I just read a very thought-provoking devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries and it has really challenged me this morning by asking the question:
"How would others know you are a Christian if you couldn't say a word?"
As I have spent some time meditating on this and examining my own heart, I've thought of a few ways I could better model Christ without using a word:
1. I can demonstrate KINDNESS by simply smiling at every single person I meet. Think about that. Can you imagine how nice it would be if everyone YOU encountered throughout your day actually SMILED at you? And wouldn't you be inclined to "pass it on"? I think this is a good start!
"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart." ~Proverbs 15:30 (NIV)
2. I can demonstrate FORGIVENESS and choose not to hold grudges. If I am honest, I recognize (and appreciate!) the fact that God has forgiven ME of so much...how could I NOT pass that same mercy and grace on to others? This is a huge way we can model Christ to the watching world. I fully believe that if we claim to be Christian, those around us are watching our responses to those who hurt us to see if our walk matches our talk.
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." ~Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
3. I can demonstrate PATIENCE. OK, it blows my mind to think of how many opportunities I have each day to honor God in this area of my life: while in line at the grocery store, when my kids want my attention and I am tired, when my husband has had a bad day, when the driver next to me is rude, etc. Yikes! LOTS of opportunities!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness" ~Galatians 5:22
4. I can SERVE OTHERS. If I can do this with no desire for--or expectation of--receiving anything in return, then I am truly modeling Christ. And I believe what is key here is remembering who I am in Christ. If I am confident of my worth to Him/in Him, then focusing on the needs of others OVER my own needs is much easier. I won't need to worry about what others should do for ME.
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." ~1 Peter 4:10
5. I can CHOOSE "BEST" over "good" or even "better". I am given 24 hours in each day and there are certainly LOTS of choices to be made in each hour. I believe I can best model Christ by choosing what is BEST for me over things that may actually be considered "good". These choices would include--but are certainly not limited to--what I watch on TV, what books I read, what websites I visit, what music I listen to, what kinds of influences I allow in my childrens' lives, what foods I eat, and so on.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God." ~1 Corinthians 10:31
What about you? What could you add to this list? Read the devotion (linked above) and after prayerful consideration, make your own list. How can you best model Christ to others without saying a word?