Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Punching Bag or Ambassador?

When you are at work, do you feel like a punching bag? Are you an employee your supervisor loves to hate?  

Have you asked God how he feels about this? Here’s the answer King David discovered: 

In my distress I called to the LORD;
   I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
   and the foundations of the mountains shook;
   they trembled because he was angry (Psa. 18: 6-7).
I don’t know about you, but I was surprised when I read this psalm and realized that the Lord cares that passionately about his children. 

So what are you asking the Lord to do for you? Immediately remove you from that situation? Miraculously change your employer’s attitude toward you? Take your boss out with a heart attack and bring in one who appreciates you?  

How about asking for . . . comfort? Before you say, “I need a whole lot more than that!” let me explain that comfort includes a whole lot more than we normally think.  

God’s comfort not only heals hurt feelings and damaged self-esteem, it strengthens. In fact, the second part of the word “comfort” comes from the Latin word “fortis,” which means strong. If you receive comfort from the Lord each time someone mistreats you, you will eventually become so strong on the inside that you will no longer feel humiliated when people harass you.  

If all you ask the Lord is to help you escape each difficult situation . . . well, there will always be another one. With the inner strength that Christ gives, you can be an overcomer in any situation. 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Rom. 8:35, 36). 

And here’s another reason to let the Holy Spirit (the “Comforter”) make you strong—and it’s a very important reason. The Lord has called us to be his ambassadors to hurting, ugly people.  

. . . God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 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. 5:19-20).

How are we going serve as ambassadors without going where messed-up people are, rubbing shoulders with them, and showing them God’s love? And here is how we show his love:  

Jesus said, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt. 5:44-45). 

The apostle Paul said, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:13-15). 

The apostle Peter said, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9).  

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us (1 Pet. 2:12). 

It’s a strategy that will take your “enemies” by surprise. It will open their hearts to learning about the God whose love—and strength—they see in you.

No comments: