By Eddie Cole
As Christians we are taught that God is not confined to a temple in Jerusalem or a church building on Main Street but He indwells us and lives in our hearts. We are taught that our behavior in public and private matters to Him and we are to live accordingly.
This truth all by itself brings with it an uncomfortable measure of accountability and makes me super grateful for the doctrine of grace.
Every now and then, however, God graces us believers with reminders of just how important it is that we live our lives as people who will give an account.
One such example is a book entitled In the Land of Believers: An Outsiders Extraordinary Journey Into The Heart of The Evangelical Church by Gina Welch.
Welch infiltrated Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA (and to some degree Liberty University) to find out firsthand what life is like as an evangelical. She said her effort in this project is not to provide an expose; meaning, it isn’t intentionally a “gotcha” piece. Rather, it is an unbeliever’s attempt to try to understand and then explain the evangelical subculture in America.
As an evangelical who is a Liberty University alumni, her work made me cringe. It frustrated me, and at times it felt more than a little unfair. However, the overall experience made me ask some more important questions.
What if someone got really close to me for a year and observed my conversations and conduct and then published it for public consumption?
How would I hold up under such scrutiny?
Am I a good model for the work of Jesus?
Does my life and my words point people to Jesus?
I thank God for the book and I appreciate the reminder of how important it is to live on purpose at all times.
1 Peter 5:3 says pastors are to be, “…examples to the flock.” In other words, people like me in vocational pastoral ministry are supposed to be in the business of modeling the faith. The motive is not because an infiltrator may be spying and writing but because someone infinitely more important has called me to it and is ready to reward me for it with an “unfading crown of glory” when He returns.
How could I ever forget this?
After finishing the book I wrote a note to myself on becoming a better model. I wrote out four daily reminders.
4 daily reminders about becoming a better model.
- Abide in Christ and let Him be your joy and strength. Live with Him and then you will do better in living for Him. (1 Peter 1:3, 7, 14, 22; John 15)
- Embrace your purpose every day. You have the privilege of knowing your purpose for existence! Act like it today. (1 Peter 2: 9)
- Show the character and love of Jesus through all your actions, large or small, in public or private. (1 Peter 2:15)
- Proclaim with simplicity and clarity the life and love of Jesus every chance you get. The good news of the Gospel is the only message that gives true eternal hope. (1 Peter 2:9; Romans 10:14)
I hope you don’t need these reminders because you are already living in light of eternity, fully on purpose with the message of Jesus Christ. But in case you’ve forgotten, remember this…accountability is certain.
Thank God for the moments, the situations and the unbelieving authors that remind us of this truth.
Praying for you to shine!