Children are always watching and learning, even when we don’t think they are. My two-year-old “baked” cookies today for all of her animal friends. She even wore her oven mitt when taking her pretend cookies out of her pretend oven. She loves to imitate mommy. My one-year-old is the same way, only she copies her sister as well. She is always trying to do all of the cool things that her big sister is doing. (It’s quite adorable if I do say so myself!) Unfortunately, little ones also pick up on our bad habits. I’ve learned the hard way that I need to be careful to live a life worth imitating around my girls. They imitate everything I do… both good and bad.
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I think we sometimes forget that as Christians the world is watching us. They watch us succeed, and they watch us fail. They observe how we cope with life’s struggles and how we deal with anger and disappointment. They watch how we speak to others (or about others) and also how we raise our children. They see our marriages, both good and bad. It’s easy to go about life and forget that the world is watching, but they are.
The Bible tells us that when we come to Christ, we become a part of His kingdom. We are no longer citizens of this world. Instead, we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). As citizens of a foreign kingdom, we automatically become foreigners in this world. We also become God’s ambassadors or representatives while we are here. This is not a job that we should take lightly, yet many of us do.
As God’s ambassadors, every action we make and every word we speak should represent Christ. When we slander others, gossip, lose our temper, tell a lie, steal, or seek revenge… we are giving Christ a bad name. (And the list isn’t limited to just those sins mentioned.) As representatives of heaven, we cannot behave like citizens of this world.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2
The Bible makes it clear that the world will hate us. And it doesn’t take long to realize that there are many people in this world who want to see us fail as Christians. They desire to prove us wrong and make every effort to do so. The Bible also tells us, however, to live peacefully with one another (Hebrews 12:14). Paul was everything to everyone (1 Corinthians 9:22) in an attempt to win as many souls for Christ as possible.
We have to find a delicate balance between not caring what the world thinks and remembering to live a godly life worth imitating – one that represents the love of our King.
So in a sense, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about us, but it does matter that we do our part to make sure they see the loving God we serve.
Keep in mind that everything we say and do as believers, we do in the name of God. If you claim Christianity to others, people will associate everything you do with Christianity. This includes both the good and the bad. How are we representing Christ? Are we ruining His reputation with our actions or are we showing the world who He really is?
When Jesus returned to heaven after His death and resurrection, He left us in charge of advancing His kingdom. He left us with the most amazing job possible – we get to be His ambassadors in this world. The Bible records the following prayer Jesus prayed over His disciples and all those who would one day believe:
I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. – John 17:14-20 (NLT)
Are we living a life that we would want others to imitate?
Jesus commissioned us to be His representatives to this world, to spread His message, and to continue His ministry until He returns. It’s overwhelming to think about how He entrusted us with such a sacred mission.
When my daughters first started imitating me, it didn’t take long for me to begin watching everything I say and do around them. I want to give them something worth imitating. The same is true in our Christian walk.
Would you want others to imitate you? It’s certainly something to think about…
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.