Do They See Christ (or Something Else)?
Wednesday - October 20th
Scripture to Read Today: Galatians 2:11-21
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,
but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.
Christians don't always agree. But, unfortunately, those differences in perspective have brought intense division between church members, families, small groups, and life-long friendships in the last eighteen months. Sadly, the divisions over politics, COVID, masks, vaccines, and race have caused deep heartache and ongoing pain among brothers and sisters in Christ. Within the body of Christ, the bitterness shows up in little ways and significant ways. We feel it amongst ourselves.
Unfortunately, the division and strife have splashed outside the church walls - beyond our relationships within the Christian community. The world sees the bitterness and frustration exhibited by those who name the name of Jesus. Those far from God feel the anguish. They see and hear the churning animosity. That is a problem. When the church of Christ gets mired in conflict and division, the world no longer sees and hears Jesus from our lives and our lips. Our witness for Christ gets hidden under a basket.
In Galatians 2:11-21, the Apostle Paul addresses a time when He had a strong disagreement with the Apostle Peter. Paul had been frustrated that Peter welcomed Gentiles into fellowship with him (even though they did not keep Old Testament laws regarding diet and other things) but backed away from the Gentiles when believers with a Jewish background showed up. As a result, Peter began to follow the Old Testament regulations rather than enjoy the grace found in Jesus when the Jewish folks showed up. Finally, after much discussion, Paul and Peter worked out the difference, with Peter hearing out Paul's perspective and taking it to heart.
As Paul wrote to the believers in the church at Galatia, he related how vital the incident was to him. He knew the testimony of Christ and His grace was on the line with Peter's behavior. He made it clear what he wanted others to see in and through His life - Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less.
Paul makes an explicit declaration: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). He wanted there to be no mistake. He wanted nothing to cloud his testimony to a watching world. Paul wanted all to know that Christ lived in Him and through Him! He felt Peter had blurred the clarity every believer should have about Christ being the focus and fullness of his life. Paul wanted nothing about what He said or did to convey any other message.
What is the message of your life? Are you caught up on the noise and division of our day to the point you are known more by your neighbors and friends by your political posture than you are by your faith in Jesus?
Today, let's make it our goal that others see Christ living in and through our lives - free from any other distraction! Let's make sure that we don't get caught with agendas and movements that cause people to see anything or anyone other than Jesus in us! Do others see Christ in you? Or do they see something else?
While there are many good causes in our world, people need to see Jesus in us (without any distraction)!