The author and her husband have two boys and live in India. Through teaching English, she and her family work in an unreached area. Her passion is to see those that have never understood who Jesus is, come to a true understanding of his love and forgiveness!
When I think of the word ‘misrepresented’, I think how much that word is an ESL nightmare, and how difficult of a word that is! There are 3 prefixes and 1 suffix. How is it ever possible to teach an English learner what all that means? Obviously, ESL is my world right now so that’s why my thoughts go there quickly. I know most wouldn’t even think twice about all that!
My friend planted Freedom Church in Lebanon, Indiana 5 years ago. One thing God spoke to my friend is that they were planting this church because he (God) had been misrepresented and they could represent Christ in the right ways.
I appreciate that. First, I appreciate that God has entrusted people that I care about so deeply with something so huge. Second, I agree. I agree that Christ has been misrepresented in many ways. It’s an important part of a non-believers journey to belief to be able to truly understand who Christ is and what he represents. If (more likely when) parts of his character are not understood correctly, then many times it takes quite a while for those things to be ‘discovered’ as untrue and turned into truth.
But, wow, when that truth is made known inside of us…when our heart is softened and our mentality shifts? When Christ makes known His character to us, those are amazing moments.
When our understanding of him lines up more accurately with who he really is, then we can represent him more effectively.
How do we uncover those misrepresentations? How do we get to places where we understand who Christ is in relation to us personally and the rest of the world as a whole?
Now that’s another difficult word, I know. Not necessarily from an ESL standpoint, though! Discipline is what it takes to represent Christ well.
Discipline in our time with God, in our reading of His word so we can better understand the words he left for us.
Discipline in our attitudes and behaviors, in our priorities and discipline to do something about the lostness of our world.
In those moments when we are denying ourselves and exercising his discipline in our lives, that’s when our hearts and minds are open more to him than any other time. Those can be very hard times. Especially if it turns into a long season of discipline. It’s one thing to hold your tongue or develop a good habit of Bible reading. Add to that spending time in his presence. These are all great attributes and excellent disciplines to develop. It’s a whole other thing, when a season of discipline comes into our lives. We have to respond to God continually. This process enables us to who Christ’s character and it may be easier said than done.
Hebrews 12:7 says we are ‘to endure hardship AS discipline’ (NIV). Notice the word ‘as’. At times we skip over that word and read that passage as saying that hardship IS discipline. No. Our hardships are as discipline in our lives. We will be more fully able to represent the heart of Christ because of our discipline through enduring hardships.
“As” and “is”…may be only 1 letter different, yet it makes a tremendous difference in how we approach hardship!
We can move from misrepresenting Christ, in even small ways, to representing him with our best and with all he has for us. As we allow discipline to be more prevalent in our lives, we understand more about Christ and share that with others. That’s what it is really all about anyways, isn’t it? Sharing Christ and bringing others along on the journey.
I am very thankful to have all the SHWAG sisters on this journey together!
written by a SHWAG Sister*