From a child I was raised to look for the good in people around me.  I was encouraged to be a friend to those around me who were considered ‘outcasts’ by others.   When I encounter someone who has a different belief system than I do, my parents taught me that I should stand firm in my own belief in the truth of God’s Word while at the same time showing respect and love for the other person, who is also a creation of God. 

 That’s what I was taught.  That’s how I was raised.  But…to be honest it is much easier to talk about than to practice.  Just this week I found my mind struggling to live by the belief system that I claim as my own.

 As I read John chapter 19 last week, I began lining up my belief system with my daily thoughts and my daily actions.  My belief in the events that occur in this chapter are the foundation of my faith.  Christ died on the cross as a once and for all sacrifice of sin.  Because of His death on the cross, I have been forgiven of the sin that separates me from the holiness of God. 

 So what?  Not to be sarcastic, but there are millions that claim to have their salvation in Jesus Christ.  My stating that I am a Christian puts me in a category of millions with the same belief system. 

 The question that rang through my mind last week was… ‘Holly, how will your belief in the sacrificial death of Christ impact your thoughts, your actions, your choices, and your relationships today?’

 You see….unfortunately a good number of those who claim to believe in the salvation power of the cross, live very much like the world that is in the death grip of sin.

 And {clearing my throat} there are many days of my life that I have lived looking way too much like the world.  .  my attitudes and actions being guided by my own worldly thinking instead of being guided by the love that I feel for the One whose died on the cross for my salvation and eternal freedom.  

 Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Love God.  Love people.  Really Christianity is that simple. 

What does love for God and love for people look like in my own life? My love for God puts me at a crossroads when I encounter people each day.  Often my love for God drives me to love on people with kind words or encouragement.  At other times, my passion for  God catapults me to share the salvation of Jesus with someone who crosses my path. 

So, when I have an encounter like I had last week with a lady that didn’t look like me, talk like me, or dress like me…I have to ask myself, “How does God want to love on her through me?” 

My mind wrestled with these thoughts… ‘she doesn’t really look like she’s interested in knowing about Jesus?’  ‘from how she’s dressed, she likely won’t come to church with me?’ ‘what if she says no?’  ‘maybe I’ll just be nice to her and that will be enough.’ ‘she might be offended if I ask her if she knows Jesus.’

With this particular encounter, I was guided to talk about her past religious experiences and invited her to my church.  And guess what…she was waiting for me outside Sunday morning…anxious to go to church.  . . a place she hadn’t been in years.  

God uses things like that to let me know that He is living in me and that He will use me to spread the message of the cross if I make myself available.

So what?  Maybe that’s the question we all need to ask ourselves everyday. “I’m a Christian.  So what?”  So what am I going to do today because of the cross?