Walking the Walk...
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
In Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons' book unChristian, they wrote "Christianity has an image problem." Evangelical and Charismatic Christ-followers have a negative reputation in America. The authors interviewed young adults who “admit their emotional and intellectual barriers go up when they are around Christians, and [who] reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians." They listed six problematic areas, along with suggestions to revamp our damaged reputation. The six areas:
1) Too many Christians are hypocritical, saying one thing, living another.
2) Christians witness without relationship, treating unbelievers as conquests.
3) Christians avoid, shun, and stigmatize homosexuals.
4) Christians shelter themselves from the world, remaining in their "holy huddles."
5) Christians are too political, and identify primarily with the Republican party.
6) Christians are judgmental, looking down on those who don't agree with them.
Jesus told his disciples “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Both Jesus and Peter said we are to mix it up with the world, be among people, doing our good deeds among them, not hidden from them. Also, we are to deflect any glory to God, pointing to Him. Living loud and alive is our mandate. We are far from perfect, but we keep our conduct honorable, we let our light shine...for the purpose of adequately re-presenting the greatest lover of all time, Jesus of Nazareth.
I love this quote from Stassen and Gushee's Kingdom Ethics: "Where Christian faith is functioning as it should, it serves as the governing paradigm for life. Life is governed by the narrative of God's coming reign in Christ and the way of life appropriate to it. Ultimately, in a growing Christian life, this process becomes second nature. One is so absorbed into kingdom living and one's identity as Christ's disciple that it essentially becomes impossible to respond to the circumstances of life from any other frame of reference."
We fight within the war of our passions. We fight without to live in such a way that our culture sees the gospel lived out. May your lifestyle, and mine, point people to Jesus. We respond to life's difficulties, including covid 19, from the kingdom narrative!
Taking the lampshade off, Perry Floyd