Alright, it’s finally here… VACATION! You think I would be sleeping in since I have nowhere really to be today. Nope… Unfortunately, my brain decided it couldn’t shut itself off this morning after my usual 5am morning alarm went off, so I’ve been up since about 5:15. I’ve had a cup of coffee and done my devotional time with God this morning so I feel pretty accomplished already today. I figured since I don’t actually have to be anywhere until 10am this morning that I would sit down and write a blog post since it’s been a while and this topic has been on my mind a lot lately.
Recently I have had some close people in my life that have had some disheartening trouble in their relationships with family. It breaks my heart to see people that I love and care about, hurting in such a way that is so easily avoidable. This has been an eye-opening and self-reflecting time for myself as I want to ensure that what is happening to them, isn’t being reflected in areas of my own life. What exactly am I talking about? I’m talking about being an ambassador for Christ. As followers of Christ, we can all too easily hide behind this “title” of being a Christian, hide behind scripture and we can misuse and misrepresent the name of God. All too often in today’s society we see this happening a lot, not only within family dynamics, but also in the media. In the realm of big brand name companies, if you take on their name and you claim to be a part of that company and represent them, you must abide by their standards, their code of ethics, the way they choose to run their company and their policies. If you fail to do so, then they can easily ask that you no longer call yourself an ambassador/ representative of their company and you will no longer have any part with that company. As a brand ambassador for a company you have to ensure that you are representing that company in a true and correct manner.
This is also true of being an ambassador for Christ. The difference is that we aren’t told that we can no longer represent the name of Jesus; instead, when we misrepresent the name of Christ, we cause people to fall away from Jesus instead of running towards him. I have heard it asked many times that “why would someone want to follow God, if people are representing him in such a way?”. I have two answers for that. One, we have to be careful that we are connecting directly to the source (ie. the gospel/ God’s word) and finding out exactly what a representative should embody. Should we notice that someone is misrepresenting the heart and mind of Christ, we should pray for them, love them, meet them where they are and ultimately remember that they are not perfect. Perhaps they have a misrepresented view of God from how others have represented God to them. We can’t hold it against them; however, we can hold them accountable. Two, we shouldn’t place our decisions to know and love God based on the actions of others. Human beings are imperfect and flawed, and we will inevitably fail one another at various times. Our faith in God is about having a relationship with God. It all comes down to a choice. Faith IS a choice; I put my faith in something, meaning I am CHOOSING to believe or not believe. Don’t let someone’s skewed view of God and misrepresentation of him cause you to miss out on the most amazing relationship you can ever come to know.
For those of us who are followers of Christ, I urge us all to take some time this week coming up to evaluate where we are in our walk with Christ and to ensure that we are being good ambassadors for God. We don’t have to be perfect; we aren’t called to be and we couldn’t be perfect even if we tried our hardest. As fellow believers we should be able to encourage one another and hold each other accountable for our actions; however, if someone is not yet a follower of Christ, we need to meet those people exactly where they are in life and love them in the midst of where they’re at. We can easily cause someone to walk away from pursuing a relationship with God because of our actions, which is unfortunate and avoidable.
I am speaking about this from a place of love, compassion and personal experience.
Growing up, I would visit church with my grandmother on Sundays. I would have to wake up way too early, put on something formal that I didn’t want to wear and go sit through an hr or so long sermon where someone read to us from the bible. I noticed that the people there were nice, but didn’t invest too much time into sharing the heart and mind of God, but rather they would simply read stories from the bible, which I could do on my own. I never knew who God really was or what he was like until I found my home church now and they didn’t talk down to us, or read to us like we couldn’t understand the bible any other way; instead, they take real life everyday problems, and give us ways to apply scripture to our everyday lives.
I have myself, misrepresented the heart and mind of God to a fellow believer and sister in Christ only last year. I had a hard conversation with her about where she was at in her life and some decisions she was making. I had good intentions and my heart was in the right place, but I went about it all wrong. It took a good friendship that was growing well, and damaged it. That friendship was broken for a period of four months. For four months she wouldn’t talk to me; she wouldn’t return calls or text messages. I would kindly send her a text here or there just to remind her that I cared about her and I hoped that we could talk again. I continued to pray for reconciliation with her even when I continued to gain no response. After a while, my prayers were answered and she reached back out to me. During that four months I never gave up on the hope that God would reconcile our friendship. I discovered through our conversation that I had deeply wounded her. That was not my intention but that is what happened. Our friendship is the strongest it has been since meeting one another and I am blessed to call her my sister in Christ and one of my best friends. I recently sat down and had a video call with her and asked for feedback on what had happened during that time of our original conversation and four month time span and how I could have been a better friend to her and a better ambassador of Christ.
Essentially, I simply needed to meet her where she was at and remind her that I was there for her and that I cared about her and what was going on in her life. I had the right intentions, but the conversation we had that day was poorly executed. I loved on her too harshly and instead of simply holding her accountable, (which as Christ followers are called to do with fellow believers) I came across as judgemental, which there is a fine line between the two. Now if someone isn’t a believer, you need to meet them where they are and love them. LOVE THEM. That’s it. Pray for them, love them and ask God to change their heart because He is the ONLY ONE who can.
During the last year, I have met a girl who completely blew me away by the way she represents God and is an ambassador for Him. We went out for a smoothie one day and she paid, and as the girl handed her back her debit card, she looked at the cashier and asked “Is there anything you need prayer for?”. My head kind of did this tilty thing that dogs do when you ask them if they want a treat, and I kind of chuckled inside and was awestruck. As blown away as I was by her boldness in faith, I stopped for a second and thought to myself, “are you allowed to do that? Can you really just ask people that?”. The answer: YES. The girl of course was dumbfounded by the question and didn’t have anything that we could pray for her about but this opened up a whole new world on the way I saw being an ambassador for God.
We actually recently did a series at our church where we talked about being an ambassador for Christ and they talked about being bold in your faith and actually living out the things we talk about. Practice what you preach – don’t be a hypocrite. At the end of service our pastor pulled up a video of Penn Jillette from Penn and Teller talking about his experience after one of his shows. A man came up to him, prosthelytized to him, sharing the gospel with him and gave him a copy of the bible. Now Penn, who is an atheist, wasn’t offended by this, but instead he was blown away by the boldness of this man’s faith; the fact that this man cared enough for a stranger to be concerened about Penn’s soul and knowing God. Penn states in his video that he is an avid athiest and he probably wouldn’t change his beliefs, but the monumental statement he makes in his video is what caught my attention most. If someone truly believes that someone’s soul is in trouble and the only way to heaven is through knowing God, then how much do you have to hate someone not to share it (the gospel) with them? This changed my whole view on being an ambassador for God.
So I set out on a deeper faith journey and I boldly asked God to help me be a better ambassador for him and to help me be more bold in my faith. (Ask and you shall receive)
When my husband and I have gone out to dinner the last couple months, we usually pay cash for our meal and tip. When the server comes back to cash us out, we let them know that we don’t need change but I usually stop them and tell them I have a question for them. They pause for a second and then I ask them “Is there anything my husband and I can pray for you about?”. We haven’t had any no’s yet, but I’m sure there is one coming eventually. So far we have been met with great response and the people we are meeting aren’t offended, but rather touched by the fact that someone cares enough about them to do something that takes boldness but doesn’t cost anything. Doing something like this is a great way to represent the heart and mind of Christ without blatantly asking someone, “do you know Jesus?” After all, we aren’t called to change people, we are called to love people. If my simple act of compassion and caring about someone enough to pray for them shows the heart and mind of Christ without pushing my beliefs on them, then I’ve done what God has asked me to do.
Ultimately we can turn people to Christ or away from Christ. I would hate for my actions to cause someone to doubt the heart and mind of God and choose not to pursue a relationship with Him because of false assumptions they have based on the actions that I portray. If I have ever personally misrepresented the heart and mind of God to anyone I know personally or have met in passing, first let me apologize and ask for forgiveness because I would never intentionally do that. I ask for accountability when it comes to being an ambassador for Christ and I pray that when others look at me they see Him, how He has worked in my life and that the only way I can love others the way that I do is through my relationship with Him.
So with that message coming out of my mind and onto this blogpost, I pray that it may have struck up some thought in you about how you can use your faith in a similar manner. If you’re not yet a Christ follower, I pray that God would work in your heart this week to show you HIS true heart and mind and not to let hope and faith be lost through the actions of others, but rather that you would seek out truth for yourself.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” – Galatians 5:13
If there is anything my husband and I can pray for you about or if you have any questions we can answer, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you and have a wonderful weekend!
Here is the link to the video of Penn Jillette talking about his experience: