What could make Christianity attractive to the World
I am just finishing a Small Group Study called “Doing Good” by Pastor Chip Ingram. It has been a fascinating study with a lot of practical information that we, as Christians, need in order to make Christianity palatable to those that are in the world.
This last lesson was on just that. What do we project to the world that makes us different? That makes people want to be like us? To have what we have? We’ve all heard the expression “You may be the only Bible that some people read.” I won’t get into a diatribe about you should be like this, or you should do this and that will project the aura of the “Holy Spirit” living inside us. Sure there are some things we need to do, but we have heard them so often that they go in one ear and out the other. And the result is that we project what we believe and not the image of Christ in us!
Okay, I am meddling, but let me ask you a question. What does it take to let a person in line at the grocery store with one or two items go in front of you? I was at a store a week ago and an older gentleman with two bunches of flowers stepped up behind me to wait in line. I had a basket with maybe 12 items in it and I made the decision to let him go in front of me. There was a lady in front of me who hadn’t started to unload a very full basket. She turned and looked at him and proceeded to unload the basket. The clerk saw the man that was now between us and paused to see if the woman would let him go first. It was not to happen. The clerk checked her out and then there was a discussion about needing something else, and then a need to get information from her phone that took a bit to access.
The man waited patiently, not saying anything, and when it was time to check him out, he paid in cash and was out of there in less than two minutes. As he was picking up the flowers, he turned to me and said “Thank You! That was so nice of you.” What did it cost me? Two minutes time and nothing else. He most likely didn’t know I was a Christian, because I don’t necessarily broadcast it, but it made an impression on him, the checker, and the lady that packed my things in the bags. He was, as Chip described in the lesson, “A VIP!” Was he a Christian? I would guess not, but he was someone that Christ died for and should be treated as such. At some point if people that walk with the Lord show compassion there will be an opportunity to share Christ with those around us.
Would it have mattered if he had been dressed shabbily, or was in need of a shower or a bath? I hope not. Christ died for those people, too, and we need to remember that.
I am going to share a list of things that we discussed in our lesson that really made sense to me. I went through them and printed them out for my wall. Chip listed 6 things that we, as Christians, can do that will project “Christ in us”. Are they easy? Maybe, and maybe not. But like anything else if you take a step in a direction and follow it with another, pretty soon it becomes a habit and it is easier to do than you thought when you first read it. Praying for intervention from the Holy Spirit also helps make them real. Here’s the list.
Obey the Law:*
Romans 13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Serve your Community:*
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Slander no one:*
Ephesians 4: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Refuse to Fight:*
Romans 12: 17-18 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Be winsome and forbearing:*
James 3: 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Treat everyone as a VIP:*
These are really pretty easy to do if you begin with small steps and practice them daily. Are you going to get the chance every day? Maybe not, but when you do remember them and use them. If we all put these into practice, we could change the world.
*The BOLD PRINT is from Chip’s message on Doing Good # 7