And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17 NLT
This is a very practical and all-inclusive statement. “Whatever you do or say” doesn’t leave out much. If we’re not doing, we’re saying; if we’re not saying, we’re doing something. About the only time I can think of when we are not doing or saying is when we’re asleep. That means the switch is on all the time. You and I are at all times representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not just when we’re doing something spiritual. Not just when we are teaching a Bible study or a Sunday school class, or singing in a worship band, or talking to someone about Jesus, but all the time — everything we do and say.
As a “professional Christian” — one who makes a living as a minister of the gospel — it is easy for me to fall into segmenting my life to when I am “on” spiritually and when I am “off.” On stage or on the Internet in front of a camera, I am conscious about depending on the Lord for what I am saying and doing. I’m “on” in that I am drawing on the Spirit’s power for everything. It’s what gave me the courage to get up there in the first place. I know the Lord has given me certain gifts and I rely on those gifts when I get up in front of any audience.
My wife and I have been talking about this a lot lately because she is acutely aware of the difference in me when I am “on” and when I am “off” because she has to live with me all the time. For me this is all about being engaged. When I am “on” I’m engaged with the Lord, with my gift, with who I’m talking to — what their needs are, what will connect with them, etc. But when I’m “off” I become disengaged. In some cases I might as well not even be in the room. Somewhere along the line I got the idea that I have a right to be “off.” Like I have to somehow save myself for the next time I’m “on.” This is ridiculous because I don’t rely on my own energy when I’m “on” anyway, but on His. I think this is all about being selfish and lazy. Like the guy who comes home from work and he’s tired, overworked and thinks he has a right to not be worth much of anything to anyone in the house.
This verse hit me hard between the eyes and I’m grateful for it because it basically tells me that there is no “off” switch. It doesn’t exist. If I am a representative of the Lord Jesus in everything that I do and say, there is clearly no time off there. No time when I am not a representative of the Lord Jesus, and when does a representative of the Lord Jesus get to be selfish or lazy?
So my new goal is to be engaged with the Lord, my gifts, my creativity and those around me as much as I am when on stage. There should be no difference.
There is simply no “off” switch for the Christian. We are always and at all times operating as “a representative of the Lord Jesus.” How are you doing today? How are you doing right now?
Fantastic article John! Thank you so very much!
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
To answer this honestly: ” How are you doing today? How are you doing right now? Ashamed of myself, see had another phone marketer call me and lied in telling me they noticed I was checking out their weight loss program on-line. I said we both know that’s not true and hung up. He called back three times telling me it’s true and would to disgust this weight lost product with me.
Again I hung – up! And again he called back 3 more time! So finally I listen to his spill & and said no thx and please put my number on the do not call list, which I should have done the first time and not let it get me upset…
I would differ with your supposition, John, that: “when we are not doing or saying is when we’re asleep.”
Our presence and involvement with others earlier in the day can still remain active in the minds of those we’ve interacted with, and those memories might accompany them to bed.
Depending on how we conducted ourselves in either word or deed, we just might be the source of blessing or consternation that determines how restful the other persons night will be.
So, we’re still “on” even when we’re “off”.
Jesus slept – and was often interrupted – but He was never “off”.
Jesus was never “not doing or saying”.
And neither are any of us.
We may or may not be saying or doing anything that would be considered commendable or otherwise but the echo of our words and actions – the “butterfly effect” – continues on.
Because we may not be conscientiously or physically engaged with others during our restful hours doesn’t mean we’ve shut down for that period. And, we need to be mindful of such things whenever we are interacting with anyone during the day (or night for you graveyard workers!)… especially, if we have longstanding relationships with them whether as professional associates, clients, family-members, friends, neighbors, and/or everyone else!
How we interact with each other the next day may depend on what we each thought about prior to sleeping the previous night.
Our echo’s remain intact long after we’ve gone on to other things.
In my nightly prayers before bed, I recall the events of the day and realize that I could have done much better in pretty much everything I did or said.
I sometimes wonder what others remember about me as they themselves are going to sleep and, sometimes, am saddened by my behavior, my echo.
I discuss it with God and then am encouraged with the reminder that God was and is – even through sleep – with me every step (and snore) of the way.
If amends need to be made, then amends will be made.
I’ll then recite Psalm 16:7-11 followed by the Shema for a night of calming encouragement and rest-filled peace.
Psalm 16:7-11 –
I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
We are never “off”.
Like to add an Amen to your post brother bob…
OK. You got me!
John, thank you for encouraging us to remember that we are always representing Christ. I have found that trying always to be “on”ultimately backfires, because I need the Lord’s power to do His work. I also need to have down time, time when I can regroup, not have to be”performing” for God, but just being myself,
There’s no way to do this other than to totally depend on Him.