Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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I will long remember some of the most thrill-packed times of my life when I was teaching our oldest son to drive. Actually, there was a strange by-product of his learning to drive - my driving improved! Over the years, you know, you get a little careless about the right way to drive, especially when you're living in the metropolitan New York area where stunt driving is like a survival skill! But knowing that my son was learning to drive, I suddenly became conscious of this pair of eyes watching me from the back seat - an impressionable teenage boy watching how his Dad holds the wheel, keeps the speed limit, changes lanes, and approaches cars from the rear. Those eyes had an effect. I ended up driving more as I'm, well, supposed to drive.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Driving Better When You're Being Watched."
Sometimes it really matters how you're driving because you're being watched, which you are if you belong to Jesus Christ, by the people around you who don't know Him that is. And it really matters how you drive your life because of the extremely important position God has put you in. That position is defined in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 5:20. "We are, therefore, Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." Notice, this doesn't say we should be Christ's ambassador - we are Christ's ambassador.
In many countries, America's ambassador is the main representative of this country. People assume that America is like that ambassador who is an American. Now the sobering reality of your everyday life as a Christian is that people are sizing up Jesus Christ based on you; deciding what Jesus is like based on what you're like. You may say, "I don't want that responsibility." It doesn't matter. You've got that responsibility. You are carrying Jesus' reputation on you.
Just as I was watched as a driver by my son, you and I are being watched, whether we realize it or not. And that's good. I need to know someone is watching my driving. It makes me a better driver. You and I need to know how important our daily actions are; they are shaping someone's impression of Jesus. Sometimes we feel like it doesn't matter how we talk, how we act, how we choose, or how we treat someone, but it really, really does.
It matters that you go out of your way to tell the truth, to reach out to a person who's down, to keep your temper, to clean up your language, to stop complaining, to show respect. I urge you to focus on one person in your world who probably doesn't have Jesus as their Savior; one person that you really want to see in heaven with you. When you pray by name for that spiritually dying person, when you focus on them being in heaven with you, you suddenly start to realize there is a pair of eyes watching you.
Actually, that lost person has been watching, but now you're basing your actions on that awareness. It grips you that literally someone's forever could depend on how you live. You can be a reason they're attracted to Jesus or a reason they reject Jesus - a major factor in whether they spend forever in heaven or in hell.
That realization makes you pray as never before - to be in God's Word for daily strength and daily orders. There is no greater incentive to spiritual sharpness than to know you are Christ's ambassador; that you are giving Him a reputation by everything you say and do. So, get both hands on the wheel, watch your speed, and drive very carefully. You're being watched, and someone's eternity may depend on what they see in you.