How would a stranger know you are a Christian—one of Christ’s people? Are you any different from other people in your inward and outward behavior?
Many years ago, when I was a new Christian, I worked in an office with a woman who would occasionally share a little about what was going on in her life. One day, she told me about a problem in her family. I listened to her and then said that I would pray for her. At those words, she did a double-take and with a completely amazed look on her face said, “You’re a Christian?” Couldn’t she tell? Didn’t anything about my behavior set me apart from the rest of the crowd? I realized at that moment that I had some work to do!
In Matthew 9:23, Jesus tells his disciples, “…if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” When we choose to follow Jesus, we begin to make choices in order to become more and more like him. We strive to be humble, having a sense of our own frailty; and to be obedient, willing to love God and our neighbors with all of our hearts.
The change that comes from taking up our cross is one that we do not face or accomplish alone. We have a Helper who guides us through the process of becoming more like Jesus. We have our brothers and sisters in Christ to love and encourage us. When we accept God’s leadership in this process of change, we can let go of fear, and trust that God will give us the power and the will to embrace the transformation He is working in us. And then, the love of Christ will shine through us and those around us will know that we belong to Him.
Help us, God to let go of the things that do not matter so that we can embrace Jesus, and know him fully and personally; that we may follow him through the cross to the resurrection and dwell with him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Carol Brooks
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