Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel
Decades ago, although I had accepted Christ, I was and wasn’t conscious of my outward behavior. It was a conflict between what I’d felt in my spirit and what actually came from my mouth and actions.
I knew God’s promise of becoming a new creation was a solemn oath, but I wasn’t sure how to push the buttons to get the reaction started.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
As I matured in the faith, the reality of others watching became a reality. I think the most hurtful thing people have said at times were, “Oh, you’re a Christian? I never knew.” Talk about cutting to the core.
Of course, I would self-justify by thinking that being a Christian wasn’t about putting on a performance. It was living for God.
Thankfully, as there became less of me and more of Him, I learned it was no performance. Living for Christ was life changing, and along with that change was not only the internal conviction, but an external behavior.
When I accepted the position as chief of police I felt a stronger conviction to openly speak of my belief in Christ. Public prayer in uniform rubbed some in the community the wrong way, but God’s calling encouraged me to disregard the hesitation and press into His will.
Talk about living in a fishbowl!!!
But, a wonderful thing occurred. I began to care less about public opinion as I prayed more about God’s will. What I would come to understand was that there really wasn’t much dissention. I think it was the remnants of my own doubt.
The lesson God allowed me to learn was that indeed people do watch, but if you conduct yourself as Christ demands, what they see becomes consistent with what you believe.
Recently, this became evident while Leah and I were attending a huge writer’s conference. We had just come off the heals of a 21-day, cross country motorcycle adventure. We had committed to chronicle each day in a travel blog as we progressed across America.
You can check it out at this link – Faithful Adventures
There was a risk of each post revealing our exhaustion or moments on Facebook live broadcasts where the high heat and endless miles might have exposed a snap, terse comment.
Honestly, we were too tired to snap. Despite the potential for a misguided moment, we felt God’s tug to share the adventure and His presence.
All were kind enough to share how much they enjoyed not only the beautiful pictures, but also the messages we shared about our faith and the blessings of being married.
The reality is people do watch you. Whether you’re a believer in Christ or just going to the grocery store, people observe and judge. Not just strangers, casual acquaintances, or friends, but the kids soak it all in.
This is why children of blended families may still grow to experience loving, long-lasting marriages of their own. Although it’s not their biological parents, the example of two married adults in a healthy remarriage scenario is a powerful example that demonstrates to the kids that marriage is still sacred.
Leah and I have learned that living our lives for Christ has also changed our behavior in public and at home. Not that we were a public nuisance before, but beginning each morning in prayer and talking about God throughout the day has led us into a walk more consistent with His will.
We each also understand that our behavior between each other is seen on an intimate level at home alone and with our kids. It’s not an act or performance from some make-believe script. We’re not expected to waltz around like Charlton Heston in the 10 Commandments, but we are expected to be more Christ-like in our thoughts, words and actions.
I thought this was a funny picture Leah had posted during our motorcycle adventure, but it’s about as close as I come to Moses or Charlton Heston!
The key is pursuing the relationship with Christ. Ever notice how your peer group influences the way to talk and act? Now, apply that reality to hanging with Jesus and imagine how it will shift the change in you. Pretty powerful, right?
And of course, while we like (used subjectively) to remind our kids that Jesus is watching, the truth is Jesus is watching. Not just our mini-me’s but us as well.
So whether it’s a global social media audience, peers at a conference, strangers at the store, your kids, your spouse or Christ himself, you are being watched. It’s only a bad thing if you’re doing bad things.
Seek God’s will and understand that every negative action has a reaction as well as a potential for consequences. One of the worst reactions would be if your behavior turned another person off to Christ. Can you imagine your beloved child telling you this one day?
One couple that I enjoy keeping my eye on are also contributors at Faithful.Live. Talk about doing the right things, they live for the Lord and are blessed for their faithfulness. John and Arlene MacFarlane came down to the writer’s conference from Canada, and we all made sure to connect.
You know the old saying, “I’m watching you.” well, it’s kinda like this kid below. Somebody (somebodies) is watching.
Make them proud.
Much Love / Much Respect,