Saturday, August 6, 2011

#83 Mistaken Identity

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us:

Not too long ago my family and I were visiting friends and went to church with them on Sabbath. It was a church where we know a lot of people and have often enjoyed worshiping with them in times past. This particular Sabbath my good friend had the sermon and we were blessed by having attended that day.

After church the usual greetings and friendly exchanges took place in the foyer, but soon it was time to make our way home for dinner at our friends' house. My buddy's wife had ridden with us in our Honda Odyssey van. Her little boy was restless so she asked if she could have the keys to take him on to the van. My response was, "Sure, here you go." as I handed her the keys. Just then though I looked up and saw that the van was already unlocked and the side door was already open.

She then made her way to the van, climbed inside, and attempted to buckle up her child. Once inside she began to realize that something was wrong. Things looked a little different and her child's car seat was missing. As all this was swirling through her mind, the electric side door began to close "on its own". Confusion quickly set in as she realized she had climbed into the wrong van. The actual owners of that van had closed the door remotely and then came up ready to go home themselves and my buddy's wife had to climb out of their vehicle with embarrassment painted on her face and walk about five spaces down to where our van was actually parked.

All of this happened without my knowledge so as I came along a few minutes later I too approached "my" van only to discover a group of young boys hanging around "my" van. So naturally I asked them in a jocular fashion why they were all hanging around the outside and sitting inside "my" van. One of the boys meekly and carefully spoke up and said, "There's only one problem Pastor Bentley. This is not your van." That realization flooded my mind as I too noticed there was something different about that van. I tried to play off my embarrassment, wished the boys a happy Sabbath, and made my way over to "my" van.

As my buddy's wife and I related our tales of mistaken identity regarding the vans, my mind began to wonder about our Christian walks in this world. The Bible teaches us in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are to be ambassadors for Jesus. In other words, we represent heaven and God's mission for this world when we accept Jesus as our savior. Ambassadors do not seek to accomplish their will in a given situation, but rather the will of their respective government agency or nation.

It made me wonder how many times I misrepresent Christ. Yes, I openly proclaim to be a follower of Christ, and I am a minister of the Gospel. But are there times when I do not fully live for Christ and instead of being His ambassador I seek to represent my own agenda. Sadly, yes.

I would venture to say that far too many of us profess the name of Christ, but if the people around us were polled about who they think we are there would be some cases of mistaken identity. Yes, we may look like a Christian, wear Christian t-shirts, listen to Christian music, and have a Jesus-fish on our bumper, but once people get to know us and look at the finer details of our life they may realize that we are just an empty shell of profession and not actually the real deal.

My challenge to each of you today is to live out who you profess to be so that the world knows clearly whom you represent. Don't get caught in the trap of just saying your a Christian, but your heart remains unconverted to the Lord. To simply profess Jesus with your lips and to actually deny Him by your lifestyle only seeks to tell the world that being a Christian is just a game that is not worth playing. Choose today to live fully for Christ that you might truly be His ambassador to this world who desperately needs to know Him.

Dear Lord God,
Thank You for loving us and calling us to represent You in this sinful world. Please forgive us for the times that we have caused people to mistake us for the lost. Please teach us daily to live completely for You in private and in public that we might honor You and rightly lift You up before the world around us. We praise You today as we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

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