Four of us were enjoying an informal time of fellowship when the topic came up of how we identify with Christ around others. One of the men pulled out his cell phone and showed how it had an icon of Christ as his background photo. Ron said he had also had a picture representing Christ on his phone. He pulled it out to show us, but all we could see was icons of missed calls that blocked the picture underneath.
Acts 21:21—But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk in our customs.
The Apostle Paul gave a report to James and the elders of the church in Jerusalem. He related in detail all he had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. When he finished the elders glorified God and then shared with Paul of the thousands of Jews who had become believers. That report was followed by concern that these new Jewish converts were also zealous to keep the law. They were hearing reports that Paul was teaching Jews who lived among Gentiles to abandon obeying Moses or walking according to Jewish customs. This report was harmful to Paul’s reputation. So the elders finished by instructing Paul what to do to dispel the incorrect perception.
Is it possible we think we are modeling Jesus to people but in fact the picture we present is distorted by things misread in our lives? People wrongfully assumed Paul was telling Jews to disregard the law. Perhaps they overheard a discussion and misinterpreted it. Perhaps they didn’t like Paul’s style and were just looking for a chance to slander him. It doesn’t take much to trip people up. It is pretty easy for confusion to envelop clarity.
Just as the elders saw the problem and gave Paul a clear solution, so occasionally we ought to ask people to whom we are accountable to give us feedback on how we are doing in sharing Jesus. Am I engaged in something that is keeping others from focusing on Christ? Are others troubled by a perception of which I am unaware? Tell me! It’s easy if it’s my phone—I just click on the icons and they go away revealing the background photo. It’s not quite so simple for life—all the more reason to be responsive. By the way, when Paul obeyed the elders advice, Jews from Asia who despised him, assumed he brought Greeks into the Temple area. They wrongfully accused him in and created a riot. Don’t be discouraged if you suffer setbacks trying to do what is right. Jesus was crucified as our perfect Savior.
You can’t make disciples without accountability.--Bill Hull in The Disciple Making Pastor
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)