Sunday, December 12, 2010

Practicing Godliness in an Angry World

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.  -I Peter 2:11, 12 (NKJV) 

The other day Andrea and I ventured out into the crowds to do a little bit of Christmas shopping, but also grocery shopping as well.  The stores were packed with people, many of whom were buying groceries in preparation for the snow storm that was predicted.  Maneuvering our cart through the aisles was a test in patience, grace, and shopper resilience.  At one of our stops we were waiting in line at the check-out when we noticed an altercation taking place between some other customers.  We were never sure exactly what started it, but an angry woman was releasing a tirade of profanities and invectives at the person behind her.  The situation became so tense that a few other employees had to intervene.  The fuming woman was still muttering threats as she finished paying for her groceries and exited the store.   

As I observed this unfortunate situation I had to wonder about the spiritual condition of the woman who was so angry there in the store.  What event so tipped her emotional bucket that she poured it all out on the hapless person behind her?  We will never know, but whatever it was I can only hope that she learns to control her temper and conduct herself in a more mature and patient manner.  Such behavior should never be seen in followers of Christ.  In fact, the Scripture says that we are to live such good lives among unbelievers that even if they were to accuse us of doing wrong there would be no basis for the accusation.  The end result would be that through our constant witness they too would come to faith in the Lord Jesus.

Whenever we walk out into the world we have ample opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ to a lost world.  The light of Jesus Christ shines brightly from us when we practice grace, patience, self-control, godliness, and humility.  As the Word of God says in Galatians 5:22, there is no law against practicing these attributes.  We are free to practice them in ever increasing measure.  Doing so will strengthen our testimony for the Lord Jesus and will point others to Him.   

As we go about our daily routines, let us pray that the Lord will empower us to shine forth the love of Jesus to everyone around us.  Troubled souls will see the peace that is ours and will desire it for themselves.  Pray that we will walk in the fullness of God’s grace and love.

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