4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
— Philippians 4:4 NLT
If you spend any time talking with non-Christians about Jesus and why they have not accepted Him as their Savior, you soon learn that their views on Jesus are not the primary reason for not accepting Him. It is their view of what they think Christianity is and what it requires them to do or not do. They have this idea that Christians have little or no fun and that to be a Christian, they are going to have to completely change their lifestyle. There will be some changes required. For some, it will be a very dramatic change. For others, it will only be a change in their mindset about why they do the good things they have been doing. The “good” ones are usually the hardest ones to convince that they need a Savior. Back to the point. Have we ever considered where the outsiders get this view that Christians must live a dull, joyless life? Since most of them don’t spend much time, if any, reading the Bible, they get it from watching us and listening to our conversations. Do we show them that “the joy of the Lord is our strength” or do they see us as sad, beaten down people who are forced to stay home on Saturday night so we can go to church on Sunday morning? Is our lifestyle a good advertisement for Jesus or does it turn others away from seeking Him? Think about it.
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! — 2 Cor. 5:14-17 NIV
Our human, finite minds cannot fully grasp the height, depth and width of the kind of love that would cause God to send His only Son to die on a cross for our sins. But, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are allowed a glimpse into the depth of that love. If we are truly convinced of that love, it should be more than enough to compel us to share His love and His story with others. He died for all of us and was raised again for our salvation. If we truly believe this, then we no longer see others through our eyes but through the eyes of Christ. Once, before we accepted Jesus as our Lord, we saw Him as the world sees Him, just a good man and teacher, but when we received the Holy Spirit, we began to see Jesus in a whole new way. Everything and everyone around us looks different because we are or should be looking at those around us just as Jesus sees them. As C S Lewis said: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else.” Thus everything has become “new” to us. But, in reality, what has become truly new is us. We are a new creation!
23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. — 1 Peter 1:23 NIV
So, let us turn from our old, wicked ways and walk in the newness of life led by the Holy Spirit!