OceanSide church of Christ
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HOW DO THEY REMEMBER YOU?
Victor M. Eskew
The Christian life is to be lived twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It is to be expressed in every location in which a Christian finds himself. If a Christian behaves as he/she ought, then those with whom he/she comes in contact will know someone unique has been among them. When the Christian leaves their presence, many kind and positive remarks will be made about the demeanor of the Christian.
Some Christians have a tendency to forget that their Christian living is a daily practice. When they are engaged in their daily activities, they fail to practice Christian virtues. Some have been known to gripe and complain loudly. Others have been known to bully and be argumentative. Still others have been known to curse and swear. When the “Christian” left the store or office, those left behind were not impressed. In fact, they were glad the person was gone.
As we consider our behavior among those in the world, we should keep some questions constantly in mind. First, did my behavior tell others that I am a Christian? The apostle Paul wrote: “For me to live is Christ…” (Phil. 1:21). When Christ lives in an individual, there are certain things that are omitted from his behavior, and there are certain things that are well-documented in his behavior. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth…Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:8, 12-14). The actions and attitudes set forth by Paul are not “Sunday only” behaviors. The Lord intends for Christians to wear these at all times and in all circumstances. They are the behaviors and dispositions of Jesus Himself. When we display these behaviors before others, they will see Christ living in us.
The second question that we need to contemplate is: Do my actions cause others to want to be part of the fellowship of the OceanSide church of Christ? We may be the only person an individual ever knows from this congregation. Individuals often believe that what they see in us is typical of what is displayed by every member of the church. When others see us they should desire to be a part of our Christian family. They should want to be around more people who are loving and kind and considerate just as we are. Those of the early church had this kind of reputation. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people…” (Acts 2:46-47a). Luke notes that the early church had “favour” with all the people. The lives which the early Christians led had what Thayer refers to as a “holy influence” upon those outside of Christ. They saw their display of Christian virtues and were extremely impressed. The community took notice. In time, others were added to the Lord’s church because of their godly influence. Such should be the kind of example we want to set before others. When they see us, interact with us, and experience us, they should desire to be part of our fellowship.
A third question that we need to remind ourselves of from time to time is: Was God glorified by the way I handled myself? Jesus taught, saying: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). All that we do needs to bring glory to God’s name. When we are kind, longsuffering, courteous, and proper to those with whom we come in contact in our community, they will speak well of us. When they speak positively of us, God is being honored. The opposite is also true. When our actions are mean, rude, impatient, and discourteous, other speak badly about us. When this happens, God’s name is blasphemed. This happened within the Jewish nation. They did not practice what they preached. Because of their hypocritical actions, Paul could write: “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written” (Rom. 2:24).
Every day Christians are in and out of places of business in the community. While there, we either demonstrate our Christianity or we do not. How sad it is to think that when some Christians leave a business, the workers and customers are glad that person is gone. His mean and obnoxious behavior makes them hope that he will never come back. Such should never characterize the life of the child of God. His actions should always reflect the life of Christ. His behavior should cause others to want to be part of the body of Christ. His conversation should bring glory to the God of heaven. Have you ever really stopped to think: “What did those people in that store think of me when I left?” If not, perhaps you should.