Tuesday 7th May
“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember He has identified you as His own….Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you!” (part of Ephesians 4:30-31 NLT)
I recently had a friend come from Italy and he was sharing something that really spoke to my heart and also reminded me of a sermon I had heard on Sunday at church.
My wife noticed that he was wearing an expensive branded jumper to which he quickly explained had been bought for him (it is quite un-like him to wear expensive clothes). After the laughter subsided he mentioned that although it is an expensive brand in England, it is unknown in Italy. What was expensive in England was practically worthless in Italy, all because of a simple label on the material. That simple label gave the item of clothing the “identity” that it was designed and made for this particular company, which of course added the value to the jumper. Interestingly as I pondered that thought, I realised what makes us recognisable in the world and what gives us our “identity” whereby people may recognise who we are and who designed us?
See a label on clothing may give value and sadly even status. Yet if the people around don’t recognise the label or branding then the value, your status and the company’s identity is worthless and meaningless. It is much the same with us. As Christ’s children we bear the mark of a believer. We are His representatives on this earth. However if we are not living as Christians then what separates us from the world and “identifies” us with the being like Christ?
Today’s passage specifically highlights the importance of living like Christ in all we do. What marks us as a Christian? Is it wrath, anger or malicious behaviour? Is it foolish and coarse joking? NO! It is being kind when there is an opportunity to be cruel. It is forgiving like Christ has forgiven you when someone mistreats you. It showing love when someone uses harsh words against you. This is not to say that we shouldn’t stand up for injustice but rather it is a Godly response to the world’s attitudes and behaviours. We might not be able to evangelise the world in one go, but our responses to life’s hardships shows Jesus to the world. Small acts of kindness and Christ like attitudes make huge differences in a Godless and ever increasing secular society.
Be different! Show Christ in all you do! Be identified as a follower of Jesus.