Well, let’s see what is wrong with this picture. You have a man in a business suit standing on a beach. On a beach guys would normally wear board shorts, a t-shirt and runners or flip-flops. So, a young man fully dressed for the office looks out of place and definitely over-dressed for the occasion.
Let me ask a question to all the believers who read this blog – do you often stick out and look out-of-place. Maybe not over-dressed but simply uncomfortable and uneasy in certain situations? Maybe it is the dress code; or maybe the circumstances you find yourself in (office party); or the direction the conversation is going; off-colored jokes…
Often because we are believers and mostly associate with and fellowship with believers as well as holding to a different moral standard than some who do not follow Jesus – we don’t always feel comfortable among those who don’t share the same belief structure and thus live a different life style. Yet, we are following Jesus and He was sincerely comfortable and very much at home with sinners and enjoyed His time with them in their homes and in public places. He never felt or looked out of place or awkward as the religious people of His day did (the pharisees and sadducees).
Jesus simply loved people and this enabled Him to look past the sin, the life-style, the expectations of others, the rules of the religious people and what people might think of him and simply enjoyed being with people and showing them the love, acceptance and forgiveness that comes only from God the Father. He was able to fit in and never looked out of place … expect maybe when among the religious hypocrites. He was comfortable with who He was and what He had been sent by the Father to accomplish (seek and save the lost).
Yet His followers often look out of place and certainly feel awkward in certain situations and with certain people. They are “in the world but not of the world” but have taken that to such an extreme that they simply no longer fit in the real world with real people. Often believers are not secure in who they are in Christ and therefore feel threatened by those who live another way or believe something different and thus ignore or, worse still, oppose what they believe as Christians. Believers feel defensive when our approach should be offensive as we storm the gates of hell.
We are called to be salt and light. That means we have to be in touch with and involved in the lives of the people around us who are not followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This necessitates that we become comfortable with them and in non-Christian situations as non-believers notice when we are uncomfortable or uneasy with what they are saying or doing. Salt, to add flavor, must be in and upon the meat; light to be effective must shine into and will push back the darkness – it was designed to do so.
So, believers – we need to make friends with non-believers; learn to relate; hang out where they hang out; interact and talk about things they are interested in and that they are involved in. Watch the news, know what is happening in the sports world, follow the trends in society -who and what is influencing the teens and youth of your area. Come to know the current affairs of the city or town in which you live. Become part of the community and your neighborhood and connect. Failure to connect will mean fewer opportunities to share the Gospel with others who need to hear it. And, an appearance of being totally out of it and so heavenly minded that you are apparently no earthly good.
It is time to begin to interact with and touch the lives of non-believers in a substantial and eternal way. Jesus did and He calls us to follow Him and do the same – learn the ways of the fish and think like a fish so that you can catch them on their turf and on their terms. Or, as Paul states: “I became all things to all men that I might win some to Christ.”