Who runs your life? If you are not checking with the Spirit every so often each day, then I would say YOU are.
9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. NLT
There are two sides to this statement. One is the side of making our plans. Are we including the Lord in these decisions? Are we asking Him for guidance and seeking precedent in His Word? Are we seeking wisdom and experience from godly people? Are we staying pliable as we work toward a goal? All of these questions have to do with the second side of the statement. God will either be a happy participant in our decision-making process, or He will be the judge of our arrogant ways.
We are reminded in this chapter that “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (18).” Even our viewpoint needs to be different than the world, “(19) Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Our job as Christians is to be Christ to those around us. Some of it has to do with our response to people’s actions, but most of it has to do with our response to people’s words. Are we responding or reacting?
Reaction- “a reverse movement or tendency; an action in a reverse direction or manner.” Dictionary.com The idea is to fight kind with kind, such as fire with fire. The world teaches to meet the force with equal or more force, i.e. with “extreme prejudice.” This is NOT the way of Christ.
Response- “an answer or reply, as in words or in some action.” Dictionary.com To do it Christ’s way means that we must think about what He wants us to say, and to do it in a tone that conveys what He wants us to convey.
Displaying Christ to the world is begging for trouble. Yet, it is EXACTLY what He asks us to do. We must depend upon the Holy Spirit to be involved in people’s lives as He uses us to convict their hearts. Will they acknowledge and receive His Spirit? We don’t know. We are simply part of the process for which we signed up–you did, didn’t you?! Salvation is about forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven, but it’s MUCH MORE than than. It’s a mission to become little Christs here on earth. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the world is through us, the Church. We are extensions of Christ, ambassadors for Him to the world.
Here are some key verses pertaining to this calling:
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” John 15:18-21
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you [put you into action], as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good [as the Spirit directs]. 1 Peter 4: 12-16, 19
If we walk closely with Christ for very long, we will meet people who are opposed to Christ and even hostile to Christ. Let’s be Christ to them. We will also meet people who profess Christ, but do not know Him personally; they have not made Him their Lord. Let’s be Christ to them. We will also meet people who know Him and serve Him and we have sweet fellowship with them. Let’s be Christ to them, as well.
Lord Jesus, as we walk through this day, how may I serve You best? Put me in positions to encourage, inspire, and instruct. May I be You to those around me. Use me as You see fit, O Lord. You are my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.