Yes, I know. That sounds really self-centered, doesn’t but? But wait. Before you decide that this is a selfishly-motivated post, give me a chance to explain.
During prayer this morning, God impressed this thought upon my mind, and then began to show me how much it really is all about me. How well do I represent the Savior? What kind of witness am I regarding His works, His truth, His salvation? “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the grain-measure, but on a lampstand. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, MKJV)
Yesterday, I wrote a post entitled Jordan, or Mamre? In it, I talked about two choices and how they affected the future of two different families. My New Year’s reflections are still continuing as our family discusses our 2012 vision, purpose, training, goals, etc. Much of what occurs will depend upon my involvement, my choices.
Am I a team player? Will I decide to work well with others? Will I be kind, patient, and long-suffering when things don’t go like I think they should? “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel. Instead, he must be kind to everyone. He must be a good teacher. He must be willing to suffer wrong.” (2 Timothy 2:24, GOD’S WORD)
How will my attitude, during the midst of confusion in language class, affect my Christian witness? Will I manage to keep my frustration hidden if the teacher doesn’t explain something well enough for my understanding? (The possibility of this happening is pretty high, since our classes are taught completely in Finnish, and we don’t always know how to ask for clarification.) Will my fruit be ripe and glowing, or rotten and putrid? “But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Will I share Christ on the metro? In the stores? At the coffee shop? At language class? Will my actions match my words?
Will I seek to be a servant, or will I choose to be selfish? Will I be a complainer, or will I learn to deal with the hand that life – and God – has dealt me?
To love, or not… To speak to, or not… To care, or not… To listen, or not… To understand, or not… To believe, or not…
To change, or not…
Every single thing that I do – that we do – matters.
Malachi 2 is a pretty harsh chapter. It places God’s judgement upon the priesthood for misleading the people of Israel, for profaning the name of God, for committing abominations against the Lord. “If you will not hear, and if you will not set it on your heart to give glory to My name, says Jehovah of Hosts, then I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. And indeed I have cursed it, because you do not set it on your heart.” (Malachi 2:2) Before we decide that it doesn’t apply to us because we aren’t priests, think again. In John the Revelator’s opening address, it reads: “…even from Jesus Christ the faithful Witness, the First-born from the dead and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6) I’m blood-bought. I took on the Name of Jesus in baptism, and the promise of Acts 2:38 has been fulfilled in my life. So, I choose to believe that this scripture says that Christ Jesus has made me a king and a priest. And, it makes me liable for the way that I share – or don’t share – His Gospel. I don’t believe for one minute that my willingness to trek half-way around the world makes me an automatic candidate for heaven. My walk with Him is in constant evolution, always changing and always growing. My outward witness of Him needs to be the same.
“How horrible it will be for the world because it causes people to lose their faith. Situations that cause people to lose their faith will arise. How horrible it will be for the person who causes someone to lose his faith!” (Matthew 18:7, GOD’S WORD)
This isn’t about our remembrance of how someone wronged us. It’s all about how others perceive us.
What we think matters. What we say matters. What we do matters.
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NLT)
Endure! Endure the frustration, gossip, hurt, and selfishness of others (and anything else that you’re mentally adding to that list right now).
No one can make us be Christ-like. And no one can guarantee eternal life with the Lord except us. You. Me.
“And I saw a great white throne and the One sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
Endure. Persevere. Be like Christ. For after that, the crown!
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12, NLT)
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14)
And that, my friend, proves that it really is all about you and me.