The Look of a Christian

It really is nearly impossible to pick a favorite book of the Bible. A verse? Even harder. To be honest, that is not a cliché – but rather an authentic statement from 25+ years of reading a book that has provided wisdom, warning, and love.

But when I do have to think about or talk about a favorite book of the Bible – more specifically chapter –  I will commonly turn to 2 Corinthians 5. In this post I want to share a few specific verses that provide valuable principles for the everyday Christian life. If you were to ask me, What should a Christian (in part) “look like”? this would at least be part of my answer.

2 Corinthians 5:5-11

Walk by Faith

There are very good odds you have seen someone who is drunk, trying to walk. Perhaps you, yourself admit the sin of drinking until drunkenness at some point in your life. Maybe it is a friend or family member you know who you’ve seen heavily influenced. Hollywood films almost always have a scene where an actor portrays a drunkard making his or her way down the street or through the bar. No matter the case, it is unmistakable whenever someone is attempting to walk while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Perhaps their gate is limited, they drag their feet, or they walk with a pronounced limp. A drunk person rarely ever walks straight from point A to point B. Intoxicating substances have a way of causing a person to appear stoop-shouldered or weighed down by the chemicals sludging through their veins.

But then think of that person in contrast with a healthy person. Just recently I saw a Facebook post of an old fraternity friend from college. His post was titled, One year off the bottle a few days ago. Thanks family and friends. If his name wasn’t on his profile, there is no way on earth I could have identified him as the same man. He looks incredible. There is no doubt, the healthy changes he has made to his lifestyle have had a dramatic impact on his quality of life. When he once was a guy who walked and stumbled like someone I described before, he now walks with life, confidence, and strength. His whole physic is different – head to toe.

In verse 5, Paul writes to teach us that God has promised us the presence of the Holy Spirit – and this should influence our “walk”. This guarantee is one that gives us life, confidence, and strength. The Trinity is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. According to passages in chapters like John 14 & 16 we know the Holy Spirit lives inside of us to teach, remind, and comfort. This kind of guarantee should change the way we walk spiritually. Change our perspective on life. As Christians, we walk by faith and not by sight. Because of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of a Christian we no longer have the need to depend on other “substances” in this world to give us confidence or hope. Not matter what you are walking through, you can walk through it with the guarantee that God the Holy Spirit is with you – it is not always easy, but it is that simple.

Be Pleasing

I can remember when my wife and I first had children. I thought, “I don’t know if I can be stern. I need to take lessons on how to give “that look.” Funny. A parent doesn’t need instructions or practice. Whenever a parent who passionately loves their child is displeased with them, it is obvious.

For a number of reasons, Christians confuse grace with sin-excusability. They think that because God is merciful and has given us grace through His Son Jesus, we don’t have to worry about displeasing Him. This is simply not true. Romans 6:1-4 are perhaps the clearest verses from Paul on this topic. The fact we have been shown mercy and are given grace should motivate us to be pleasing to God.

Well, how can we be pleasing to God? Good question. Jesus, Himself, teaches us in John 14:15 if we love Him we will keep His commandments. What are His commandments? Those can be summed up simply in The Great Commandment and The Great Commission. Though, by confession, this too can be abstract for some. Therein lies the reason why studying God’s Word and spending time in prayer is so crucial. It is when you read the Bible God will reveal to you His specific will for your life and that will include daily obedience to His commandments as explained throughout. Your time in prayer is also going to be a chance for the Holy Spirit to convict (point out) habits, actions, or words that are sin – sin being that which breaks the commandments of God and displeases Him.

Lastly, the Bible is not all bad news. As you read and pray you will also see and understand ways you can do and speak in order to please Him (see Micah 6:8). Far too often Christians are known for what they are against rather than what they are for. When you commit to live your life in a way that pleases Him (while you are away from Him physically on this earth) you will also make an eternal difference in those around you.

Persuade Men

Speaking of those around you…perhaps the greatest conundrum of Christianity is that Christians know the fear of the Lord and still don’t warn others of God’s wrath on sin. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. But doesn’t everyone want to be a hero? While evangelism is not about you being the hero, evangelism is the process of you introducing a dead, lost, sinner to the One who can save them.

It is a worn-out example, but still the most powerful – imagine if you discovered the cure for cancer. You concocted the correct measurements of medicine and combined it with just the right amount of other life-giving ingredients and development a medicine to end it all – would you keep that medicine to yourself?! A secret? Afraid to offend someone if they did not like it’s taste or want to go through the process of taking it? OF COURSE NOT! If the Bible is true (which it is) and everyone is appointed to die (which they are) and will be judged (which they will) how can we not devote time to telling others the good news of the Gospel?! If you have never heard that good news or are curious about more information, click here: The Story. To those reading who are a Christian I leave you with this illustration, one of my favorites and most powerful.

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 1, 1985— A guest at a party for lifeguards celebrating their first drowning-free swimming season in memory drowned Tuesday, the director of the New Orleans Recreation Department said today. Madlyn Richard, the department director, said the body of Jerome Moody was found on the bottom at the deep end of a department pool as the party ended. She said Mr. Moody, who was 31 years old, was not a lifeguard, but four lifeguards were on duty at the party.

Surrounded by lifeguards and a countless number of party-goers, a man still drowned in plain sight. Is this a description of your life? Is there a “Jerome Moody”, right in front of you, who is drowning in sin and desperately needs rescued by (persuaded of) the good news of God’s redemptive love?

As we aim to live lives like that of our Savior Jesus, may our lives look like Christ-followers who walk by faith, are pleasing to Him, and persuade men of the good news of salvation.