“So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20a NLT)
Ron Hutchcraft wrote in a recent devotional: “The pastor of a mega church in America was meeting one of the ladies in his church one time and he said, ‘What do you do?’ and she said, ‘Well, Pastor, I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ cleverly disguised as a machine operator.’ I love that! She said, “this is just my clever disguise, because who does a lost machine operator most likely to listen to? Another machine operator!” So, what’s your clever disguise? Your job? Your school activities? Your community position? What you do for fun, for recreation?
Far too often we think of our walk with Jesus as “personal,” but that can easily translate into nobody else’s business. If we’re not very careful, it becomes only what we are and do on Sunday. While I agree that knowing Jesus is very personal, it was never intended to be private. As a Christ-follower, we’re not containers in which the Holy Spirit is stored, we’re designed by God to be conduits through whom His Spirit can flow.
How did you learn about Jesus? For me it was through another person. At that time, I was a student, so God used another student to speak with me about Jesus. It may sound strange, but when I was pastoring, I rarely told people that I was a pastor, unless they specifically asked. You know why? Because usually the first question they would ask was: “Oh, what church do you pastor?” And that became the theme of our conversation.
Being a follower of Jesus is far more about relationship than religion; it’s far more about personal transformation than indoctrination into a series of beliefs. My belief system has been developed through study and seeking to listen to the Holy Spirit regarding what is true, based on the authority of God’s written Word, not necessarily what the church I pastored, or attend is teaching. And I’m still learning. I’m a work in progress.
God has cleverly disguised you as whomever you are and whatever areas or arenas in which you find yourself. While you aren’t what you do, if you’re a follower of Jesus, He will speak in and through you by the quality of your work ethic, your attitude towards authority, your willingness to be flexible in how you interrelate with others, and to a very large degree, through your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
The language of God’s Ambassadors is “Jesus,” whether or not we ever mention His holy Name. If you’re a different person at work on Monday than you are in church on Sunday, there’s a problem. We have to ask ourselves – “who’s rubbing off on whom? Am I becoming more like my co-workers, people at the gym, at the coffee shop, where I hang out, etc. or are they becoming more like me?” Are they beginning to reflect my values or am I reflecting theirs?
And yes, of course, there’s got to be balance. You can’t shove Jesus down someone’s throat. You can be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good. Jesus is my life, but I have to be under His control, being sensitive to the people and places I am, taking my cues from the Holy Spirit, not from the people with whom I’m working, playing, visiting, etc.
We need to be careful about our language, humor, and attitudes regardless of our surroundings. To use language at work, home, or anyplace else that we wouldn’t use when speaking with someone at church should raise a huge red flag. To treat our spouses and kids differently at home than when we’re at church or around other “church” people should sound the proverbial alarm in our heart and mind.
An ambassador is a representative of their country of origin and should live in a way that would honor and accurately represent their country in whichever country they’re assigned. We’re ambassadors of the King of kings and Lord of lords. To act, speak, or live in a way that clouds or distorts who Jesus is or what His desires are for the person with whom we’re speaking, is a violation of a sacred trust God has given us as His child.
Our “clever disguise” is supposed to help us in better representing Jesus, not hiding from our responsibility to share His life and love with those in our spheres of influence who so desperately need Him.
Blessings, Ed 😊