More Like Jesus | 2 Corinthians 5:20
Like many of us today, the Christians in Corinth were struggling with their environment. They wanted so deeply to live for Christ but daily they were surrounded by corruption and every conceivable sin; at times they felt pressured to adapt to the society around them (sounds relatable doesn’t it!). The Church was weak. Surrounded by idolatry and immorality, their lifestyle and faith was faltering. Daily, they faced questions that they found hard to answer. Paul the Apostle was well known in Corinth, he had visited many times. He heard of their struggles and wrote to them in their time of need. Paul used these letters (1 and 2 Corinthians) to encourage the Christians in Corinth in their faith. He addressed their problems, answered their questions, gave instruction and refuted false teaching. Paul’s mission was to teach the believers in the Corinthian Church to live for Christ even in a corrupt society…
Like the Christians in Corinth, we live in a corrupt and sinful society. We’re all too aware that the majority of the time, the environment that we live in completely goes against what we believe in as Christians. And the thing is, it’s natural for us to want to fit in and adapt to the environment. The immense pressure that we experience often makes us feel like it would be easier for us to just blend in with what everyone else around us is doing. But as Christians, our environment shouldn’t stop us from being who God has called us to be. The word ‘Christian’ is the Greek word ‘Christianos’. It is translated to mean “follower of Christ”. As followers of Christ, we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), born again and changed from within. And that means that often our values and lifestyles can confront the world and clash with accepted morals. And that’s ok! We have to remember that as believers we are called to be different. As the saying goes; we are called to be in the world but not of the world. Daughter of God, we are called to stand out. And not only are we called to be Christ’s followers, we are called to be His ambassadors too. But, what does that mean…? Well generally speaking, an ambassador is an individual who acts as a representative of their nation whilst they are in a foreign land. The ambassador’s role is to reflect the official position of the individual who has given them the authority and to represent their desires and will. When we receive God’s gift of salvation, we are accepted into His eternal kingdom. Philippians 3:20 says “Our citizenship is in heaven…”. In other words, we belong to God’s nation in heaven. So, you could say that earth is a ‘foreign land’ to us; it is not our true eternal home. As ambassadors for Christ, we are acting as a representative of Him and His nation in this foreign land. Therefore, our primary role as ambassadors for Christ is to reflect Him and to represent His desires and will.
Before we give our lives to Christ, we are living in darkness (Ephesians 5:8). We are living in sin and living apart from God. However, when we make a choice to follow Christ, He calls us out of the darkness and into His marvellous light (John 8:12, 1 Peter 2:9). The thing is, that’s what God wants for every single person on earth. He wants us all to walk in light with Him instead of spending all of our lives in spiritual darkness. In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says that as Christians we are ‘the light of the world’ – we are called to be a light to those around us. Like a lighthouse, our light is supposed to draw people in. Our light is supposed to bring people out of the unknown and out of darkness so that they can be led the right way. Ultimately, our light is supposed to guide people to Jesus. As an object that was once in darkness, the only way for us to be ‘the light of the world’ and be seen is to reflect light. Like the moon reflecting the sun in order to be seen, the light source that we must reflect in order to be seen is Jesus Christ. We must reflect Christ so that we can fulfil the purpose given to us to be the light in this dark world, just as He was. We must reflect Him so that more people can be lead to Him.
We live in a world where roughly only 31% of the population identify as Christian. That means that 69% of the population are unbelievers of the gospel of Christ. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 they have been blinded from the glory of Christ. It seems hard to imagine that many of those people would never have opened the Bible. As a result, they have no awareness of who Jesus is. They don’t know about His loving nature. They have no understanding of the sacrifice that He has made for us. They do not know about the beauty of His blood and the freedom that He gives to us in life. As John MacArthur says “You are the only Bible some unbelievers will ever read”. Sometimes the only way that people will know about Jesus is through us, His followers. Daughter of God, the reality is that we have been given an assignment to act and speak on His behalf so that we can portray Him to those who do not know who He is.
I’m sure we can all throw our hands up and say that although we know what we are called to do, we don’t always do it. Reflecting and representing Christ in the 21st century can be challenging to say the least. And even when we know why we need to do it, we can often find ourselves asking how?. In times like these, we must meditate on Paul’s message in Colossians 3:17…
“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus”
As Christians, we must be intentional about representing and reflecting Christ at all times. Not only in what we say but more so in what we do. Because as the saying goes “actions speak louder than words”. Sometimes people care less about what we are saying to them and more about how we are behaving towards them as supposed followers of Christ. The thing is, sometimes people just aren’t interested in being preached at. Yes it’s good to share the Gospel of Christ when we can, but people can be drawn to Jesus simply by seeing our behaviour and examining our lives. When we speak, we must try and represent Christ’s desires and His will. But most importantly, our behaviour should emulate His.
Now the only way that we can actually do that is by firstly knowing Christ for ourselves. We need to open our Bibles so that we can learn about Him. We need to know who He is and what He has done so that we can make an attempt to do the same. Now of course we can’t do exactly what He did – He’s the Son of God, it’s impossible. However when we open up our Bibles, we can identify ways in which it is possible to be more like Him.
Trust me, I know that it’s easier said that done. But when we read further into 2 Corinthians 5:20, we can understand why it is so important..
Being an ambassador for Christ is all for the glory of God. God is using us so that this lost world can be reconciled back to Him. So let’s do our best to be more like Jesus. Purposeful Activities; Recommended reading; Matthew, Mark, Luke or John Recommended verse to read this month; Galatian 3:27, Ephesians 5:2, 1 Peter 2:21, 1 John 2:6 Take some time to journal your thoughts;
- What impression do you think people have of Christ as a result of your words and actions?
- How do you think you could represent and reflect Him better to those around you?