By: Gary L. Hutchens
Being a Christian is not just wearing a title. The name Christian is not an identification of some segment of our life. Being a Christian is who I am and what I am. Christianity is not a part of my life, relegated to prescribed time periods during certain days of the week. Christianity is my life, my whole life, 24/7.
As a Christian I need to continually consider what the world sees when they look at me. When people observe me, they need to see a faithful, dedicated, active Christian. They need to see consistency in that identity.
The scriptures repeatedly instruct us, as followers of Christ, to present an image of true Christianity through the way we live our daily lives. In the sermon on the mount Jesus teaches that we need to be illuminating light in a world that is groping around in the darkness of sin. We are to be salt that seasons the world around us making it better than it otherwise is (Matt. 5:13-16).
Jesus said most people are taking a path through life that will lead to eternal destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). The apostle Paul instructs us, as Christians, to be an influence that can help straighten the crooked paths of sinfulness, immorality and wickedness down which most people are walking (Phlp. 2:15).
Jesus commands us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ so sincerely that other people can see our Christianity through that relationship (Jn. 13:34-35). We should regularly examine ourselves as to whether we are truly living “in the faith” (1 Cor. 11:27-29; 2 Cor. 13:5).
The question for each of us is, “What do people see when they look at me?” Another way to put it, “What do I look like to others?” What impression of Christianity do non-Christians get by looking at the way I live my Christian life? Do they see Christ in me, or does the way I live hide Him from view?
What impression do we make when we use the same profane language so common in the world around us? What conclusions do people draw when they see us lose our temper and display angry behavior, just as non-Christians do? What is our influence when we dress in ways that detract from our Christian identity? What do people think when they see us set aside our Christian principles in order to blend in and thereby take part in worldly behavior? What is their perception when they see us neglect something so basic as our attendance at church services?
People are watching us. Someone is always watching, observing and drawing conclusions based on what they see. Jesus knew that and instructed us to take advantage of that truth by living lives exemplary of Christianity. Through our daily examples we can influence people to Christ, or we can tarnish the image of Christianity in their eyes. So, what do people see when they look at us? What do we look like to others?…
Gary L. Hutchens