by Julie Zine Coleman
He hadn’t even noticed his wallet was missing. Not until he answered a knock on his door. There stood a group of teenagers, holding it out in front of them. They’d found it at a nearby mall and used his driver’s license to locate him. Knowing it contained a newly cashed paycheck’s worth of bills, he could hardly believe such integrity. Not one dollar was missing. Grateful, he offered them a reward. They politely refused. They were just happy they had successfully reunited the wallet with its owner.
He had to know more. Why were they so honest? Who were they? The kids smiled shyly and told him they were Christians from a local church. Their integrity was a mere reflection of the One they followed.
The following Sunday, he came to church. He didn’t know much about God, but he knew whatever those teens had was something he wanted. It wasn’t long before he had given his life to the Savior as well.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NASB). God uses our acts of love to make himself known.
God is all about revealing himself to the world. It’s always been his purpose. “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,” God promised (Habakkuk 2:14 NASB). Paul tells us in Romans 1 that God first revealed his eternal power and divine nature with His creation. Next, He chose the family of Israel to reveal Him to the nations. Then the ultimate revelation came: Jesus Christ, “the radiance of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3, NASB).
And now, Paul tells us that “the manifold wisdom of God… [is now made] known through the church…” (Ephesians 3:10, NASB).
He has chosen US, the Church, to be the vessels through which He is revealing himself today! This serious responsibility has big implications for how we live.
I was recently confronted by an angry neighbor. He accused my sweet dog of something that was absolutely untrue. As I cringed under his bitter words, my instinct was to shoot right back with a hefty dose of reality. But before I could open my mouth, the Lord reminded me that I was there at that moment to represent Him. A careful, loving response had the potential to show my neighbor Jesus in me.
What better way is there to reveal Christ in us than love? After all, it is just a reflection of the love God has already lavished on us. And there’s plenty of that to spread around.
Paul wrote: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10 NASB). The world’s brand of love is often self-seeking and self-righteous. The kind of love we can offer (agape love) chooses the good of another over ourselves. It is as different from the world as light is from darkness.
My angry neighbor? After a quick prayer for the Lord’s strength, I bit my indignant tongue and responded to his anger with humility and grace. I hope that someday this unhappy man will put His trust in Christ. Maybe God will even use my decision to treat him with love to draw him in.
The world is stumbling around in darkness. God has called us to light the way for them.
“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8
About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.
Join the conversation: In what ways have you seen people respond to love?