This is an interesting time to be a committed Christian – trying to make an impact for Christ. Lots of people are making statements about what God wants. People claim to represent Him by taking political stands, through social media activism, media interviews and other public platforms. Conservative and Liberal Christians argue with one another about the correct way to represent Christ. Presumably most of them believe that the credibility of the gospel in the eyes of non-believers and seekers is at stake. I certainly hope that this is true – I would hate to think that these professing Christians are simply trying to win an argument.
So, since we are interested in representing Christ to the world, let’s consider how to do it effectively. I believe that there is not just one way. Yes, we share the Gospel, and talk about Jesus and the Bible. But effectively representing Him (presenting Him in the best light) requires more than just talking. I believe that representing Christ well requires that we embrace an old saying…”I can show you better than I can tell you!”
This is how Jesus Christ Himself illustrated it to us. In the Gospel of John chapter 20, days after the crucifixion, one of Jesus’ disciples was reluctant to believe that Christ was alive. Thomas scoffed after hearing from the other disciples that they’d seen the resurrected Jesus. He proclaimed that he would not believe it unless he not only sees Jesus himself, but also feel his hand where the nails went in and His side where the Roman soldiers had pierced him.
This is the unspoken attitude of many people in the world today. They’ve heard all the talk. They have heard the arguments about what God does or does not approve of. They have heard that the Christian Right has an outsized influence on the politics of one of the major parties. They have heard Gospel and Christian Music, and maybe even heard and seen Christian preachers on their own television stations.
Here’s what Jesus did about “Doubting Thomas”. He made a special appearance to the disciples when Thomas was there and approached him directly. John states that Jesus tells Thomas to take his finger and feel the wounds on Jesus’ hands. Then He tells Thomas to put his hand into the wound in Jesus’ side. He not only talks to him, Jesus shows himself to him. And Jesus made sure that Thomas could feel Him!
If we really want to make an impact on people in the world, we should follow Christ’s example. We should interact with the world in a way they can feel us, not just hear us or even see us. The world is watching us – all of us. It’s important that what we show them is a life that represents God well. Additionally, the key to this is sacrificing for the sake of others. My pastor calls it “Giving Yourself Away (GYA)”. We know that there are lots of people who are struggling to meet basic needs. There are plenty of people who need a hand up to fulfill their potential. And there are people who suffer from emotional distress brought on by the actions of others or even from their own decisions. It’s not enough to tell people what God is like – we have to show them in a way that they can feel it. Jesus sacrificed himself so that we can have eternal life. We are called to sacrifice ourselves so that others will believe in Him.