During this time of year families who don't often spend a great deal of time together otherwise due to distance, buisness, or preference, join together to celebrate Christmas and New Years. Most of us have family members who don't know God. I know, I do! As my family descends upon my home for feasting and fun, I find myself often getting stressed. Since I don't see some of my family very often, I feel like this is an opportunity for me to put my Christianity on display in all its glory! Surely my family and friends will see the glow on my face, the peace radiated from my eyes, and how I have nothing but a kind word for everyone.
Surely they will ask me the cause of my utter bliss. Then they will sit in rapt attention at my feet while I share the gospel with them. Then, as the evening winds down and the candles burn low, they will give their lives to God.
Sounds like a dream? Well, it is. One of those illusive dreams that is always outside my reach.
But more often than not, nobody even notices anything different about me. Nobody asks me why I'm so peaceful or what the secret to my happy life is. More often than not, I get flustered and snap at someone or make some sarcastic comment. I try so hard to be the perfect example of Jesus. I try so hard, I walk around tense check every word I say before it leaves my mouth. But as each year passes, I realize that my plan isn't working.
Do you ever feel like that? You try and try so hard to be a good witness, to be such a good Christian, but nobody seems to notice and nothing ever changes.
Well, God spoke very clearly to me the other day. He told me to stop trying and start 'being'.
The truth of the matter is, in our own power, we can never be like Jesus. We can try all we want, but we will always just be our fallen selves. The only way to be like Jesus is to spend time with Him and lots of it!. I'm not talking a few mintues in the morning and a few minutes while you're driving to work or school. I'm talking an all-day, minute by minute relationship.
The more time you spend with Jesus, the more like Him you will become. Without even knowing it, He will change you from the inside out. He will make you uniquely you and yet so much like Him that other people can't help but notice. Then when we spend time with lost friends or relatives, we don't need to try anymore. We don't need to watch our mouths or check our frustration levels or worry about saying all the right words and taking advantage of every opportunity. We need only be ourselves. Because if we've been hanging out with Jesus, then ourselves will be like Him.
Remember the disciples, Peter and John? They spent 24-7 with the Lord for 3 years. Guess what the Pharisees said to them in Acts 4:13
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus..
Spend time with the Lord. Talk to Him all day long. Include Him in every decision, every frustration, every conversation and maybe just maybe this Christmas someone will take note of you--that you have been with Jesus.