Ok, so not to sound super cliché, but Spring is in the air. We just got into March and I have been wearing shorts for weeks (Thanks Texas). As sweet as this old phrase is, with Spring comes some not so great things, like cleaning and ALLERGIES! I haven’t done my cleaning, but I have the allergies covered. I don’t know what blew in last week, but it hit me hard. I was sneezing and wheezing, coughing and complaining, and I even had a sad watery eye that just couldn’t handle this maelstrom of allergens invading my personal bubble. I was leaning toward miserable, and then somewhere between saline mist and inclined sleeping, it was gone. I was relieved from my incessant nose-blowing-marathon and watery-eye-parade. I may be over-dramatizing it, but it was not fun and nearly ruined some good quality time with some good quality friends.
My allergy fiasco this past week all ended yesterday, as I seemed to pass it off to my German friend, Valerie. For about a week, Valerie has witnessed my allergy struggles, and has been so kind and concerned for my health. Constantly making sure I was okay and even having compassion on me, as one of my eyes would randomly begin watering. Her kindness was appreciated, but then the worst ended up happening. As I got better, she caught the sickness. I don’t know if her allergies just kicked in or if I just gave her mine, but whatever it was she is now sniffly and red-nosed. She gave me an accusatory look this morning, as she ran for a tissue, knowing I gave her my sniffles. I joked that she was just trying to catch her running nose, but nobody thought I was very funny. (I still think it was a funny joke… running to catch her nose, that’s a classic, hah!)
I find it interesting how we can rub off on others, even when we aren’t trying. I never once made her drink after me, or shared silverware. I never coughed on her or sneezed on her food. I was just living life near her and inadvertently gave her my germs.
As I reflect on this idea of rubbing off on others, I had the thought –This is how we should also be with our faith. We should be so on fire for Christ that we set a few faith fires in the lives of our neighbors and friends, just by living life near them. The joy we get from our walk with Christ should be contagious. People should just be near us and catch a little bit of our joy-fluenza.
Paul explained how we should live our life as a believer in Ephesians 4:1-3:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Paul laid it out pretty simply, in order to live a life that meets the standards that God set, we need to be intentional about how we live. Paul ordered us to live like Jesus did. We are told to be gentle and humble, patient and loving, and then we need to make every effort to be united through keeping the peace. Some of this is definitely easier said than done, but don’t let this world steal your joy. Don’t allow people or circumstances to take away your calling.
By striving to be more like Jesus, we bring God some well-deserved glory. When we live everyday with intentional humility and gentleness, we draw people nearer to him. The problem is we sometimes take a couple steps back when we are tested by life (or bad officiating), because we lose our Jesus a little. Sometimes we take off our calling and put on our pride or judging eyes and take a sharp left toward selfishness. Don’t worry, we all do this. Especially me. We aren’t called to be perfect, but we are called to something higher than this world has to offer. We are called to strive to be more like Jesus and less like the world.
The problem with our pride and judgment, they also can rub off on other people. Not only can we swing people towards Jesus, but we can also push them in the other direction. Our temporary insanity, at a basketball game or at the grocery story when we pass judgment or spread gossip, pushes people away from Jesus. What we do and say matters.
Paul explained this in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Paul stressed that when we accept Christ and begin to follow Him as a believer, we are a new creation. We are no longer who we once were. There is new purpose with us, and our old self is gone. As I typed those words, I felt convicted because sometimes I don’t want to be at peace with everyone. I don’t always want to be gentle or humble or loving. Sometimes I want to poke the hornet’s nest or in one particular case, provoke the angry wildcat-fan during a basketball game. I intentionally said some things out loud to irritate the fans in front of me. This escalated into one fan turning to me and spouting out some not-so-nice comments, followed by a finishing statement of, “I ain’t afraid to go back to jail.” I have to admit, this particular incident escalated rather quickly, so I disengaged and laughed about it later.
I like to think that I wasn’t in the wrong, but I did say things to be heard and they were with intent. I intended to point out the words of the announcer saying that we should be kind and courteous to those around us, because for some terrible reason all fans are sitting on one side all mixed together. That shouldn’t be a thing, ever! The bad officiating already raises the tempers in the room, we don’t need to be sitting next to the opposition when it happens. Despite the fact that I know my words have power, I did incite that fan. We rub off on others, especially when we are not trying. At times, I just want to put on my old self and say what I think. Many times, I don’t want to hold my tongue, because my brain has whipped up a doozy of an insult. But then I am reminded of the fact that I am a new creation. I can no longer continue on as I once did. It’s so easy to fall back into my old self, but that doesn’t bring glory to God, only to myself.
May everything you do and say bring glory back to God. Let your Jesus rub off on other people. Let the words of your mouth and the actions you take everyday be something that draw people closer to God, rather than pushing them further away. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Share your faith. Honestly, I am so flustered by how fast this year has been going. We are hurtling toward summer with nothing to slow us down. Time seems to speed up, as I seem to slow down. But, even as we seem to be in warp speed, don’t let opportunities pass you by. Grab those opportunities and share your joy and faith.
Your gentleness, humility, and love will be a huge factor in the way you rub off on other people. Strive to bring people closer to God, by living a life worthy of the calling God has given you.
Let your faith be contagious. Go spread some Jesus!