The Beautiful Bride - Week 5, Day 2


IF… Paul urges us “…to live a life worthy of the calling we have received.” and whatever happens, to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Ephesians 4:1 and  Philippians 1:27a (NIV)

IF… Paul said,  “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” 1 Timothy 4:15-16 (NIV)

THEN… I will recognize that as a Christ follower, I have received a calling from God.  This calling is not just for pastors, missionaries and clergy, but for every disciple of Christ. Therefore, I will devote myself to my own spiritual growth so that others will see my progress.  I will watch my life and doctrine closely so that I will be an attractive and credible witness who can lead others to Jesus.  In others words, I will practice what I preach, AND I will preach what I practice!

Have you ever watched as an official called an “out” in a baseball game? It does not matter how many people agree with the official, if HE calls the “out” then it’s “out!” The way we live our lives as Christians is a similar scenario. People are always watching you as one of Christ’s representatives, and they form their opinions about your God based on what they see! Often before we can tell someone about God, they have called us “out” because of our actions. If we want our message to be received by those around us, then our lives must be marked by God’s love and goodness.

Maybe this is why Paul tells us that love covers a multitude of sins! Just like the old adage, “People won’t care what you know until they know that you care.” If it is perceived that you are just out for the hard sell or to be critical, then what you say will be ineffective. Unfortunately as Christians, we are already working against the stereotype that we are judgmental and condemning. We are often known more for what we stand against than what we stand for. Our good behavior on Sunday mornings doesn’t always match up with the rest of the week. When our observers see that our lives don’t look much different than their own, they wonder why in the world they would need our God. The Greek for the word “church” is ecclesia, which means to be called out or to be set apart. 

As the Bride of Christ, we have been redeemed by the blood of our groom.  Because our righteousness is from Christ, there is no place for self-righteousness in our lives. Our gratitude to God should motivate us to share his love with a lost and dying world. When we begin to love others sacrificially the way that Christ loved us, then others will note something different about us, then we will have influence, then they will listen to our life-changing message. C.S. Lewis said that he never met a mere mortal. When we recognize that everyone we encounter has an eternal soul, it should compel us to live a life of influence. Are you living a life that is set apart, that looks different from those around you? Do they know that you love them by what you are willing to sacrifice for them?

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