By Katie Heid
“You may be the only Jesus people see.”
I’ve heard this phrase much throughout my life, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I’m reluctant to pass it off as the Gospel.
Phrases like this put the emphasis on appearance, not authenticity. They don’t allow for bad days, a season of grief, or a serious expression on our faces. It ramps up the importance of smiling and niceness with a heaping portion of guilt. It’s like getting your hair done for prom, only to realize your date won’t arrive for five more hours. You sit still, careful to keep things looking pleasant and pretty for everyone.
This does not mean that we fail to show the fruits of the spirit in our lives. If Christ lives in us, it should transform every area of our lives. But even Christ warned that we would face tough times. In John 16:33, Jesus says, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
We see others through a snapshot, and that’s how many people see us. It’s a brief moment in time. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to be the “perfect” Christian. Peter denied Jesus. James and John bickered over who would have a better seat in Heaven. Paul relied a little too heavily on the rules that guided his former life. However, God used them all.
Redemption which only allows one chance isn’t redemption at all. Instead of worrying about what others may think of us and our walk with Christ, let’s focus on the work He’s doing in our hearts. God will sort our other people’s judgments of you. As one author wrote, “Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.” Your calling is to focus on loving God and loving people.
Before Jesus left this earth, He offered this command in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Action, not appearance, is the best approach. Go with God today, friends.