Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tombs or Trees

I’ve had an influx of Facebook friend-requests lately. As my 20 year high school reunion looms this fall, I’ve had old acquaintances connect via social media. And since I became a part of World Vision’s Hood to Coast KC team, I’ve been introduced to teammates and other TWV team members as well. I do this funny thing whenever someone asks to become my friend on social media. I immediately go to my own timeline to try to see what they see when they look at it. It’s silly, but it’s my opportunity to make sure the person I’m portraying online is close to the person I am, and the person I want to be. I believe it’s important to be accurate in our online presence and not just show our best selves, but it’s also important that we reflect Jesus in our posts and comments. I see many on social media that are wonderful people, but who I don’t recognize based on their posts. I see kind and loving friends who are so busy chastising their political or social “other” with posts that I struggle to reconcile the difference.

This social media stuff is a good example of the struggle we have to live out our faith in real life too. So often we find ourselves going to one extreme or the other. We are either “whitewashed tombs”, looking good on the outside while decaying on the inside; or the opposite, a tree of life that produces no fruit. The bad news is that both extremes are missing the mark of discipleship; of worshiping God “in Spirit and in truth”, and worshiping Him by “offering our bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God.”

I’m realizing that I need to take a step back in my real life as well to determine if I look like Jesus in my daily interactions. Am I a reflection of the Prince of Peace, who teaches us to love people radically? Do I accept people instantly, do I love those that don’t love me, do I forgive automatically? Does the way I treat others show them the love of God?

What about you? Take a step back and look at yourself from an outsider’s perspective. Do you look like Jesus? Jump onto your social media accounts and check out your profiles. Do they reflect Jesus’ calls to make peace instead of division? Do you let your online presence testify to the love of Christ?

If you struggle with either of these – as most of us do – there is good news. Paul lays out a way to find the characteristics of Jesus grow in us. “… let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. …the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5) Let the Holy Spirit be your guide and God will produce fruit. Then we will look more and more like the Jesus we serve.

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