Paul says that we are "living letters" that others read. Greg makes a suggestion for a way to apply wisdom when engaging others.
Long ago I heard an insight someone offered about being a Christian that I have never forgotten. Here it is: You may be the only “living Bible” some people ever read.
No single phrase I can think of captures as artfully what it means for you to be an ambassador for Christ. To the majority of non-Christians in your life, you are their link to the only truth that can impart eternal life.
You are like the Corinthians who Paul referred to as “our letter…known and read by all men…cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor. 3:2-3).
Your life is a letter. Your life is read by all men. Your life is written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.
Further, you are our letter, cared for by us, all of us at Stand to Reason who work hard on your behalf. That is why I write you regularly with affection in my heart, “exhorting and encouraging and imploring…you as a father would his own children” (1 Thess. 2:11).
So as a kind of spiritual father, I am always looking for new ways to help you shine for those who only know about Christ through you. I know yours is a weighty responsibility, but I have some ideas that might help.
One of the unique things we provide at STR is insight on practical ways you can be a better “letter,” simple things you can keep in mind to be more attractive as an ambassador.
Consider, for example, the element of wisdom, one of the three defining characteristics (along with knowledge and character) of an effective representative of Christ. Wisdom is an artful method—a skillful, tactical, fair, and diplomatic use of knowledge. What are some simple ways you can improve in the area of wisdom?
First, follow the Master. Though Paul is known for using the word “ambassador” to describe God’s representatives (2 Cor. 5:20), Jesus was the one who modeled it best. Who can forget exchanges such as these:
- “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But He detected their trickery and said to them, “Show Me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:22-25)
- “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the people, for they all regard John as a prophet.” And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” (Matt. 21:25-27)
- But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” But He said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:15, 17-18)
- Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give him shall never thirst, but the water I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water.” (John 4:13-15)
Reflecting on Jesus’ deft way of engaging, maneuvering, and managing His interactions with others—especially those hostile to His ideas—is always a great way to improve your own skills.
Second, I’ve found that using tactics like Columbo, Steamroller, Suicide, or Taking the Roof Off can really make things easier, but keeping track of the details of how they work can be hard. So having a written summary of the specifics can really be helpful to help you maneuver with grace and confidence in conversations.
Remember, you already are Christ’s ambassador, a “living letter” given to others telling of God’s message of hope for them. With Jesus as your example, you can be a better “Living Bible” to all those who God brings into your life.