Today I am writing to those who earnestly seek to worship and follow Christ, but are frustrated with the reality that we and many Christians are not recognizably different. I am not addressing the large group who claim to be Christians, but demonstrate a lifestyle that is totally void of anything that resembles a disciple of Christ, for that is another greater challenge.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” Acts 4:13 When people encounter you are they “astonished” at the evidence of the Holy Spirit that lives in you because you know Jesus? I struggle with this thought and would offer that 98% of the time I am not noticeably different and we are not recognizably different from those who find their hope and confidence in what the world has to offer. We are not recongnizably different because the Holy Spirit is absent or is not active in our lives, but I would contend that 98% of our interactions never get beyond the very surface level of communication. Having the Holy Spirit living in us does not present a physically recognizable attribute. We don’t have a halo shining on our head or have a particular kind of hair, skin color, eye color or language. When we order a burger, talk with our neighbor or conduct business we rarely get beyond the transactional details of daily life. I contend THAT is our problem.
We are Christ followers. We have a savior that provides forgiveness of our sins. We have the same Holy Spirit in us that raised men from the dead, healed the sick and cast out demons. We have confidence in our salvation and trust that God is for us and gives us power in the midst of our weakness. We recognize and we experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. However, we do not get beyond the basic transactional relationship with others. We need to learn to ask deeper questions penetrating beyond the surface. We need to ask questions that reflect our genuine interest in their well-being and gives our friends, neighbors and business associates an opportunity to experience the love of God through us. If we never express a statement that opens the door to a deeper level. If we never ask how they are “really” doing. We will never have the opportunity to demonstrate and exercise love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control that would reflect God’s love for us and the Spirit that lives in us.
This week pray that God will give you the opportunity to open doors for Him. This week Take 5. Take 5 seconds to stop and open the door to a deeper relationship. Take 5 seconds to listen to someone who needs to be heard. Go beyond the trivial and transactional conversations and share why we have an unusual confidence in the midst of trials. Encourage those who need hope for the future and be extraordinarily blessed by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you. When Christ followers let others experience the Truth that lives in us we will experience and be amazed at the work that the Holy Spirit will accomplish through us. “Astonish” those you encounter this week because you know Jesus.