|Photo added by Laurence...couldn't resist!|
I certainly hope so.
As Christians, we are called to be witnesses to Christ. This doesn't mean finding a soapbox and standing on it with a megaphone preaching hell-fire and damnation to anyone who can't walk away quickly enough. Now there are some people called to be evangelists (as distinct and separate to evangelism which all of us are called to engage in) but even they tend not to fit that cliché these days. The one thing we should all have in common is a life of witness. What do I mean by that? Well lets explore that through scripture:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:14-17 ESV)
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead (James 2:26 ESV)
James is the natural place to turn to when talking about lifestyle. The above passage is essentially a reminder of how to live a righteous life. James differentiates between an intellectual acceptance of the Gospel and an active living faith in it and in Jesus Christ. If you profess to have faith but are not living a lifestyle in accordance with that then your faith is dead (The RSV 2nd Ed translates the dead in 17 as 'barren' but in 26 as “dead”). So what James is saying is that we should be living out the Gospel in our daily lives, consistently and faithfully.
Not exactly news for anyone I know but perhaps more of a challenge than we think sometimes. Its easy to fall into habit and complacency (see the letters to the churches of Laodicea and Sardis in Revelation) but there is a good reason why we shouldn't:
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 ESV)
So what does this have to do with going to the fish shop on a Friday? Well its about identity and witness via lifestyle:
For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth (Deuteronomy 14:2)
In the old testament, under the Law, the Hebrew people were the chosen of God. They were to be a people 'set apart' for him (holy) and as such there were some instructions on how they were to live their lives to retain that distinctness that indicated they were God's people. The list included dietary restrictions, clothing and many others including not marrying outside the Jewish people. The Jews, therefore, were called to live a life of witness to the rest of the world that they were the chosen of God.
So how does this apply to us? Well we have been grafted into that vine. The salvation offered to the Jews also extends to us:
So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:34-35 ESV)
While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. (Acts 10:44-45 ESV)
So that it, we're in. To put this in context, especially of what that last line means to us:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8 ESV)
So what is my point? Well after all that scripture what I'm trying to say is that we have a responsibility. Not just as the church as a whole but as individuals. We have been grafted onto the true vine. We have been accepted into God's chosen people and we have been given the instructions to share the good news that allowed us to become acceptable to God once again. We have seen that, having received this message, we cannot just sit back and not do anything. We have seen that our faith should compel us to action (which may be prayer, fasting, active evangelism or simply living the best life we can in line with that message) and that if it doesn't we may need to look at where we are standing with the Lord. We have also seen that before the new covenant the chosen people lived in such a manner that they were 'set apart' and distinct to the pagans.
This is what we need to be. Not aloof but simply distinct. By our words & actions we should be identifiable as Christians. Our very lifestyle should be our act of witness to the Lord's message which has been given to us. The evangelism we are called to partake in should come naturally when people who see our lifestyle enquire about it, people who see the fruits of the spirit in us and know that they want the same in their lives.
So anything that gives us a chance to witness by our lifestyle I am all for. Even if it means forcing myself to eat fish and chips on Friday.
Its a hard life...
Posted by Cant Oves of http://caveevangelista.wordpress.com/