And now for the real stuff:
…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)
“So, you guys are Christians?” A flight attendant questioned my friend, Amy, and I on the way home from the Glorieta Christian writer’s conference. She kneeled to tell us about her problems at home. She was a very new Christian and wanted to know if God was still with her. We assured her he was. She expressed her thanks and said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Christians on the plane.”
I couldn’t get this out of my mind. What did she mean she hadn’t seen Christians on the plane in a long time. Had Christians been boycotting travel by air? I think not. How many Christians fly on any given day? Lots, I’m sure. But why didn’t this flight attendant notice them? As Christians, we can get caught up in our own lives and forget to reach out.
We don’t notice those around us who are hurting. We drive so close to the car in front of us so that the car edging into our line of traffic can not get in. We sigh (loudly) when the person in front of us at Wal-mart pulls out their checkbook. (I mean who still writes checks, anyway?) When someone does do the rare thing of actually opening up, we clam up and get quiet. Being real is just too awkward. If this is how Christians act, then what makes us any different than everybody else? What would make others see something different in us?
But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5-6
We must let others know we are Christians by our attitude and actions. If we are claiming Christ, we must act like Christ. I’m pointing the finger at myself, y’all. Not long ago, I was trying to settle up some hospital bills that we had from this summer. There was a glitch in the system and the insurance company didn’t pay on time. By the time they finally paid, my portion of the bill had been sent to collections – even though I called them every step of the way to let them know what was going on.
On this particular day, no one would take my money. Every person I got on the line, said, “Oh, you don’t want this department. We’ve already passed it to this other department. You can pay them.” Then the other department would send me down the line. On and on it went through five departments. I am NOT a patient person. So by the end I was hollerin’ (that is somewhere in between talking loud and shouting, for those of you who are north of the Mason Dixon line.) at the lady, “It’s a good thing I’m nice, ’cause mean people would have already hung up by now and bought stuff with the money I’m trying to pay you with.”
Now I’m wondering if the hollering was all that nice. Have you ever thought about putting a fish symbol on your car, but were afraid others would get the wrong idea about Jesus by your driving?
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:9-10
John tells us here how to know which people are children of God. It’s the ones who don’t keep on sinning. Since that comment from that flight attendant, I am very aware of my attitudes and actions while I’m out. I want people to see Him in me. Lately, I’ve even been praying that He shines in me so brightly that others are drawn to me like mosquitoes to a bug zapper. Then, instead of zapping them to their death, I can bring them into the light of eternal life. I can share Christ with them. Let that be your prayer as well. As we launch into a new week, stop and think about how you are viewed by the others around you. Do you need to make any changes? I’m sure we all do.