June 27, 2012

2 Corinthians 5:20 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.

I had to memorize this verse in elementary school as a Royal Ambassador (a Southern Baptist boys group), and what a blessing that was! At the time, I wasn’t particularly excited about having to memorize anything, but the principle that we are God’s agents and representatives is a vitally important one. When we get it through our heads and into our hearts, it colors absolutely everything we do. There has been yet another scandal recently of US officials acting entirely inappropriately in a foreign country, and that’s just a mirror of the scandals that occur when Christians do likewise. The point is, it’s not just Church leaders who are ambassadors, it is every Christian, and that’s very hard for many people to grasp. Every facet of our lives should reflect the presence of Christ in us, the hope of glory, (Colossians 1:27) but we consider that too high a standard, and we flinch from it. That’s because we think of it as something we have to do, instead of it being something that God will do in and through us, if we will allow Him to do so. (Philippians 2:13) We also tend to have our pet sins that we don’t want to let go of, and we know they are inappropriate for an ambassador of Christ. What a waste! There is no sinful pleasure that can compare with the magnificence of full fellowship with God, but the devil does all he can to hide that truth from us. We need to trust God and believe His Word, rejecting the lies of the devil.

I wish I could say I walk in this consistently, but that would be dishonest. I too am a work in progress, so like Paul, I need to forget what is behind and press forward into all that God has placed before me in Christ. (Philippians 3:13-14) I feel like the truth that we are Christ’s agents is a major part of my ministry, and it is disheartening every time a believer declines to accept that it applies to them. They are comfortable with the idea that a pastor might be such a representative, but they shrink back when told that they are likewise. I can’t get through to them in my own wisdom and strength, so I need to be fully available to the Holy Spirit for Him to do it through me. I do see believers waking up to this reality, and that is very encouraging. I am not to focus on the negatives but keep my eyes on Christ and trust Him to build His Church, so that we may be raised up as a mighty army, tearing down the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and setting many free to enter into God’s salvation. (Luke 4:18-19)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the privilege of being Your representative, and for Your patience with me when I fail to live up to that standard. Help me keep growing, improving my “batting average,” and help me lead the believers to do likewise, so that together we may be effective ambassadors indeed, drawing many into Your kingdom for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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