Moments of love are the highlight reels of our faith. They are the hours we spend showering compassion and grace on others. In these moments, we are the heart of Christ on earth. We are his face and His witness. As we show love, we easily find our identity in Him.
Through smiles or tears of empathy, we see a likeness to our Savior. But as the clock ticks by, we stumble over rocks in our path. Our smiles fade, and we lose sight of that likeness in our struggles. Our less than holy humanity rears its awkward and flawed head, and we fight to hide this from the world outside of our trials.
Yes, love is our calling. Loving the sin and shame out of others is our purpose and privilege. Still, love is only one part of our role as influencers, witnesses, and warriors for Christ.
Therefore one of the worst things we can do is limit our ministry to the moments where it’s easy to love and there’s plenty to give. How often do we feel overwhelmed? How many times do we use a “fine” or a “good” to bypass a discussion that might reveal our faults and fights? Why do we only use the best moments, the highlights of life, as moments of ministry?
Paul wrote a letter to the people of Colossae from a prison cell. He sat behind bars in a Roman prison and wrote letters filled with encouragement, letters that were saturated with hope and sincerity.
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
The keywords here are “for you”. We don’t run out of things to give on the rough days, we don’t have to smile to minister and can feel shattered and broken into a million pieces. All while serving the greatest influence for the body of Christ.
Therefore we aren’t just here to give love, we are here to show strength in moments that would destroy us. We are here to stand in the center of our prison cells, whatever they may be, and rejoice in the fact that, one day soon, God will break the chains and open the door.
The things that beat us up and hold us back are not meant to be hidden. The battles we face hone our skills and strengthen our hearts and spirits. The scars serve as rewards of survival.
The moments that we hope others won’t see are the moments others see themselves in us. The redemption we find and the eventual freedom from these prisons comes to show others what God is waiting to do in their lives. Faith in the face of terrible, stressful, and heartbreaking experiences sometimes gives others more encouragement than our perfect days ever could.
Remember, you don’t lose your identity as a loved and redeemed child of God on the bad days. You also don’t lose your identity as His heart and His voice. Let the world see the ugly parts of your life, let them see themselves in you. Let them see what God has done and is still doing in you and witness through the pain. Encourage even when your words are spoken through the bars of your own prison. Let every single moment of your life minister.
Featured image by Brooke Cagle