Guaranteed failure, that’s exactly what you’re going to get if I’m your only Christian friend or even if you send someone to this website for an example of a Christian. I will ultimately disappoint you if I have not already. I don’t actively try to misrepresent Jesus, but my human nature is constantly tempted by sin and though I do my best to refrain from it, I’m imperfect. I will fail you at some point and it’s likely I already have. It’s obvious yet still must still be said and it began with a haunting thought. What if I am your definition of a Christian? What if I’m your “token” Christian friend?
As a kid who grew up in the church and then proceeded to live with 40+ Christ-followers throughout my college years, I am surrounded by family and friends who love Jesus. I forget that is my specific experience. Living in a highly “anti-god” city, I ironically know more Christians than I do non-Christians. But that’s not everyone’s story, what if I am your only Christian friend? Surely, you must know other Christians is the thought that races through my head. Surely, I cannot be your only Christian friend. Surely you do not point people to just my blog or podcast when they ask for an example of a Christian. Surely, you must know other Christians.
Depending on the day there is either pride or incompetence that follows after those thoughts. This pride stems from the security I have in who I am. I know what I value. I know how I think and feel about things. I know the intentionality I have and I live unashamed by the gospel. I know how I want to present the Bible and share who this Jesus is. There are those aspects where I stupidly grin and think to myself, “Good job, Kira. You are a great representation of Jesus” even though I fail miserably due to my impatience, aggression, arrogance, and the endless traits that follow. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in me. Pray as I seek to represent Jesus better.
Incompetence is precisely the feeling that occurs next. Hyper-aware of my sinful nature, I then can only focus on the times I have been unloving, unkind, and inadequate as a Christ-follower. I think about the men and women of God who represent the lovingkindness that Jesus has better on their off-days than I ever could on my best days. I think about my Godly friends who extend grace like no other. I think of my Christian mentors who are walking definitions of the Proverbs 31 woman. Surely, you must know other Christians because some people just do things better than I ever could. That’s not a sentence of humility but a sentence of honesty. Watch how we work together in Godly love and harmony. Christians, may we seek to do this better. It’s not us against each other. We have different gifts and callings.
We Christians all contribute to the effective functioning of the Body of Christ as 1 Corinthians 12 talks about. Though unique with our backgrounds, experiences, gifts, and abilities, we are all One in Christ. Beauty lies in the way we each love God and love people according to our gifts and callings. I love seeing different aspects of Jesus “nearly perfected” in Christ-followers. I see Jesus in my friend who is passionate about racial reconciliation. We are all made in God’s image after all. I see Jesus in the friend that sets up and tears down for every church event. We are called to serve with humility. I see Jesus in the generous financial giver. I see Jesus in the patient mom of six. I see Jesus in the dedicated personal trainer. I see Jesus in the intentional engineer. I see Jesus in the ambitious church-planter. We all do our best to represent God in whatever life stage we’re in and I invite you to see that. Surely, you must know other Christians.
I’ve seen Jesus in some of the warmest welcomes. I’ve seen Jesus when I have cried uncontrollably and was met with a powerful and silent embrace. It’s quite wonderful to see the way Jesus uses each one of His Christ-followers differently yet we all have the same goal: Love God, love people, share the gospel and make disciples. Surely, you must know other Christians because you’re missing out on the list of ways the Holy Spirit is moving through people. You’re missing out on the God-given Spiritual gifts, skills, and callings people have.
Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are different activities, but the same God works all of them in each person. 7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good: 8 to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, 9 to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of tongues, to another, interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
I am reminded that I often think too highly of myself if I believe that people’s faith rests in my hands and I better be perfect or else. My goodness, even typing that made me cringe. When I represent Christ well, God gets the glory. When people are saved, God gets the glory. When I write well, God gets the glory. When I speak the truth with love and grace, God gets the glory. That’s all God. It’s quite beautiful to see how the Holy Spirit moves through people. We need people who are passionate about different things. We need diversity when it comes to spiritual gifts. We need people to represent Jesus in their various occupations. If everyone was called to be a pastor, I’ll be honest, that would suck. We need our nurses, technicians, artists, scientists, musicians, and bakers. Some people represent Jesus’ peace better than others. In some people, I smile as I see the goodness of God in them. Most Christians represent God’s patience better on their off days than I can on my best day.
God has blessed me with certain gifts and skills and if there are ever times where you see Jesus working through me, God gets all the glory. I urge you to admire the uniqueness that lies within each person. You really need to make some Christian friends and see God’s character and intentionality in them. Christians, for us, I’m reminded that we are on the same team and we have the same goal. May we live in harmony with one another as we seek to represent Jesus well in each of our lives. May we work hard to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving as Christ has forgiven us. Surely, I cannot be the only Christian you know. If I am, you’re missing out on some amazing folks and I’d love to introduce you to them. Watch what happens when we work together as the Body of Christ and may God get all the glory.
Unity Yet Diversity in the Body
For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink. 14 Indeed, the body is not one part but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted. 19 And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. 23 And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, 24 which our respectable parts do not need. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, 25 so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. 26 So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, leading, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all do miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31