How We’re Learning
By Muriel Gregory
Making a good impression in a hostile world.
18 June 2002 is my American birthday. I remember the three hour drive with my 5-year-old and 1-month-old boys. I remember the immigration office in Charlotte, NC. I cannot say that I remember much of the ceremony itself, as I was probably more preoccupied with my boys than I was with the event. I remember it being quick, for which I was thankful.
And just like that I became an American citizen.
My real birthday is April 18 (the year will stay undisclosed). My other important birthday is August 15, 1995. That is the day I was baptized and chose to follow and serve Jesus. To become an American citizen, I had to fill out a lot of paperwork. I had to undergo a medical exam, get fingerprinted, and take a test in English and American history. To become a citizen of heaven, all I had to do was call on His name (Romans 10:13). There was no Bible knowledge test or Hebrew/Greek exam. Healthy or sick, God would accept me. All it took was to confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
One of the beautiful things that comes with becoming a citizen of a country is all the freedoms you are now entitled to. As an American citizen, I now enjoy the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to bear arms, and I am covered by the Bill of Rights. As a citizen of heaven I have redemption through His blood, forgiveness of sin, and I have a seat with Jesus in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:6). Not too shabby.
Citizenship grants us access to many benefits and freedoms but also comes with responsibilities and rules we have to follow. I still need to obey the law or I will face the consequences. If I speed, I will get a speeding ticket.
Our freedom in Christ is the same. We are free from sin because we are slaves to God, servants of God. The truth is we are free from one and slave to the other. If we are free from sin, we are slaves to righteousness. If we are free from righteousness, we are slaves to sin (Romans 6:16-22). The freedom from righteousness results in death. The freedom from sin results in eternal life. The choice seems clear to me.
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:15-16
With God as my master, my behavior has the power to incite foolish men (and women) – that is, people with no knowledge of God – to become aware of God and hear His call. It is His will that I live a life that follows His precepts. This alone will silence everybody who might make foolish accusations against me.
In today’s society the norm is to retaliate when we are offended, accused, and judged. We allow our fingers to do the talking and post our opinions and feelings on social media. Our freedom in Jesus and our service to God prompts us to a different approach.
We are free to be brave when we choose to live an honorable life and make a good impression in a hostile world.
All this is accomplished by simply living by His rules. No justifying, no defending, no explaining. Our actions alone, our life choices, will silence the opposition. This is God’s purpose, desire, wish for your and my life.
Simple and complicated at the same time.
How to live an honorable life:
- Read your Bible. That is the only way you will know how God wants you to live a honorable life.
- Do what He says. Obedience brings blessings. Trust the process.
- Deny the flesh. When people attack you or make fun of you, do not retaliate. Silence them by your choices, not your words.
- Have fellowship with other Christians. We all need support and accountability.
- Pray. Pray first, pray last, pray at all times. Prayer is your lifeline to God. You will never abuse it.
Each day we must restart our obedience. Each day is a new day. If you have “a day,” don’t get discouraged. God is with us as we continue to be brave in a hostile world.
Father, I am so grateful for your guidance and your love. I pray that I will continue to live a life that is pleasing to you. Help me realize that my freedom to be brave means drawing more people to you. Amen