Friday, July 7th
Devotional written by Pastor Brian Field, Missions Pastor
Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:11-21
If we are in Christ, Paul says our outlook on people should change. Why? Because we have changed. We have a new life and understand that we are no longer what we once were. And this isn’t to our credit but by the grace God has given us through Christ. So, when we see the brokenness in people around us, those who have not experienced new life in Christ, our outlook should not be contempt or harsh judgment. Why should we expect those who have not encountered Christ to live as if they had?
Instead, we are called to be ambassadors who bring the Good News of reconciliation through Christ and His work on the cross. Ambassadors don’t spend their time in a foreign land criticizing everything about it and alienating themselves from relationships with the people they are called to engage. Instead, they are to be bridge builders and represent the place they came from. If you are in Christ, you are called to be His representative, an ambassador of God’s Kingdom, and to embody the life and values of Kingdom living. As you do this, your life will look different than the world around you, and people will take notice. If your love is sincere, others will want to know its source.
Reflection: Pray for one person today you know is far from God. Ask God to work in their life and find new opportunities to love them well as you represent Jesus.