Hello, my name is God; it’s nice to meet you. Now I know that’s kind of a crazy way to start a blog. But, truth be told, I can be a little crazy. Sure, I’ve introduced myself many times by my birth name but today I am introducing myself as God.
There’s a reason for that of course.
1 John 4:17 reads,
“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (NLT)
Let’s focus on that last part-“we live like Jesus here in this world.”
The NIV reads, “In this world we are like Jesus.” And
The HCSB reads, “For we are as He is in this world.”
That’s just CRAZY!!!
So, here’s a story I want to share with you…
As some (if not most of you) know I live in New England. We are known for our snow. We have lots of it. Some of us hate it, including myself. This past week, we had a major storm approaching us. We just got over a major storm and thank God we had a few days in between to prepare ourselves.
It started on Thursday and it got progressively worse as the day went on. I had an early release from work that day, followed by a snow day on Friday. Friday morning I had to move my car in order for the drive way to be snow plowed. It took a lot of shoveling, getting stuck and shoveling some more until I was able to get the vehicle out of the way.
(Note to self…stop buying cars that don’t do well in the snow)
While I was outside taking care of all of this, I noticed the neighbors across the road were doing the same thing. But, what’s more is I heard their voices getting louder and louder and it turns out that while the parents were shoveling the driveway, making it possible to move their cars so they could go to work. Their son, stood on front porch yelling at them.
Now I cannot tell you why the argument started, what it was about nor can I share what was being said because I really don’t know. All I knew was that the son repeatedly used the “F word” again and again and again.
Finally, after about ten minutes of back and forth bickering, the son got into his car and drove off.
This is one of those times where we could easily throw out that, “What would Jesus do” things here. We could argue against the son being disrespectful towards his parents and failure to “honor them.” I personally could have gone over and defused the argument (I have served as a Security Forces member in the USAF) so I know how to handle those kinds of situations. Another action would be for me to simply walk over and help my neighbors with shoveling, not saying a word. Just between you and me, the final thought was the only thought that ran through my mind during the course of the argument.
Of course, I had the pressing issue of my car to move and the son left, so I returned to removing my car. Yet, as I returned to my work, I couldn’t help but think, “How have I treated my neighbors?” “Have I shown them the love of God through my actions?”
[We Are Jesus to the World]
I think it would serve us well if we simply replaced “What would Jesus do” with “What am I doing?” The reason I suggest this is because the Scripture already declares that we are like Jesus. We are not becoming like him because of our behavior or our actions but when we abide in the love of God. Though the sheer love and grace of God, we are being transformed and being made complete.
This begs the question, how have I been treating those around me, especially my neighbors? Have I been Jesus to them the entire time they have known me or do I reflect Jesus only when it is convenient? Is being Jesus to the world a part time gig or a lifestyle?
Those around us should see a difference in us and that difference is that Jesus, the Savior of the world, lives in us and we live in him.
[We Are Jesus to the Church]
Another popular saying is this: “We are not called to be like other Christians, we are called to be like Chris.” It sounds great but the truth is, that’s rather unbiblical. We should be like other Christians.
The starting point for every believer is to STRIVE to be like Jesus. Being like Jesus is the call of the gospel…
we should strive to live like he did (1 John 2:6)
we should strive to have the same attitude he had. (Phil. 2:1-11)
we should strive to be kingdom focused (Col. 3:1-25)
we should strive to live surrendered to God (Rom 12:1-2)
While Jesus is always the focus, I believe we should be like other believers as well. Here’s three quick points on that matter…
1. Paul writes the the church in Corinth, “…follow my example as I follow Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1). Paul was calling other believers to act like him because he had the confidence that he was “like Jesus.”
2. In John 17:21, Jesus prayed for unity among other believer and through that unity, the world would actually come to believe in Christ. Unity is vital because the message we live is reflected in our unity.
4. In John 13:34-35, Jesus calls us to love each other as he has loved us. Again, Christ is the example, but we are to live and operate in grace towards one another. In loving each other, we reveal to the world that our identity is in Christ.
While it is true that many believers act in a way that is contrary to the Word of God, and our example is Christ, believers are responsible for their own spiritual development. When you act in a way that is not aligned with how God calls you to live, you bring about disunity in the body. “If I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers.” -Ozwald Chambers
[We are the Fifth Gospel]
There are four gospel accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We are the fifth gospel to everyone else. Our lives are the testimonies of God’s grace which rescues, transforms and empowers us to live for Christ and to live in Christ.
We are to let our light shine-so the world will see Christ and so the church is encouraged. We need to let Christ be our first example and our mentors, leaders, pastors, teachers, and others solidify Christ’s way of life. We need to love one another and operate in grace.
How are you being Jesus to the world around you?
1 John 4:17 (NLT Version) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+john+4%3A17&version=NLT
1 John 4:17 (NIV Version)
1 John 4:17 (HCSB Version)