44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! — Matthew 5:44
As Christians, how do we respond when we are deliberately mistreated? Are we to be negative or positive in our responses? We should always strive to be positive and let God show His love through us. Jesus forgave His persecutors and we are to do the same. Was that forgiveness a show of weakness or was it unbelievable strength? Who was the actual winner at the Cross? If we respond in the same manner as Jesus, it is really a show of our strength and our faith in Jesus Christ. In the times of the early church, being struck on the right cheek with the back of the right hand was something that a superior did to someone of less stature as an insult. Jesus said that we should not react to attacks on our own person or dignity. He has promised that He will defend us and that revenge is His. We are promised that we will be offended and when we are offended, it is our duty to respond in love and with acts of kindness.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” — 2 Cor. 5:20 NLT
What is an ambassador? Dictionary.com defines ambassador as a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative’. Using that definition, we are citizens of heaven placed here on earth to represent Heaven and our King, Jesus Christ. If we represent someone, we should strive to imitate that person and to show those around us what that person is like. We also represent the country we are from and we want to paint a beautiful word picture of what life is like in our home country. We certainly want to issue everyone an invitation to come and be with us in our country. There are four words in this definition that caught my eye. Those four words are “of the highest rank”. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room for us to say that we can’t or that we don’t have the authority to do this or that. What we are is what they will think our leader and our country is like. Does our lifestyle make people want to know more about Jesus and an eternity in heaven or does it leave them thinking something else?
16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. — Titus 1:16 NLT
Paul considered both Timothy and Titus to be his sons in the faith and as such, it was his joy and job to mentor them. Even though he left them at different churches to carry on the work that he had started, he contiuned to do this by writing them letters. In his 2nd letter to Timothy and here in this letter to Titus, Paul warns them about wasting their time in foolish talk and conversations. This type of behavior usually leads to divisions in the body of Christ. Crete was obviously well known for this type of activity since Paul quotes one of their own Cretan prophets as describing them as “liars, cruel animals and lazy gluttons”. That’s harsh condemnation of one’s fellow countrymen. However, it would not be hard to make that description fit a portion of our society today. The point Paul wants to make to Titus is that he has a tough job ahead of him. He is living among people who will make all sorts of claims and statements of their faith, but they don’t really know God and their lifestyles prove that they don’t. When we hear the Gospel of Jesus, we accept it as truth because the Holy Spirit has purified and prepared our minds to accept it. Those whose minds and consciences are corrupt will perceive all truth as being corrupt. The task for Titus was to convince them of the truth of the Gospel by his lifestyle. That is our task in our society today.
1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
2 I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
— Psalm 9:1, 2 NLT
As we tell and retell the Gospel story and talk about all the marvelous things God has done for us, we are filled with joy. The more we tell the old, old story, the more sure our hope becomes and the more joy we have to help us get through each day. That old liar, satan, comes around every day telling us how bad things are and pointing out all the things we don’t have. But all we need to do is stop and consider all the things with which God has blessed us. Then we need to thank Him and praise Him for all that He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us. We need to remind ourselves and satan about Paul’s admonition to us in Philippians on the things we need to focus on in our daily thought patterns.
Philippians 4:8, 9
God tells over and over that we should not worry, fear or be discouraged, yet, we spend more time considering what we are going to do when bad things happen than we do praising God for what He has done, is doing and will continue to do for us. Just as we don’t want to hear our kids complaining about what they don’t have all the time, neither does God want to hear our murmurs and complaining every day. It was this kind of behavior by God’s chosen people that caused Him to be angry with them on their trek through the desert. Do we want best friends who only tell us about their problems or those who share their concerns and their victories with us? God is our best friend, let us treat Him like we would our best friend. Talk with Him, not just to Him every day and praise Him for all of His goodness, then we will be filled with HIs peace and His joy, which is His gift to us.
14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. — Hebrews 13:14-16 NIV
We are foreigners and aliens here on earth this is not our home. We are citizens of heaven. God has chosen to leave us here for a while to be ambassadors for Christ.
20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. — 2 Cor. 5:20 NIV
An ambassador is a person who has been sent from his home country to a foreign country as an official representative. God has chosen each of us, individually and specifically, to represent Him while we are here. A really good ambassador always speaks highly of his home country and its leader(s). In other words, he heaps praise upon them. He does everything in his power to try to get visitors to come to his country. That is our job. We want to get people to do more than visit our country (Heaven), we want them to stay for eternity. We do that by praising God continuously and telling others about the amazing love and grace of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We show them what a wonderful thing it is to accept Christ by our praise, prayers and our walk. Jesus went about doing good and that is our example. We need to share with others and that takes time and effort. God is extremely pleased when we sacrifice our time and resources to honor Him. Investing our time and resources into harvesting a soul for Jesus is a high profit endeavor. The blessings will start here and the rewards will continue into eternity. There is no other investment that will pay those kind of high dividends for eternity. Practice being a good ambassador for Christ. The rewards are out of this world!
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.– Rev. 22:12 KJV