Charles Spurgeon once said, “The more you know about Christ, the less you will be satisfied with superficial views of him.”
You’ve been there. Some people make you want to to cry out, “Stop it! You are an annoying and pitiful boor!”
But before you do, Pastor Ben Reed, of the Saddleback Community Church, reminds us that responding in this way just makes the boor dislike you, and you’re testimony for our God suffers. Just ask a scribes and Pharisees who’s actions provoked Jesus to his wits end!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.… (Matthew 23:27)
Dead man’s bones? Hmm. It seems that even Jesus got frustrated at times.
For us, it’s important to stay composed. Don’t let your emotions become a barrier to the ability of others to experience Christ’s love. Here are some reminders that will facilitate the ability of your friends to experience the joy of Christ through you.
Be a listener. Get started, not by doing, but by listening. It’s not necessary to speak first. It’s more important to be listened to last.
Be there. Make the effort to connect. Share a well-timed, targeted, and relevant truth in the moment.
Be real. Your friends want reassurance that the person you appear to be is really you. Be open and honest about your struggles and victories.
Be consistent. Once you make a commitment, show up whether or not you feel like it. Consistency builds trust. Trust opens the door for Christ.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, (Titus 2:78)
Give more than expected. Go beyond the minimum effort. Engage, support, and enjoy your friends.
Give grace. When everybody expects you to go 100% for truth, go all the way with grace.
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Remember names. It shows you care. If you can’t remember a person’s name, examine your motives.
Remember the little things. Facebook makes it easy to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and special events. Or, go old school, and use a calendar.
Remember His wonderful deeds, which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth, (1 Chronicles 16:12)
Share your story. It’s a gift to share your life in a way that focuses on the love and grace of God.
Share resources. What you have is really only yours on loan. Share things, knowledge, and time.
Share love. Care enough to make a connection. Give support during challenging times.
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16)
Be yourself. Be all that God created you to be. Are you funny, contemplative, patient, gregarious, intellectual? These are God’s gifts to you. Use them to further the plan Jesus has for you.
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)