February 1, 2023
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It was really cold outside. It wasn't supposed to be cold inside. But when I awoke that morning, my nose felt like a puppy nose. It was cold - 45 degrees in the house! Turned out the problem wasn't the thermometer. No, that just reflected the temperature. It was the thermostat that sets the temperature.
If there was ever a time when our world and our country needed for the followers of Jesus to be thermostats, it's now. It's way too hot. So much anger. You know, yelling and disrespect.
We who bear Jesus' name? We can't afford to be thermometers in an environment like this. If we reflect this fierce and fractured temperature around us, we'll just give people another reason not to trust Jesus.
No issue that I may have is important enough for me to forget who I really am. Or to discredit the One who loves me most.
What I can't forget is that, first and foremost, "we are Christ's ambassadors" (2 Corinthians 5:20). So, as the Bible says, "whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus" (Colossians 3:17). In my texts, my conversations, my emails, my social media posts, my attitude. Folks can't see and hear Jesus. But they can see and hear me and judge my Jesus by me.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Changing The Temperature In Overheated Times."
After an election, or when there's a medical controversy, whatever it is, some are grieving, some are seething, some are celebrating, some are stressing over the outcome. That's why, as one of Jesus' reps, I need to make a choice - that I'm going to bring the peace and the presence of Jesus into every situation and every conversation.
So, I've been thinking about what instructions I have from my King that will help me set a climate He'd be comfortable in. It boils down to five simple responsibilities for a "Jesus ambassador."
One...LOVE: His kind of love. The kind that loved us "while we were yet sinners" (Romans 5:8). It's unconditional. It's uncondemning. It's love that builds up and refuses to tear down or reciprocate. It's a choice. It's not a feeling. Not to treat you like you treated me. But to treat you like Jesus treats me.
If I get sucked into the spiral of hurtful words and inflamed opinions, I become a reason for someone to say, "See, they're just like us!" I can't do that because, as it says in our word for today from the Word of God in John 13:35, "this is how they will know you are My disciples, by your love." Whatever they give, I know what I have to give. I've got to give love like His.
Secondly...PRAY: No matter who leads a nation, no matter who's in charge, my orders are to pray for kings and all those in authority. This pleases God our Savior" the Bible says (1 Timothy 2:2-3). In the Throne Room of God, there are no political parties. Even if I don't vote for someone, I've got to pray for them. And to fervently pray, "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
Thirdly...RESPECT: Peter said to represent Him with "gentleness and respect" and to "show proper respect to everyone" (1 Peter 3:15, 2:17). As someone made in God's image and for whom Christ died.
And then there's PARTICIPATE: In Jesus' day, you didn't get to vote on who would be emperor. Whatever our form of government, Jesus' orders remain: "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" (Mark 12:17). In the case of our country, we've got a democracy. So, I pay taxes. I do it to obey my King; my King of kings. And living in a democracy, where voices can be freely expressed, we vote and we abide by laws.
And there's one last word that's glue in these shattering times. TRUST: Even when things don't turn out the way we had hoped. You know, I guess you could spend just a lot of time dwelling on your disappointment. Or you could embrace the sovereignty of your King of kings. Which will lead you to ask that soul-lifting question - "How can God use this?"