Monday, August 27, 2012
GOD MAKES US M.A.D.
By: R. Sarthou
It should not make us mad when people say we are fools for Christ. But when we hear derogatory remarks like, “Why is he like that? Isn't he a born-again Christian?” then it may be that we have a part in giving Christianity a bad name.
In advertising, the “before and after” technique is used to show the effects of a product as its selling point. But if a dirty shirt, after being washed by what is promoted as a “powerful” detergent, does not look any different, would consumers buy that detergent?
In the same way, when people look at our lives, do they see the difference that Jesus makes? Will they be attracted to the Savior we speak of? Is there a difference that people can clearly see?
We need to allow the Holy Spirit to examine our lives and ask, “Lord, is there something that is getting in the way of my being a witness for You?” It is the Holy Spirit that makes us M.A.D. -- that stands for “MAKE A DIFFERENCE”. We are in this world to make a difference for the glory of God, and it is the Holy Spirit who will empower us to do it. We can make a difference because:
1. We are APPOINTED to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. “This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” (John 15:8, 16).
Jesus said we are appointed to make a difference. He called us to be the salt of the earth and as such we are to give people a taste of who Jesus is and what He is like through our lives, through our witness, and through our testimony. He said that we are the light of the world, and as such we are to radiate the character of Jesus in our lives (Matthew 5:13-16). Hence, the distinction that sets us apart as God's appointees is a transformed life that makes a positive influence on others.
Christianity is more than just avoiding sins or going through life quietly. It is about creating an impact by our wise ways and kind, gracious speech, through which Christ is properly represented, thus giving justice to our assignment as His ambassadors. “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
When people see how we make decisions, how we behave wherever we are, at work or at home, do we make a difference? Are we able to make an impact even in seemingly small things?
2. We are EMPOWERED to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. The wonderful thing about the Christian life is that not only does the Lord say, “Go out and make a difference, make disciples and share the gospel”, He gives us the power to do so. He does not leave us on our own because He knows, like sheep, we are helpless without Him.
Our sinful flesh is in constant conflict with the Spirit in us. We lust for things that are not in harmony with what the Holy Spirit wants (Galatians 5:16-17). Hence, we need to live by the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit moment-by-moment, to keep us from gratifying the desires of our sinful nature. By constantly seeking God's direction and wisdom, by praying without ceasing on every occasion, and making confession and repentance as part of our daily conversations with God, we are placing ourselves under the power of the Holy Spirit who empowers us to make a difference in this world.
3. We are PRIVILEGED to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Having the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - is one reason we are privileged as Christians.
When we experience times of pain and difficulty and yet by the power of the Holy Spirit, we manifest the fruit of the Spirit in response, then clearly we make a difference for the glory of God. Christian living does not mean the absence or the removal of problems from life. It means the experience of the fruit of the Spirit in spite of difficult circumstances that may come our way.
How we successfully cope sends a powerful message about Christianity, making others want what we have. The Gospel is, therefore, advanced, and Christ is made known.
“If being a Christian was a crime, would there be enough evidence in your life for a conviction?” We are in the world to MAKE A DIFFERENCE for the glory of God, and it is the Holy Spirit who will make it happen. How can we, in our own lives, counter the negative impressions about Christians and create a positive impact for Christ?
Paul exhorts, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6).