I know that you and I would like to think others see only the best in us. But honestly, others see whomever is shining through us — Jesus or self.
I’ve been a believer for close to 50 years. But I haven’t necessarily let others see Christ in my life that whole time.
When I received Christ into my heart at 4 years old, all I knew then was to believe and receive. During my high school and college years I learned it was about standing for my convictions. Today, I realize that calling myself a Christ-follower means He must be on the throne of my life and He is the One others must see, not me.
Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Here are five simple ways to live by faith in the Son of God so that others see Christ in your life:
- Love the unlovely.
It’s easy to love someone who loves you in return. It’s also easy to love the beautiful, kind, and lovely people. But it’s a whole different story to love someone who doesn’t deserve your love or look the part or treat you well. Yet that’s what Jesus did and He instructed His followers to do the same.
Jesus said “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How did Jesus love? Scripture answers that in Romans 5:8: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Those without Christ only know conditional love, selfish love, erotic love. But when you show an unworldly love – a love that is sacrificial and without limits, preferences, or condition – others can’t help but see Jesus in you.
2. Freely forgive.
If I said to you: “I’ll forgive you when you have finally deserved my forgiveness” or “I need more time. I’ll forgive you when I’m ready” would you see the love and person of Christ in me?
I know forgiveness is difficult, especially when you’ve been hurt in a way that you never thought possible. I know it is not within us to be able to forgive freely and without condition. But that’s why your forgiveness of another is such a powerful testimony of Christ’s presence in your life. You know how badly offense hurts. And you know how freely Christ forgave you in spite of your own offenses. Colossians 3:13 instructs us “as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Go ahead. Let go of that burden of bitterness and resentment and freely forgive. When you do, others will see Christ in you.
3. Keep your cool.
Are you a person of self-control who can keep calm and carry on? Or are you one to fly off the handle when you are upset? Do others look to you in a crisis or do they run the other direction knowing you’re the “hot head” who loses your cool?
Proverbs 15:18 tells us “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”And James 1:19-20 “says let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
There is wisdom in exercising patience and understanding, even in situations that are frustrating. Your self-control shows others Whoyou are trusting. When you display a gentle spirit and respond maturely, rather than blow steam and react emotionally, you are showing others that your faith and trust is in God, who can work out any situation.
4. Watch your words.
I’ve read more hurtful, biting words by Christians on social media sites than I’ve ever experienced from unbelievers while writing for secular newspapers for years. It’s okay to feel strongly about something and voice your concern. Jesus, many times, came out and said it like it was. But, can we show a little love, understanding, and grace by simply tempering our words, especially when we’re all on the same team?
Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”And
Proverbs 16:2 says: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
It’s been said “people who hurt, hurt people.” Do your words heal rather than hurt? Do they lift up others instead of tear them down? When you speak healing, helping words, instead of biting, words, stinging comments and self-righteous rebukes, others will see Christin you, instead of your pain.
5. Display joy.
Jesus said “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). That is joy, my friends. He also saidwhen we obey Him and remain in His love, His joy will be in us and our joy will be complete (John 15:10-11). How can we know the God of this Universe – and experience His freedom and forgiveness – and not be filled with joy?
Yes, life is difficult. But joy is not about our circumstances which can change from day to day. Joy is about our condition– of being forgiven and free in Christ – which will never change. Be a person who is joyful, not continually down in the dumps, and others will see Christ in you.
Which of these five traits do you most need God’s help with? Let me know in the comment section below and I’d be happy to pray for you this week.