When I received Christ into my heart at 4 years old, all I knew then was to believe and receive. During my high school and college years I learned it was about standing for my convictions. Today, I realize that calling myself a follower of Christ means He must be on the throne of my life and that He is the One others must see—not me.
Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Here are ten ways to live by faith in the Son of God so that others see Christ in your life:
1. Love the Unlovely
It’s easy to love someone who loves you in return. It’s also easy to love the beautiful, kind, and lovely people. But it’s a whole different story to love someone who doesn’t deserve your love, look the part, or treat you well. Yet that’s what Jesus did, and He instructed His followers to do the same.
“Jesus said ‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you’” (John 15:12). How did Jesus love them? Scripture answers that in Romans 5:8: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Those without Christ only know conditional love, selfish love, erotic love. But when you show an unworldly love – a love that is sacrificial and without limits, preferences, or condition – others can’t help but see Jesus in you.
2. Freely Forgive
If I said to you: “I’ll forgive you when you have finally deserved my forgiveness” or “I need more time. I’ll forgive you when I’m ready” would you see the love and person of Christ in me?
I know forgiveness is difficult, especially when you’ve been hurt in a way that you never thought possible. I know it is not within us to be able to forgive freely and without condition. But that’s why your forgiveness of another is such a powerful testimony of Christ’s presence in your life. You know how badly offense hurts. And you know how freely Christ forgave you in spite of your own offenses. Colossians 3:13 instructs us: “as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Go ahead. Let go of that burden of bitterness and resentment and freely forgive. When you do, others will see Christ in you.
3. Display Joy
Jesus said “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). That is joy, my friends. He also said when we obey Him and remain in His love, His joy will be in us and our joy will be complete (John 15:10-11). How can we know the God of this Universe—and experience His freedom and forgiveness—and not be filled with joy?
Yes, life is hard. But joy is not about our circumstances which can change from day to day. Joy is about our condition—of being forgiven and free in Christ—which will never change. Be a person who is joyful, not continually down in the dumps, and others will see Christ in you.
4. Show Grace, Not a Critical Spirit
It dawned on me years ago that it was easier for me to be critical of someone upon meeting them, than to show them grace. I was tuned into how they dressed, talked, and displayed themselves, rather than their heart for which Christ died. But that attitude was not exemplary of Christ in me. That was the flesh in me. The selfishness in me. The insecurity in me that felt I needed to compare myself with others in hopes that I would come out ahead. People weren’t seeing Christ in me that way; they were seeing a critical woman trying to compensate for her own hurts.
When you and I start showing compassion toward others, empathizing with others’ situations or hurts, and showing grace and mercy rather than a critical spirit, we can be representatives of Christ’s grace and mercy. In Micah 6:8 we read that what God requires of His own is “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Are you being just, kind, and
humble in your attitude toward others? If so, they will see Christ in you.
5. Be Willing to be at the Bottom
It’s human nature to want to be a celebrity. Even a Christian celebrity. But Jesus never sought the spotlight, even though He fully deserved it. Instead, He insisted His Father receive the accolades and glory. Jesus showed us that the way up was down. The last would be first. And the humble would be exalted.
James 4:10 instructs: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
The world doesn’t value humility—it avoids it all costs. Yet Christ humbled himself when he gave up what was rightfully His to come to this earth and live a life at our level.There is nothing more beautiful that someone who is at “the top” and shining brightly for Christ because they were willing to be at the bottom. One who lets God exalt him, rather than exalting himself, is one through whom others see Christ.
6. Keep Your Cool
Are you a person of self-control who can keep calm and carry on? Or are you one to fly off the handle when you are upset? Do others look to you in a crisis or do they run the other direction knowing you’re the “hot head” who loses your cool?
Proverbs 15:18 tells us “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” And James 1:19-20 “says let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
There is wisdom in exercising patience and understanding, even in situations that are frustrating. Your self-control shows others Who you are trusting in. When you display a gentle spirit and respond maturely rather than blow steam and react emotionally, you are showing others that your faith and trust is in God, who can work out any situation.
7. Watch Your Words
I’ve read more hurtful, biting words by Christians on social media sites than I’ve ever experienced from unbelievers while writing for years for secular newspapers. It’s okay to feel strongly about something and voice your concern. Jesus, many times, came out and said it like it was. But can we show a little love, understanding, and grace by simply tempering our words, especially when we’re all on the same team?
Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”. And
Proverbs 16:2 says: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
It’s been said “people who hurt, hurt people.” Do your words heal rather than hurt? Do they lift up others instead of tear them down? When you speak healing, helping words, instead of biting words, stinging comments and self-righteous rebukes, others will see Christ in you (instead of your pain).
8. Be Holy, Not Hurried
First Peter 1:15-16 instructs: “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” At first glance, you and I think I can’t possibly be holy. But holiness means to be set apart because of our purity and righteousness that comes not from ourselves, but from Christ’s spirit in us.
Jesus was holy (fully obedient to His Father), set apart, so very different from the world. And we can be set apart, too, by slowing down long enough to hear God’s voice, notice people around us, and say a kind word. Concentrate on being holy, rather than hurried and harried. While the world is constantly pushing you to “Hurry up,” “Get it done. Faster!” and “Don’t wait. Do it now”, Scripture quietly beckons us to “Be still….” (Psalm 46:10) and “Wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). Take time for God and others and people will see Christ in you.
9. Don’t Worry
When you and I wring our hands in worry, freak out in our frustrations, or just burn the midnight oil striving for what we believe we must do, we are showing the world that we believe we are in control and if we stop and rest, it will all fall apart. That’s not how Jesus lived. He lived in perfect peace, even in His most trying moments. That’s because He was well aware of His Heavenly Father’s presence, protection, and provision. Can you say the same?
When you and I practice Philippians 4:8-9 and worry about nothing, but pray about everything, we will experience His peace and we will live much more like Jesus—a life characterized by peace rather than worry and restlessness.
Those who don’t know God stress as if they are the ones who have to make everything happen. One who is following Christ and fully dependent on Him will display a quiet peace and trust, knowing that God is able to supply all His needs (Philippians 4:19) and is working all things together for his or her good (Romans 8:28-29).
10. Be Zealous for God’s Glory
This is the one that might make other people uncomfortable around you, but it’s what makes people uncomfortable around Jesus, too. If people are truly going to see Jesus in you, they are going to see a zealousness for the glory of God.
Don’t be afraid to offend someone who claims to come in the name of God but is preaching a different gospel. Don’t be afraid to offend someone by speaking out about how they are oppressing the poor. Don’t’ be afraid to confront legalism or religious pride if it is putting an unfair burden on the servants of the Lord or distracting from the Gospel of grace. That kind of stuff angered Jesus. It made Him look like a madman with a whip in the temple courts! Jesus was adamant about protecting the holiness, integrity, and glory of God. When you do that, too, people will see a side of Jesus in you that they hadn’t seen before.
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