A Jewish lady answered a knock at her door. The young man asked her if she wanted her house painted. It needed painting, so she took his card. She noticed a fish symbol on the card and asked him what it meant. “It means I’m a Christian painter,” he said.
In my opinion, calling yourself a “Christian” anything presents two problems. First, no one has ever explained to me what a Christian is in Biblical terms. Any definition fails to capture what Jesus taught us about following Him.
And second, using “Christian” to describe a “painter” does not help me learn anything about the person holding the brush and ladder. Does a “Christian painter” paint differently from a “Catholic painter” or a “Muslim painter” or, “atheist painter”? The woman wanted her house painted. All she cared about was whether or not the guy could paint.
Too many times I think folks use “Christian” to describe their business to persuade their customers they’re more honest or ethical than “non-Christian” businesses. That somehow their “Christian business” ethics or integrity or quality of work is superior to their competitors who don’t flash a “Christian” label in their front window or on their business cards.
Too often we hear stories of bad experiences some consumers have with “Christian” businesses who flash their fish symbols then act just like the world in the market place. Those “Christian” business folks drive people away from The church and away from Jesus. One bad “Christian” business deal can destroy dozens of potential good business deals with authentic followers of Jesus who take Jesus to work every day.
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. Colossians 3:23
Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to flash a “Christian” label to attract more customers, or to describe one’s integrity or character. Authentic followers of Jesus don’t have to convince others of their faith. The way we love others is all we need to bear witness to our integrity and our character.
Editor’s Note: I can’t count the times I’ve wanted (needed) to hear from God and didn’t. I’m an impatient sort, so I feel uncomfortable when God says, “Wait.” My blogging friend, Kelly Baker, wrote an excellent post on her blog about three things we might consider when we need to hear from God. I wanted to share her insights and thoughts with all my readers. Be blessed.
By Kelly Baker
Blogging at KellyrBaker.com
Don’t we love it when God gives clear direction straight into our spirit? Generally speaking, He doesn’t always do that! One day I longed to hear from God. I worshipped.
Again, exasperating silence.
A Psalm of David. I pray to you, O LORD, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die. Psalm 28:1 NLT
This particular translation of this verse makes me chuckle. I’m sure there is a more productive solution than self-pity. But, what do we do when He says nothing? Why does He say, “Wait”?
We all desire to hear His voice clearly, and when we haven’t we wonder what are the possible reasons. It’s not easy to be at peace with His temporary silence, but we can be sure He has a purpose in it.
3 Actions While Waiting on God’s Answer
1. Spend time with God daily. Could it be that He wants to fill our hunger and thirst? He desires that we know Him more and more through His Word. When we study the Bible, we begin to know God’s character. I’ve thought of someone in the midst of a situation and said, “I already know what that person would say!” When we know someone well, we can easily hear that person’s voice playing in our head. When we regularly spend time with God, it becomes easier to “know” what He would say in those times when we feel He is silent. We can then more readily relate His Word to our circumstances.
2. Consent to character development. There may be times when we open our Bible while seeking Him for specific direction, and the Holy Spirit will illuminate the words we’re reading. Suddenly, there is an answer staring us in the face, maybe even from an entirely different angle. He might be telling us we need to make an adjustment. It might not have been the answer we thought we needed, but the one He knows we need. He often gives us what we don’t expect, but it’s still an answer. To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet (Proverbs 27:7b KJV).
3. Trust Him. God is getting every detail in place. Have you ever looked at the perfect way gears lock together and turn when they fit properly? When we wait for His timing we see Him properly align every specific, necessary facet. Sometimes we think we are stuck, but if we could take a step back and see His viewpoint we would see the big picture. We aren’t all clock makers. He is working on our big picture. He’s got it covered.
Through His seeming silence, God might be saying, “Come and know Me more,” or “An adjustment needs to be made.” At other times, He may be wanting us to let go of the stress and trust Him. He will fulfill His promises. Let’s not allow doubt to be a hindrance. A prayer of doubt will nullify a prayer of faith.
What are other reasons God may be silent, or say, “Wait”?
Do small towns or big cities provide a better place to live and raise a family?
We could discuss this question for decades and be no closer to an answer than we are when we discuss nature or nurture, or which came first: the chicken or the egg?
I can’t speak for those who grew up in sprawling, smog-covered, crime-filled, overcrowded, unfriendly, gang-infested, impersonal urban jungles, because I grew up in a quiet, peaceful small town in the heartland of America–Shenandoah, Iowa, population 5,546.