Sometimes being different makes me uneasy. Often, I have an unhealthy desire to be understood and accepted by everyone. Many, many times, I fear people instead of God, making them big and God small. When I talk to others who may not be Christians, I often stumble over my words. I recently realized that it is because of a fear of man in my heart.
Writing a blog, and sharing what I am thinking, is easy. Going to church, and singing on the worship team, boldly singing of the glory of God, is easy. But when I am face to face with my neighbor, for example, I have nothing to say. It is not that I don’t have thoughts going through my mind, but I am intimidated and terrified.
I’ve had to repent, because God is Truth, and I have nothing to be ashamed of, even if others do not understand. He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love, power and sound mind; so when I am fearful I am not walking in the Spirit, but in my flesh, which is sin. The world is not going to understand. The world hated Jesus. I shouldn’t expect any better treatment. But honestly, I have never experienced overt hostility because of my faith in Christ. I should be willing to be laughed at and mocked. I have experienced that, but it didn’t kill me.
Even as I’ve celebrated the 4th of July with my family, and been reminded that I should be thankful for my country and the freedom we have here, I’ve also been reminded that this world is not really my home. I am part of a heavenly Kingdom, and the ways of that Kingdom are different than the ways of the world and seem very strange to the world.
“So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore let us go out to him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” Hebrews 13:14-16.
Am I willing to bear the reproach of Christ? He bore mine for me. May my lips be filled with praise to God. It can be a sacrifice to acknowledge Him to others and risk rejection. But He was rejected by men and by His Father on the cross, so that I could be accepted by God. Even as I do good and share with others, I am reminded that the most precious thing I have is the Truth that sets us free. I need to remember that people are really all the same as me: sinners in need of the Savior. It is selfish for me to keep the gospel to myself. As my friend Steph recently said, “People are hungry for the word of God.”
It was easy to write that. Pray that I will live it out in my life.
For the glory of God alone.