C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity:
“Enemy-occupied territory — that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” As we live among the world, we are called to engage with this world, to sabotage the evil and raise the name of our righteous King Jesus!
LIVING IN THIS WORLD
Living in a fallen world isn’t easy to do, and we cannot be weak in our walks with the Lord. Paul the apostle encourages us in 2 Corinthians 4:16, that we be renewed daily in the Lord Jesus Christ. Many days, it may feel like the world around you is against you, or that you are tired from the ministry He has asked you to do. But Paul says that this “daily renewing” is what causes us continue in the work God has given us to do.
Sometimes, we will face pain and suffering, but in light of the weight of glory that awaits us, nothing compares (4:17). We don’t need to be discouraged if we see our lives and the world through eternity (4:18). We do live in an earthly “tent” for now – the tent will be tossed by the wind, hurt in the storms, but rebuilt through joy and encouragement. Even through this process, we can look forward to that eternal building from God, a house not made with hands (5:1). We groan here, longing for home and for the life we were created for — but we can put on the eternal now so we won’t be ashamed during these days or when we meet our Savior.
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
This home is only temporary, but our eternal home is permanent (5:2-4)! Now, since God has given us a preview of the eternal and we can see a glimmer of eternity, He has prepared us! All of our responsibilities and work is from God; He has prepared us for His very purpose, and has given us His Spirit as a promise (5:5). All that He has done, is doing, and will do in us is guaranteed — His Holy Spirit will help us live this way. We prefer to be with Jesus Christ in glory. For to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord (5:6-8). But we can live with courage and not lose heart when we walk by faith and not by sight!
LIVING FOR JESUS
Our goal must be to please our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (5:6-9). In our thoughts, with our words, and in our deeds — our entire life is called to reflect Jesus and show the lost world that He changes people. When we face the judgment seat of Christ (5:10), we will be paid for what we’ve done in this life, those good works that we have done which He has prepared beforehand for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We also will be paid for what we’ve done against His will. I don’t know what this will look like, but this verse very clearly states that we will answer for everything.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men (5:11).
Knowing both who Jesus Christ is as Judge and who we are as sinful man, we work. The people we are interacting with everyday, see us for who we are — or they should see us as whose we are! If people think we are crazy for believing what we believe, let them. But if they see and believe — THAT is the reason to share the Gospel (5:12, 13)! We also speak about Jesus because the love of Christ controls us (5:14) and because He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf (5:14, 15). Jesus did this work so that men and women and boys and girls can live forever. Let that motivate you and me to live intentionally and speak His name.
When ONE comes to Jesus Christ, he or she is transformed by God (5:17)! Paul had been lost, persecuting Christ’s followers, but was transformed into one who spoke words of life. His attitudes and actions all changed because of Jesus. Christ removed the rebellion in Paul’s heart and reconciled, or made him right, by His own sacrifice (5:18, 19). We no longer represent ourselves; we represent the One to whom all glory, honor, blessing, and praise belongs!
We represent Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world — a world full of guilt, sin, and shame. As we go, we must wear Jesus’ name intentionally so that people can see how He has changed us.
And what has He done for you? He has taken your sin upon Himself and clothed you and me, given or imputed to us, His own righteousness. This is why we plead with others: “Come; know Him unto salvation, so that you can live forever with Him!”
Commit yourself today and tomorrow to be an ambassador, a messenger, for Jesus Christ!
*With Nicole Gentry.