Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? Once, a friend of mine was stuck at an immigration checkpoint in an international airport because someone with his name was on Interpol’s "most wanted" list. A tricky situation to be in, but how he responded determined his true identity. Here is a tougher question: Have you ever responded in a way that made others mistake you for a non-believer?
WHO ARE WE, REALLY?
Without a doubt, there have been numerous occasions when people assumed I was not a Christian because my actions were not exactly "Christ-like." Dominated by sinful nature, what transpires instead is the old version of myself, who I was before Christ instead of the "new person in Christ." People are exposed to "hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy" (Galatians 5:20-21), rather than "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control" (Galatians 5:22).
If and when this happens and people find out I'm a Christian, they will probably be confused by my inconsistency. Worse yet, perhaps any preconceived thoughts about Christians would be confirmed – that we are no different than everyone else.
SMILE. YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA.
We are constantly being watched by all kinds of people in various situations. Certainly our identity will not be determined in church during worship service, but more likely on the job, at school, and in times of stress and difficulty. These moments are God-given opportunities to show what it means to be a "new creation in Christ."
We must take advantage of every opportunity to show others our relationship with Christ, and how they can experience that intimacy as well. No mistaken identity. The Apostle Paul teaches us:
Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid
and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and
of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I'll have
good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be
living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing.
– Philippians 2:15-16, MSG
He made it even simpler when he wrote:
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
– Philippians 1:27
We must take responsibility for the way we are perceived and shine the light of Christ for all to see. When we live before the world in this way, we are in no danger of mistaken identity.
by Al VomSteeg