Be Who You Are

Even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. —1 Peter 3:14

While awaiting a routine medical procedure in a local hospital, I noticed a wall plaque showing Christ on a cross. Later, a nurse asked me several administrative questions, in-cluding, “Do you have any spiritual needs you’d like to discuss with a chaplain?” I said that I appreciated her asking that question, which I found unusual in today’s world. She replied with a smile that they are a faith-based hospital and “that’s part of our mission.” I was impressed that the people were not afraid to be who they are in an increasingly secular and pluralistic society.

Peter urged the first-century believers who had been scattered by persecution and were living in a hostile world to consider it a blessing to suffer for the sake of what is right. “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:14-15 NLT).

Just as the woman at the hospital freely stated their faith, so we can express ours. And if we are criticized or treated unfairly because of our belief in Christ, we should respond with gentleness and respect. We should never be afraid to be who we are in Him.

Whenever people judge and say
They don’t like what we believe,
We need to show a Christlike grace—
Then our Lord they might receive. —Branon

It’s better to suffer for the cause of Christ
than for the cause of Christ to suffer.

Source:  Our Daily Bread

On Halloween, my manager asked me about taking my son tricking and treating and when I informed him that it wasn’t something that I did, he was taken aback.  He said I would have gotten to leave early if I were going trick and treating.  As a Christian, I cannot and will not have anything to do with Halloween.   For some people it’s their favorite time of the year but for me it’s that time of the year I can do without.  Many people think it’s harmless fun–dressing up and giving out candy but I don’t agree.  It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints’ Day, and All Hallows’ Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving onto the next world.  To avoid being recognised by a soul, Christians would wear masques and costumes to disguise themselves, following the lighted candles set by others to guide their travel for worship the next day.  Today, this practice has been perpetuated through trick-or-treating.  I’m always surprised when I see Christians get into the spirit of Halloween.  They dress up their kids, hand out candy, carve pumpkins and even deck out their homes with Halloween decorations.  What happened to being in the world but not being of the world?  Christians and Halloween should not mix.

As Christians, we must stand up and be proud of who we are.  So what if people think we are strange because we don’t trick or treat?  We have to be true to ourselves and not worry about what others think of us.  As long as we are living in obedience to God and living our lives in ways that are pleasing to Him, that’s all that matters.  Remember people criticized John the Baptist because he didn’t touch alcohol.  They criticized Jesus for associating with sinners.  Mary was criticized for sitting at Jesus’ feet by Martha and by the disciples for anointing His feet.  Jesus’ neighbors criticized Him when He was teaching in the synagogue.  They wondered among themselves, “Where [did] this Man [get] these things? And what wisdom [is] this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!  “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him (Mark 6:2, 3).  As a result of their unbelief, Jesus couldn’t perform any miracles.

When people criticize you for your faith, don’t get upset with them.  Continue to treat them with kindness and respect.  Let your conduct be such that they see Christ in you.   Don’t act as someone in the world would, act as Jesus would.

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