CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
By Lauren A. Birago
Recently I realized the importance of demonstrating that I am a believer walking a Christian journey, specifically to those who are not. This is different than saying that I am. My actions and quality of speech should show it. When my language is offensive and riddled with negativity, or my choices do not reflect Godly direction, it does not only affect my life, but those who are watching as well. The observer could be in transition. Their heart could be wondering about Jesus, though their lips claim otherwise. It is likely that they've heard of him, and missed the significance of his sacrifice. They may have accepted the account of his life as a myth to be added to the stories of the Greek gods. They watch, looking for a difference, but finding the same.
Some know my faith and the distinction that is supposed to come with it, yet I have displayed, at times, a mind that has not been renewed and emotions that are not subject to higher order. Hiding my struggles, bouts of despair, and emotional hardship is not a suitable alternative, and it falsely portrays my Christian journey. Revealing it, as led to do so, shows that I suffer the same stormy weather, rough terrain, and emotional upheaval during times of conflict or trauma. Anger rises up in me when my boundaries are crossed like many others. Sadness burdens my heart when hurt by those dear to me, for pain has no respect of persons. Depression takes its toll, clouding my vision and polluting the beauty before me. And yes, I sin. Sharing these experiences help the unbeliever identify with my continuous renewal process as a believer in Christ, but only if I season it with pure humility and hope. It shows that they do not have to be perfect to come to the Lord for support, direction, and companionship. Through it God can tear down the myths and disprove the naysayers that proclaim our hypocrisy. It is an example of imperfection being perfected by the Perfect.
I invited someone to walk with me in the Christian journey by opening their heart to let Jesus in. They respectfully declined by expressing their belief. They had no reason to consider life beyond this one; therefore they did not see a need for a savior. For years I've had the opportunity to show this person the Spirit that dwells within me, and be persuasive through actions and conversations set apart from the world. However, I have chosen repeatedly to succumb to the language that is not a representation of my God and my Savior. I have not properly revealed a struggle to which they could relate. Instead I showed them that I was in the throes of anger with hostile language and little room for forgiveness. Judgment spewed from my mouth like chewed tobacco, and blame like flames with an accelerant. I was not honoring God, nor showing his Son.
I am among those called to be the salt of the earth; to present a seasoned offering, without corrupt communication. My words are to introduce God's workmanship to those who are unaware, as he removes my blemishes that blur his reflection. The salt that Jesus told us to have in ourselves (Mark 9:50), is our intrinsic value, our essence that identifies us to God, and God to those who see him through us.
The moment came when I could testify of Jesus' support, direction and companionship. I had the opportunity to share that he quenches my seething anger, weaves joy in my sadness, and uplifts me out of the pit of depression. I could proclaim that Jesus is the solution, empowering me to solve things that are impossible without him. But I had to present it with a disclaimer because I had already corrupted my presentation of him. My salt had "lost its saltness" (Mark 9:50 KJV).
I've always known that my conversation should be acceptable in God's sight, but I did not realize the impact of choosing the opposite. I questioned, "Is it really that serious?" It is when someone's salvation depends on it. I did not link the life of another until I witnessed my missed opportunity to resend the invitation. In Christ, the opportunity to repent is ever present. Through this experience I have been enlightened. I will be more mindful of the salt that I am.
"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Col 4:6 KJV)
Photo Credit: Kersley Fitzgerald
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Published on 7-4-13