2003-01-10 - The Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the World
Not Just for Presbyterians, Part 6
If you are a Christian, think about the title of my devotional, for that is your responsibility, as it is the responsibility of every believer. Our behavior, our words and our attitudes reflect Christ and His Kingdom to those around us. Or do they?
In our final devotional on the "Great Ends of the Church," we will be thinking about "the exhibition of Heaven to the world." This concept could have several different meanings, and this is not intended to be an exhaustive study of the topic. I will share what I believe God has put on my own heart about this.
In your church, group of Christian friends or family, is there a visible state of unity? The way we believers get along with one another affects how people see our Lord. Jesus had some sobering words about that:
John 17:20-21 I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
When they see us storming out of meetings because something isn't done our way, getting bent out of shape over minor issues (like the type of music sung in our church) etc., how does that reflect on Christ? If you were a nonbeliever, would you want to follow a Lord whose disciples are constantly bickering with one another? I think not.
And how about your own everyday life? When you are annoyed at a coworker, do onlookers see Christ's reflection in the way you handle it? When you are cut off in traffic, would people who watch your reaction, know that you are a Christ-followe - would your reaction draw people to your Lord? When you get a traffic ticket, would people see Christ relfected in your attitude about the police officer - would people yearn to follow Christ because of what they see in you?
Today at work, I had an important examination on Criminal Justice procedures. But an even more vital examination is that which I should do of my heart. I challenge you to join me. Try to take an objective look at yourself. Do you feel people see Christ in you, more than they did a year ago? Ten years ago? We are to be growing evermore like our Lord.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
I encourage you to join me in thinking about how well you, your church, your family and group of friends do, when it comes to exhibiting the Kingdom to the world.