Christ’s Ambassadors

Mar 13, 11 Christ’s Ambassadors

Christ’s Ambassadors: Like it or not

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

 

The world sees Jesus through Christians.

 

So, Christian, you are an ambassador for Christ to this broken world: are you representing Him well or is your own brokenness more apparent than His sufficiency?

 

Even though I am the one writing this, that question stings me terribly because I know how often I fail at representing Him well.  It is an uncomfortable question and I need to be cognizant of my behavior in order to answer it well, reminding myself (and the Holy Spirit doesn’t miss any opportunity to remind me either) that I must stay vigilant against my human-nature.  I don’t want to be anyone’s stumbling block.

 

Most of the time it isn’t our actions, which determine if we are a worthy ambassador for Christ.  It is our words.

 

James 3: 1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”

 

Words said, uttered, can never be blotted out. Our tongue, our words, unless given over to God’s control continually, can hurt, distress, maim … How many people do you know who have been severely broken by words?  Are you: the maim-er or the maimed?  And yes, even as practicing Christians, we cannot point our finger without including ourselves: all of us are both maimed and maim-er.

 

One of C.S. Lewis’ masterpieces of a book is entitled: ‘Mere Christianity’.  It is only 190 pages long and originally was not a book at all but a series of Radio talks.  When I was a brand new Christian, I read this book and one of the most profound points which helped open my eyes, is this quote from his Preface:

“When a man who accepts the Christian doctrine lives unworthily of it, it is much clearer to say he is a bad Christian than to say he is not a Christian.”

 

C.S. Lewis begins this paragraph, “We must therefore stick to the original, obvious meaning. The name Christians was first given at Antioch (Acts 6:26) to “the disciples,” to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles.  There is no question of its being restricted to those who profited by that teaching as much as they should have.  There is no question of its being extended to those who in some refined, spiritual, inward fashion were “far closer to the spirit of Christ” than the less satisfactory of the disciples.  The point is not a theological, or moral one.  It is only a question of using words so that we can all understand what is being said.”

 

What I got out of that is the word ‘Christian’ has basically become an adjective, a descriptive word, instead of its true intent, which is as a noun.  You are either a Christian or not a Christian and whether you are a good one or a bad one is beside the point because our salvation is NOT based on whether we’re good at being one.

 

A person can be a really lousy representative of the religion: Christianity.  As I stated, this realization made an impact on me as a new Christian.  Let’s say a particular Christian just isn’t your happy person, and is in fact, pretty rude… does this mean they aren’t really a Christian?  No.  God journeys us all through that sanctification process: making us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  For some Christians, the rest of us may be viewing their journey as having little progress but God knows best.  Their getting out of bed each day may be a struggle, which we’ll never encounter, so a huge accomplishment and only possible because they have Christ in their life.

 

Yes, it’s a broken world and we are broken, broken people but that said and despite the example stated above, we can’t fall back on that as an excuse.

 

2 Corinthian 12:9a, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

 

Even with His grace, we will sometimes fail.  The reality is, though, the world sees Jesus through us Christians.  AND, we need to broaden our definition of ‘World’, recognizing that it isn’t just those “out there” so therefore, we can relax, and let down, showing our “human-nature” side to those in our “ranks”.

 

I feel like Churchill here (hence the ‘accent’ 😎 ) when I state: “Nevah, nevah, nevah, nevah!” take it for granted that you are talking to another Christian.  Most people in my life assumed I was a Christian YEARS before I was a Christian.  I was rarely moved by their “testimony”.  I really didn’t think Christians were exhibiting anything different than I thought I already had.  We all know people who act more like Christians who aren’t Christians than Christians!  The problem is that our non-believing family and friends do too.

 

I am not promoting salvation through works at all but just stating that our EVERYTHING is our witness to the world on whether our life, which has encountered Jesus, has become ‘joyous’.  Truly, our light shining forth, despite our human-nature tendency to wallow in our circumstances: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

Yes, we will have our dry seasons in which we really struggle in being ‘joyous’ but we have to battle against ourselves so that we don’t reside in a state of consistent drought.  Jesus is always there to help but we have to battle ourselves to allow Him to.

 

We’ve all encountered Christians that consistently fall back to showing no joy and it seems to our human-narrowed-vision, that there is little evidence of a Holy Spirit indwelling.  I heard about an episode in a Christian’s life, in which they were angry and upset, so they acted out how angry and upset they were and then made sure EVERYONE else in their vicinity felt that venting, I guess I’m venting in this blog.  We all lose it occasionally.  If, as a Christian, it keeps occurring, oftentimes what is played out is more a withholding of ourselves from Jesus Christ’s transforming power.  It is a stubbornness which has become a habit.  We all have areas in our lives in which we do this.  We have to be cognizant because the ‘World’ is watching.  In painful, selfish displays, there is room only for the instigator to vent their frustration and anger and the others in proximity just have to take it, shoving their shocked, wreaked emotions elsewhere.  Those “spectators” are almost always family members and sometimes those “spectators” are children, who have been ‘gifted’ a memory to battle against emulating.  There is always a residual effect.  We are SO broken and the Maimed has become the Maim-er, and in this example, is making more Maimed.  Hopefully, the newly Maimed, through their reliance on God, will learn to break this broken behavior, which they have been taught so effectively by a parent (who was taught by their parent, etc. etc. and on down the line – the sins of our fathers…)  But that’s IF those children choose to rely on God, accepting a relationship with Jesus.  These newly Maimed haven’t been privy to seeing any “joy” in knowing Christ.  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit can woo people in spite of the ‘bad’ Christian experiences in a person’s life but we cannot discount our culpability in being a stumbling block, just the same.  From personal experience, I can state with certainty that regret is a nagging entity.

 

Are our words kinder, more considerate to a stranger?  Someone who we’ll probably never see again, than our words are to our own family? Why do we treat those closest to us so carelessly?  Being an ambassador for Christ has to encompass the entire world then and there is no better place to live that out, than in our own homes.  It is there where we truly allow Jesus to be King over our life.

 

Christian: The ‘World’ is starved to see our victories.

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4 Comments

  1. Hello, My sweet girl. i do so enjoy reading your blog. this one is particularly touching and so very true.

  2. Stephanie

    “If, as a Christian, it keeps occurring, oftentimes what is played out is more a withholding of ourselves from Jesus Christ’s transforming power. It is a stubbornness which has become a habit.”

    Unfortunately, this was me for most of my life. For years of being a believer I only occasionally spent time in His presence and in His word, and THERE is where we see ourselves against who HE is, and the Holy Spirit graciously (and so gently) reveals my true nature juxtaposed to HIS holy nature. I refuse to fret over the past, as that is what the devil would have for me… to live in guilt and condemnation. But my challenge now is to continue to spend more time with Him. My habits have changed in the last couple of years, and I do see Him at work in me more than ever before. But I also desire more and more! If this really is a race, as Paul refers to our Christian walk, then I pray I have the endurance to finish well and live a life that glorifies who HE is.

    Thanks, Elaine. This was a rough reminder for me… but an important one. My tongue needs to be bridled, like, every minute it seems! If I really am the only Jesus most people will ever see in my life… ouch.

  3. Cindi

    Dearest Elaine, Thank you for this insightful commentary. It struck a chord deep in my heart and I will be focusing my efforts and prayers on becoming a better ambassador for Christ. Your message is annointed.

  4. Christine Schat

    Dear Elaine, I too considered myself a Christian before I ever became one. What a surprise was in store for me when I experienced the difference. I want to thank you for your comments on this difficult (because it truly is so personal to each of us) subject. Well done. I plan to keep it handy and read it often as a reminder. Chris

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  1. Christians & Sin | Blogging with Elaine - [...] I think it is important to remember to be an Ambassador for Christ no matter WHO we are in…
  2. My Testimony | Blogging with Elaine - […] for Christ to everyone, even people we think are Christians, because we just never know. (Click ‘here’ for more…

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