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 Issue #114 Tue, 13 Feb 2007

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Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #114 Tue, 13 Feb 2007   March 12th 2007, 01:06

A Letter

Dear Youth,

"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ." (2 Corinthians 3:2,3 NIV) Young people, Paul tells us that our lives are like a letter that is read by everybody! To me, that seems like a very sobering responsibility to make sure that our lives are conducted in a way that would show to others a letter written by Christ Himself.

Today, I would like to share some personal experiences and conversations I have had, that have really begun to stress on my mind the importance of totally reflecting Christ's character in every area of my life. Since I have been homeschooled all my life, I have not had a whole lot of intimate interaction with non-Christians, until I started to work at a local cheese factory and tourist stop owned and run by a non-religious family of four; also our neighbours. Being placed in this new environment has brought many things to my attention that I may have not fully understood the significance of, had I not had this opportunity.

One of the things I have learned is that, even people who profess to be ignorant in the ways of religion and Christianity, still know how a Christian should act! In their minds, partly through observation, they have created an image that they expect you to live up to. I have been totally shocked at some of the things my employers have expected me to do or not do! For example: about a year ago, one of my undertakings with the business required me to travel some distance with the daughter, a 29-year old agnostic. On the way, television was somehow mentioned, followed by her comment, "Oh, your family wouldn't have a TV, would you?" That question absolutely shocked me! Our family, by personal choice and commitment, hasn't owned a television for more than 10 years. If people ask, I tell them we don't have a TV, but it's not a fact I usually make known . So, for her to make that statement really surprised me considering that it's very uncommon for anyone, even Christians, not to own or watch TV these days. Later in the day, in some light conversing, she mentioned this to her 21-year old brother, who, while not making any comment, did not show any surprise that our family didn't have a TV.

Another time, a lady who is also involved in various ways with the business, offered me a necklace she had been given free with some perfume she had bought that day. However, even in the way she offered, I knew she was already expecting me to say no. When I politely refused, she wasn't at all offended and seemed almost pleased that I hadn't disappointed her pre-conception, by saying yes.

Young people, I'm not sharing these illustrations with you to try and make you think that I'm this wonderful witness for Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth; I share this with you, only to show you some practical ways that we, as Christians, are being read like letters. Looking back at some of these times has made me think about other areas in my life, or other things I may have done, that has caused non-believers to become disappointed in me because I wasn't living up to what they expected a Christian to be. How many times have we disappointed those around us because we were too afraid to take a stand, or because we profess Christianity, but don't live the life of a Christian?

You know, sometimes as young people, we want to pattern our lives as close to the world as possible, so that we don't look too weird or different to those out there in the world. Sometimes we are being deceived into believing that, in order to reach the secular world, we need to show them by our actions and practices that we are just like them. The ironic thing about all this, is that the world actually wants to see Christians who are different; Christians who show in every way, that there is a distinction between those who believe in the saving power of Jesus and those who make no profession of His name! "Never be ashamed of your colours; put them on, unfurl them to the gaze of men and angels. . .By your choice words and a consistent course of action, by your propriety, your earnest piety, make a telling confession of your faith, determined that Christ shall occupy the throne in the soul temple; and lay your talents without reserve at His feet to be employed in His service." (Messages to Young People, p. 28 )

Atheists and agnostics will judge our God by the way His followers represent Him. In us, they should always see the kindest, most considerate, strongest, honest, trustworthy, healthiest, and happiest persons they will ever meet! The secular world can, like children, see right through hypocrisy. If we disappoint them in any way, by having our profession and actions misaligned, or by going back on our convictions and stands, they will learn to distrust us and they will alienate themselves from God because of our hypocrisy.

When I carefully and thoughtfully considered the illustration I shared with you, and other instances, it really made me stop and think about whether there was anything that they had seen in me or found out that had disappointed them, or surprised them. Quite likely there has been, although they're too polite to condemn me. It has really shown me the importance of being "transparent Christians". We are told: "Everything that Christians do should be as transparent as the sunlight." (Reflecting Christ, p. 71) People should be able to look right through us, conducting a thorough examination of our lives, and find not ONE contradiction, or ONE undesirable trait! Then, and only then, will we be like a letter from Christ; read by everybody and drawing all men unto Him!

--Stephanie Fox

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PLEASE NOTE: All Bible verses are taken from the King James Version, unless stated otherwise.
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Issue #114 Tue, 13 Feb 2007
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