"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13 ESV
Moses radiated the glory of God after he met with Him on Mt. Sinai. Stephen's face was like that of an angel as he delivered the Gospel before the Jewish council. The Samaritan woman stopped every person she met to tell them about the One who told her all that she ever did. Peter and John were so saturated with Jesus, they oozed His story and power.
What do people see and hear when they see you?
Do they see a heart forever changed by the Creator and Sustainer of the world? Do they see one whose joy cannot be shaken for it abides in the great I AM? Do they witness a walking testimony to God Almighty's radical saving grace?
Or do they see a heart constantly entangled by the worries of this world? A happiness which quickly fades when resources are low and life is painful? A voice rattled with incessant anger, frustration, complaining and hopelessness?
For people who were literally rescued from the clutches of sin and death, we don't usually look or act like it, myself included. As an emotional thinker, my body carries my feelings and my eyes broadcast them for everyone to see. And let's just say, they don't always proclaim, "I am full of joy, and Jesus is the reason!" The same goes for my words. I wish I could say not one negative syllable has tickled my tongue, but we all know that is not humanly possible.
We are, after all, sinful humans who fall short of God's glory. We emote because God is an emoting God, and He made us in His image. We experience pain, disappointment and suffering because we live in a broken world. The point is not to dismiss this reality nor is it to say we as Christians can never appear sad, frustrated or weary. The American Church has built a reputation for a place where its members hide their true emotions, faults and worries.
Rather, the point is to push us to ask, "When others see me, do they see Jesus? Can I, like Paul, rejoice in my sufferings? Do I radiate God's glory in the midst of great difficulty, like Stephen?"
When others see us, especially during our lowest points, do they see the sweet fruit of the Spirit or the rank decay of the world?
We are a people who have been washed clean by the blood of a risen Savior, for Peter's sake! (Yes, that was a corny joke.) God literally died on our behalf, ripping us from the clutches of our
Enemy. Our hearts of stone were replaced with hearts of flesh, and we are walking temples of the Spirit of the Living God. C'mon!
No, we do not always need to have a smile on our face or be wearing our dancing shoes, but we are to be prepared to share the reason for the hope we have even when our world seems to be falling apart and we are sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
When others see us, especially during our lowest points, do they see the sweet fruit of the Spirit or the rank decay of the world? Do they hear us speak more often of the One who changed us or complaining about young people, the style and volume of music or the temperature in the sanctuary? God has redeemed us to share His story and proclaim His glory. How are you doing?
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.