I accepted Christ as the leader of my life back when I was high school. Since then, I have experienced the ups and downs that go along with any relationship. However, in this relationship, I am the one who is always in the wrong. God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So, any snag in my relationship with Him, is completely and solely my fault.
After all these years, my relationship with Christ is stronger today than it was back when I was a teenager. My love for Him is just as strong, maybe stronger, today than it was the day I first said “yes” to Him.
Even with my love never waning, I will have to admit that throughout the years I have struggled to share my faith with those around me. At my core, I am a not a people person. People drain me. I am much better when completing a task.
However, I am aware that as a follower of Christ, I am called to share Him with those around me who do not know Him. As a follower of Christ, I shouldn’t keep Him all to myself. He is the answer to all the world’s issues. I know that, but yet, I have and do struggle to share Him with others.
I have some thoughts on why I struggle with sharing His love; let’s see if you can relate.
Old Testament Thinking
I believe that throughout my life, at times, I have operated under the Old Testament law of staying clear of the unclean. Leviticus chapter 13 verses 45-46 tell us how people who had a skin disease had to behave back then, 45 Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.
If anyone had any contact with these people, they too would be unclean and would have to engage in the same behavior. So, in order to not become unclean, people would avoid those who were suffering from these afflictions.
Looking back over my life, I will admit that I have avoided people because of how they looked or how they behaved because I did not want to be influenced by them and thus lose my relationship with Christ in the process. Can you relate?
New Testament Behavior
When Jesus came, He set a new standard for interacting with the hurting and lost. Instead of running from the unclean, He went to them. Instead of refusing to touch them, He held out His hand and healed them (Matthew 8:3).
With Jesus as my example, I am called to reach out to those around me who are not like me. I am challenged to interact with those who are the lame, the blind, the lost. I will admit, it is a challenge. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us, The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. I use this verse constantly when interacting with people who I want to write off as a wasted case. People matter to God and they should matter to us too.
If we as a church would adopt the standard set by Jesus as our standard of interacting with those around us, how much more impactful could the church be? I am attempting to eliminate the Old Testament thinking from my life and allow the New Testament behaviors to define my life. I will admit, it can be a struggle at times, but with Christ all things are possible.
In what ways has Old Testament thinking influenced you?
How has Christ changed the way you look at and interact with others?