiting for my deli order at Shoprite™, wearing my mandated mask.  A person I did not recognize engaged me in conversation about the length of time he had already waited. I jokingly suggested that he just take another’s order and go on his way. From behind his mask he said, “Pastor, I didn’t expect you to say that. I know who you are. I see your ministry online.” The exchange, though light-hearted, was a reminder to me that I represent the Lord with my words and actions. It was and is sobering to realize once again that my life is watched and that people are looking to see and know Jesus through my life.

Edgar Guest, a journalist and poet, wrote this about a century ago and it remains true.
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

Christian friend, I am not unique in that privilege of bearing the Name of Jesus. All of those who are ‘in Christ’ share a high and holy calling to be His ambassadors in this world. Think about what that means.
Does the thought make you what to keep quiet about your faith?
Are you fearful of how you will represent Him? 

Paul, who worked to bring God’s message to his world, asks “Who is equal to such a task?”  (2 Corinthians 2.16) In our own strength, by our own resolve, we are not competent to make the wonderful Good News about Jesus known. But, we are not on our own!  

Timothy, struggling to do ministry in Crete, received these inspired instructions, which speak to us still. “Fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Christ. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Good News. It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:6-9, NLT)

We lean into Christ Jesus. We give ourselves to the Spirit with humility and obedience. God did not save us, bring us into His family, and send us into life with a cheery, “Well now, go do your best.”  He is present, living in us, the Spirit actively leading us, working in the ‘circumstances’ we may perceive as random, to accomplish HIS purposes for us and through us.  (read that again!)  Today, He is with me, with you. What assurance I find in knowing that He orders my days but I often let that thought slip from my mind. When I do, I get stressed, frustrated, trying too hard to take control of that which is beyond my control.

MY responsibility is to let Him lead, to commit my day, my thoughts, my words, my actions – to HIM, trusting “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)  He is quite able to lead us through the stress of pandemic, to keep us in the middle of social unrest, to keep us spiritually healthy when trials come from every side. Confess that prayerfully, right now. “God, there is nothing that will happen to me today that will surprise You. There is no situation that will arise in my life that are beyond Your resources. There is no power in this world that can tear me from Your grasp.”  He is present, able, and willing to keep us. Knowing that in faith allows us to say to others what Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”  It is not arrogant or boastful when we are walking with integrity, in the light of the Spirit.

Here is a word from the Word. I pray that the Spirit will make it a living Word for you and me so that we will represent Him well.
He “has saved us and called us to a holy life—
not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. …  
I know whom I have believed,
and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day
.
” (2 Timothy 1:9-12, NIV)

Take the privilege, know the peace. Live your high calling. Soli Deo Gloria

_________________

I Am Not Alone

(Kari Jobe sings of our strength for these times)

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear
I am not alone
I am not alone

You will go before me
You will never leave me
In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through

The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord You fight my ev’ry battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me redeem me
You call me as Your own
You amaze me redeem me
You call me as Your own
You’re my strength You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul

Austin Davis | Ben Davis | Dustin Sauder | Grant Pittman | Kari Jobe | Marty Sampson | Mia Fieldes

© Kari Jobe Carnes Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Worship Together Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Be Essential Songs (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

CCLI License # 810055

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