The most powerful messages are never spoken. They are found in the way we live our lives. The world is watching and looking for something â€œdifferent.â€ They are looking for truth, for love and for a different approach to responding to opposition. As Christians, we should be showing the world this kind of â€œdifferent.â€
Rather than reading Godâ€™s Word to find out who said what to who when, we should be reading with an open heart, ready for God to change us from the inside out. How do you read with an open heart? 1. Start out by praying for God to read you as you read His Word. 2. Instead of rushing for time or word count; take your time. Close your eyes and try to imagine what you just read, what it must have been like and just picture the characters in the passage as if you were right there with them. 3. Apply what you have read. The simplest way to do this is with a devotional. Devotionals lay it out for you with a thought, a message, the word and prayer. You can take that thought and turn it into an action and live it out!
It is easy to love others who love us. The Bible says so in Matthew 5:46, â€œIf you love on those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even the corrupt tax collectors do that much.â€ Loving our enemies on the other hand, may be difficult; but NOT impossible. We can begin by knowing that none of us is perfect. If someone hates you, it is not you they hate. It is an unresolved issue or wrong way of thinking that is lying within them and comes out as resentment and hatred towards you. Likewise, if you get angry in return, it is not them you are angry with; it is an unresolved issue or wrong way of thinking within yourself. Maybe you may not know how to handle the situation; they may not know how to handle the situation either. Be the example. You do not have to be their best friend but continue to smile and say hello when you pass them, if you see them struggling with something; walk over, give them a hand and be on your way. Little things like this will plant seeds of encouragement, love and grace. Eventually, they will know how to love as well and return that love; either to you or to someone else.
Different: Hopeful in opposition
There will be times when opposition strikes. The world is watching to see how you respond. Letâ€™s respond with hope. â€œGod causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.â€ Even through the toughest circumstances, God is with us and He will work even the worst situation out for our good. So we might as well go through it standing tall, knowing He is on our side.
As we show the world truth, love and how to have hope even in opposition; we can be sure that God is working through us to show the world the difference they are looking for, the difference we were designed to live out, the difference that is not so different in the right world; Godâ€™s world, our world.
Ashley Fordinal is the Childrenâ€™s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.