Guest post by Ron Lease
“Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.” Cory Booker
We as Christians are regularly scrutinized, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Scrutiny forces accountability, and we need to be accountable. Accountability keeps us grounded, keeps us humble, keeps us focused. The world is watching us, and it’s up to us to be good role models, integrious in all of our actions. While this does put pressure on us, we signed up for this pressure when we chose to follow Christ. In Luke 9:23, Jesus told all those in audience that they have to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him.
To understand, look at an example from John The Baptist. Starting in John 3:22 we read that John and Jesus were both baptizing believers. Some of John The Baptist’s followers started to question whether Jesus, who was baptized by John, could baptize others. In verse 27 John responded, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (John 3:27 ESV). John The Baptist says a few more things reinforcing his statement before closing with, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30 NIV).
Several years later, in his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul wrote, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel…” (Philippians 1:27 ESV). Now for Paul to hear how the early Christians in Philippi were doing, Paul would have to hear of the church’s activities. And the only way for Paul to hear would be for other people to talk. And the only way for people to talk would be to observe.
Now I don’t write to say that the world is watching so that we live in a state of fear. Never! Instead, we should accept this HUGE responsibility. Americans do not lack in access to the Bible. They do not lack in access to a church. They lack in access to healthy Christians who carry out Christ’s will. In a world where we regularly hear people bloviate superfluous platitudes, a good moral word every now and again is ignored. Instead, our society responds to action. Christians in action send a very clear message that the love of Christ is real. Christians willing to roll up their sleeves and serve those in need demonstrate that the love of Christ is real. Christians offering a sympathetic, caring response instead of a vapid, snarky remark condemning the suffering show that the love of Christ is real.
We Christians should never be afraid or ashamed of our identity in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV). Now this doesn’t mean that we have to respond to every (or any) manipulative Facebook posting begging for shares or likes to profess our love for Christ. No! Instead, we need to share our new identity lovingly with the rest of the world. In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus told the parable of a tree and its fruit. Essentially, we can recognize people by the fruit of their labor. Anybody can say they’re good, but only those who demonstrate they’re good should be trusted.
Hearing a message of Christ is one thing, but seeing Christian action is something entirely different! We’re surrounded by talkers and lacking in doers. Be a doer! Love your neighbor; help your friends; be nice to people. Because remember, the world is watching.