Oh, Brother…

I was lucky enough to get to grow up with brothers and sisters. One thing I can say about having siblings, we don’t always agree with each other. Whether you are brothers in Christ, brothers in arms, or just brothers, if you spend enough time together you will probably get into it at one point or another. In Galatians 2, Paul and Peter bump heads over how Peter is acting towards the Gentiles. I had to read this chapter a couple times to really get the gist of what’s going on. Basically Paul confronts Peter because he would sit and eat with the Gentiles until certain people were around, but when those certain people came around he would withdraw and separate himself from them. It even got the point where others were starting to follow what he was doing. Galatians 2:13 NKJV, “And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.” So Paul, being the awesome guy he is, calls Peter out. “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” Galatians 2:14 NKJV. Peter got caught up in what others thought of him. His reputation started to matter more than the word of God. We, as Christians, don’t have the luxury of “what others think”. The bible doesn’t say to spread the Good News only to certain people of high standing in society, we have to spread the word of God to everyone, regardless of their reputation. Jesus Christ didn’t care one bit about peoples reputation, or His own for that matter. He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, liars, and thieves. In Mark 2:17 Jesus says, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Jesus cared for the hopeless sinners of the world, and so should we. The drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes, cheats, liars, and thieves should be our target audience, not “the righteous”. We have to stop taking the easy road. Jesus sure didn’t. We Christians have to start getting our hands dirty, we have to really get out there and start spreading the word. Paul called Peter out because he was starting to drift away from his true purpose and cared more for himself than doing God’s will. I hope and pray that if I ever started to drift, someone would have the guts to call me out just like Paul did. Once we give our lives to God we have a purpose, a duty, to do God’s will. Salvation is only the first step. This life is not our own, Jesus paid the ultimate price for us. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NKJV. Being a “Christian” means we have to strive to be “Christ-like”, we have to try our best to put our own desires to the side and see the world how He did. It’s not always easy, I struggle with it all the time. We have all seen the “WWJD” bracelets but how many of us actually live by that? Lately I have been trying to imagine what Jesus would do in certain situations. How would He act? What would He say? To me, one of the most important things we as Christians can do to help spread the gospel isn’t actually spreading the gospel, it’s living it. Others will see the change God has made in our lives without us even having to tell them. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t tell people about the grace of God, all I’m trying to say is actions speak louder than words. Just like in Galatians 2, Peters actions were contagious. Because he was acting a certain way, others started to follow his example. Jesus is the only example we should be trying to follow. As you go about your daily routines, at home, at work, or where ever you happen to be, I hope you keep that little bracelet in the back of your head. WWJD. Well, what WOULD Jesus do?

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