Contradiction or complimentary conduct

Published 8:55 am Friday, August 18, 2017

In the summer of 1805, a number of Native American chiefs and warriors met at Buffalo Creek, N.Y., to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said: “Brother, you say that there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the Book? Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said.”
This is definitely a powerful story of how our conduct as Christians will contradict Christ or complement Christ, and in turn, cause individuals to desire or reject a relationship with Him. This Native American chief wanted to see the effects of the gospel upon the conduct of the white men before he decided to follow the teachings of Christ, and the chief was confused about why all the white people differed about the gospel when they were all reading the same book. I certainly do not blame this chief for wanting to see the proof of the gospel upon those who claim to have a relationship with Jesus. Nonbelievers today are looking for the same proof. We are being watched and heard every day. What do they watch? Like Chief Red Jacket, they watch to see if our behavior matches our belief; if our walk matches our talk; if our character matches our confession; if what we claim to believe on Sunday is put into practice on Monday. In a word, they watch to see if we have integrity.
The hallmark of the Christian life is integrity. Isn’t that what Chief Red Jacket wanted to see in the white people: if they were good, honest, and not given to cheating?
According to the dictionary, the definition of complement is something that fills up, completes, or makes perfect, and the definition of contradiction is to imply the opposite. Whether we want to admit it or not, many individuals who do not worship Jesus still know a lot about his life and his character. Here is a list of adjectives that were given by unbelievers to describe Christ: Loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, temperate, forgiving, humble, honest, dependable, gracious, content, generous, pure, holy, available, attentive, wise, compassionate, obedient, devoted, disciplined, harmless, loyal, respectful and submissive. This an impressive list of words to describe the nature of Jesus. Obviously, these individuals will compare and contrast this list of character traits of Jesus to the character of those who claim to be Christians. Our life will complement Christ or contradict Him. To be an ambassador for Jesus, we must live our lives like Him.
The Bible says in Philippians 1:27, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” The word conversation in this verse means our day to day life. Could our daily life be recorded in a book entitled by our name, and that book fit seamlessly into the Bible without contradicting what the other 66 books already declare? Would the Book of Brandon complement or contradict the other books of God’s Word? This is a certainly a question to ponder! I want to live my life so that others may see Christ within me, and I want the list of adjectives describing Christ I mentioned earlier in the article to describe my life and conduct as well. Christians filled with hatred, pride, arrogance, deception, and rebellion are definitely not following after the Lord Jesus. The civil unrest and hatred in our country at this time is disconcerting, especially when Christians are included in this violence and rhetoric. If we want individuals to see a need to begin a relationship with Jesus, they must definitely see a difference in their own life and those who claim to follow after Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:6 states, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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