Some number of years ago I realized that as an ambassador for Christ I should live like him. That’s easy to say but I found out it’s a lot harder to do if you are really serious about living as the Bible instructs. It required a complete paradigm shift, a whole new world view. I constantly had to ask myself the question what would Jesus do (WWJD?) in all situations. That, for awhile, caused me no end of stress and frustration. I became irritated with myself on a daily basis, but I couldn’t let the stress and irritation show to others. I did a lot of praying during that time!
The problem for me, as it is for other Christians, is that living the Christian life is almost completely opposite of how we’re taught to live in this world. Many of the personal qualities held in high regard in the secular life are condemned by the Bible. The majority of people on my personal Facebook page are Christians including a lot of people from the Teen Challenge and Adult Teen Challenge organizations. This is a wonderful organization that helps people kick drug and alcohol addiction. However, some of the recovered people post how proud of themselves they are for recovering. And, recovering and staying sober is a great accomplishment to be much admired. I’m glad and thankful that they have recovered and I’m behind them 100 percent! What they forget is that Teen Challenge is a Christian organization, and they have become Christians as well. Christ tells us that we can do nothing without Him. However, we can do all things God wants us to do through Christ who strengthens us, including recovery.
Pride is the original sin. Pride in being like gods, knowing good and evil, is what caused Adam and Eve to fall, and a fine fix they got us all into that time! Recovering is difficult. It requires a lot of determination, and hard work and on the part of the addict to fully recover and stay recovered. That is a lot to be thankful for, not to feel proud about. It is Christ who leads people through the recovery process. My friend Lenora has a wonderful extended family. Hers daughters are great people. One is an elementary teacher. Her granddaughters are fine people who are raising wonderful great grand daughters and great grandsons. Lenora often tells me how thankful she is to God for such a wonderful family. And her daughters tell me the same thing on Facebook. It would be easy for her to take pride in her raising fine children, and she did do that through Christ. She did the work as the Bible says to do it with a lot of prayer and help from the Holy Spirit.
Being an ambassador for Christ, representing Him on earth, is not easy. It means living out your new nature in Christ and He in you rather than falling back on your old worldly lifestyle. Everything Jesus did on earth was done to bring people to Him, and everything we do as Christians should be done to direct others to Christ. The foundation of bringing others to Christ is living a Christian life that others want for themselves. It doesn’t mean constantly preaching to everyone in sight, although talking with others is a large part of being a Christian.
Being sincere about your new nature in Christ is vital. Others can spot insincerity in a heart beat. This is very difficult at first, but as time passes it becomes less difficult as new behaviors and habits are formed until living like Christ is the natural way to act. It is recovering from being addicted to the world. And, as any recovered drug or alcohol addict will tell you, you’re never fully recovered. Maintaining the Christian life requires constant vigilance. The world presents us with a multitude of enticements to get us to fall back into our old ways. And Satan will use those enticements to try to get you to fail, just as he did with Adam and Eve. He knows what your weaknesses are, and he’ll use those weaknesses as leverage to pry you away from Jesus.
Satan will tell you that you’ve failed if you make a mistake and sin. And we all do that because we’re human and not perfect. It is important to realize that being imperfect does not alienate a true Christian from Christ. He knew you were His before the foundation of the world, and your sins have been forgiven-all of them. Satan will try to make you believe you might as well stay on the easy worldly road in life because your sins have caused you to lose your salvation. That’s not true. Paul wrote that nothing, not people, circumstances, other spirits, not anything in this world or the next can separate you from Christ if you are truly a Christian. What good parent would reject a child just because he or she made a mistake or became rebellious for a time? God won’t reject you either. It’s important to remember that you are forgiven and to repent of mistakes and get back up and continue on down the narrow path that leads to heaven.
Living like Christ will be seen by others who will want what you have, so it’s important to let them know in an appropriate manner that what you have is Christ. One evangelist used to tell the story of a young convert who would take his Bible to school and witness to all the other students. He became frustrated with one particularly resistant boy, rolled up his leather-covered Bible, and said, “Have you ever felt the power of the word”, and clobbered the other boy across the side of the head with his Bible. That doesn’t work so very good and it is not a recommended manner of witnessing. you can use situations and events in other’s lives to gently direct them to a godly solution.
Recovering from the world isn’t easy, and it’s a life long process that becomes easier over time. Stay vigilant and mindful of how the Bible says to live and faithfully follow the work God has planned for you to do. The work God has planned for you is much more amazing and wonderful than anything you could possibly do without Him. Stay on the narrow path leading to heaven and nothing will be impossible for you to do if it is God’s plan for you to do it.