"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a
sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be Like
a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
-Isaiah 58:11 (NIV 1984)
There is a saying that I've heard much of my life: "You may be the only Bible some people read; you may be the only Jesus some people see." The first time I heard that I thought, "Wow! What kind of Bible or Jesus are people seeing through me?" As Christians we have an awesome responsibility to exemplify Christ in our everyday lives.
I'm reminded of the example Jesus set at the Passover supper shortly before He left this earth. John 13:3–5 (NLT) says, "Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him."
When Jesus came to wash Peter's feet, Peter (always the vocal one) said, " 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?' Jesus replied, 'You don't understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.' 'No,' Peter protested, 'you will never ever wash my feet!' Jesus replied, 'Unless I wash you, you won't belong to me' " (John 13:6–8 NLT). Then of course Peter said, "Don't just wash my feet, but my hands and head!" (v. 9).
After Jesus finished washing the disciples' feet, I think He perceived that they did not understand the significance of what He was doing. And so, Jesus sat down and taught it to them very simply: "After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, 'Do you understand what I was doing? You call me "Teacher" and "Lord," and you are right, because that's what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them' " (John 13:12–17 NLT).
The behavior Jesus exemplified is the kind that we as Christians should be showing to others. At the end of March, we will celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. At this time of year, I think of the example that He became for all of us to follow.
I'm reminded that He said in Matthew 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." I admonish you to pray for your enemies. Be an example by demonstrating the love of God to them. Is it easy? Absolutely not! However, by demonstrating the God-kind of love to them, you are being the Bible to them. And you may be the only Bible that they ever read.
Being in the public eye all of my life, I am constantly aware that people are watching me. I am cognizant that my actions will speak louder than my words. If I do not display Christian actions, I can forget about verbally witnessing to them.
Many years ago when I was involved in choosing the decor for two of the buildings being completed on our campus, I spent a great deal of time at a certain store buying carpet. Two of the owners had had a bad experience with a ministry. Therefore, they had put all of us ministers in the same category. Often as I approached them for carpet purchases, they would insert "barbs" that would rub me the wrong way. However, I would just smile and not answer. I would not try to refute their barbs. I knew that the best thing I could do was let my actions and reactions be my Christian testimony.
Suddenly one day the scene changed. After they perceived that their taunting was not going to bring a negative response from me, they said, "I want to know about your Jesus. He must be different than we thought." Hallelujah! I had a chance to let them know about the love of God and His saving power.
Remember, you may be the only Bible some people read; you may be the only Jesus some people see. What are people reading in your life? We need to know the Jesus of the Bible so well that we have no problem portraying Him to other people. The Lord is calling you to serve Him by serving others.