TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Have you ever written a review? Or read one?
Reviews are quite commonplace in our world. From Facebook reviews, Google reviews, Yelp, and Trip Advisor — we often look to the reviews of others before we buy, visit, or dine. We trust the feedback of strangers to determine how we’ll spend our hard-earned money. Maybe you’ve even written a review or two yourself.
What if reviews applied to our spiritual lives? What if you wrote a review about what God has done for you? What would you say? Would you find yourself unable to articulate it all? Hopefully — your sense of gratitude would leave you humbled by all the gifts from your Creator.
But here’s an even more sobering question…. What if someone wrote a review about your Christianity? Have you modeled the love of Jesus so that others would others want it for themselves? Or would they be put off, unwilling to embrace Jesus?
Think on that for a minute.
It’s a scary idea, isn’t it?
But wait, you may be thinking, “No one should be evaluating my Christianity; that’s between God and me! The Bible says, ‘Judge not!’” Yep. It sure does. Even people who don’t believe in God know that verse. It’s Matthew 7:1, and it’s one of the non-believers’ favorite passages and arguments against Christians. Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged,” and it’s a prime example of taking a verse out of context.
But here’s the thing: we all judge. And it’s a good thing that we do! After all, do we want a courtroom judge and jury of our peers to neglect their duty and release the Ted Bundys’ and Charles Mansons’ of the world because they’ve taken Jesus’ words, “Judge not,” out of context?!? Ummm — NO! We want righteous judgment; otherwise, we’d have mayhem and chaos.
Circling back up to reviews — they are all about our opinions and how we reviewing what we are judging. Otherwise, would we evaluate the products on Amazon? Would we make recommendations for or against a book we read? Would we share about the restaurants we visited or the new recipe we tried? Opinions are reviews of our judgments.
And since they are so commonplace in our world, don’t think for a minute that your Christianity isn’t being scrutinized too. Right or wrong, people will have an opinion. While they may not write a review about you, it’s something we should be mindful of… And to be very, very clear — our mindfulness isn’t about worrying about what other people think of us or seeking their approval… it’s about representing God well and making sure we represent Christ when we call ourselves Christians. To use another example — there’s a standard of conduct your employer expects from you when you represent the organization in or away from the office. So why would we not represent Jesus well when we claim to be His?
Let’s go back to the scary question: What if someone wrote a review about your Christianity? Are you living a bold faith worthy of notice? Or have you compromised to the point that your Christianity is more theoretical than practical? Would someone who knows you on Tuesday be surprised to see you in church on Sunday? Are your core values in alignment with the world? Or with Jesus? Can others see the light of Christ in what you say? What you do? How you respond? Can they see the light of Christ in your review?
Last week, the verse we focused on was Ephesians 2:8-9. It’s a verse that speaks of grace, not works. It’s my favorite verse and my life verse. It’s the verse that inspired the name of my blog. I believe that verse with every bit of my being. It’s not about what we do, but all about God’s grace. But that’s not a free pass to NOT do our part. It just means our works won’t save us. James 2:26, however, reminds us that faith without works is dead. And today’s signature verse is more like a signature chapter — James 2.
The world is looking. If we call ourselves Christians, you’d better believe we’re being watched and judged. Our Christianity is being reviewed. It’s not enough to just say it. We have to live it. Today’s question comes down to whether someone would choose Jesus based on their review of us.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus that we are saved by grace, not works. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply works that reflect your faith so that when the world judges and reviews — you will be found authentic. A Christian who represents Christ well — that others will want Jesus because you’ve modeled by example what it means to be a follower of Christ.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.