Friday, April 10, 2009

Representing Jesus

In case you're wondering why the sides of our car look banged up, they're not. I took the picture with the car in our relatively dark garage, resulting in a high-dynamic-range situation. The ripples on the edges are the result of my lack of patience to do a good job, trying to fix it up, and now I'm too sick of working on it, to try to do better. LOL!

I had started this post a couple months ago, right around the time that the Lord also inspired my friend Jim to write a post about literally wearing your faith on your sleeve. We joked about him stealing my thunder, and then I got too busy to finish the post.

Anyway, I really got into wearing Jesus shirts in 2004, when we got some printed with "JesusIsWonderful.com" (this blog's previous incarnation was a bonafide website). Since then, we have amassed quite a variety (as showcased above), including license place frames, bumper stickers, and window clings.

So why do we do it? Just to show off? I'm a firm believer that you need to live the Christian life 24/7 (not because that's what you have to do, but because that's what you are), but what percentage of the people we encounter ever spend enough time around us to observe us living our faith? You can spot the gothic, head-banger teens, from the other end of Walmart, because of their appearance, so why not let yourself be more easily spotted as a "Jesus freak"?

But there is a flip-side, and it has nothing to do with being harassed for it (at least not in the United States... not yet, anyway). It draws extra attention to you, causing any of your un-Christian behavior to reflect poorly upon Jesus, the Bible, and your fellow Christians.

If nothing else, my shirt helps to remind me that, wherever I go, I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ and His perfect plan of salvation. Peter urges us to, "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).

But I often forget that I'm wearing a Jesus shirt (which I think is an excellent demonstration of my unbelievable, unparalleled, and unequaled humility). I would be in a store, and a total stranger would walk by and say, "Me too!" I'd look a little puzzled, until I would look down and see that I was wearing my "I love Jesus" shirt!

Any way that we can witness is great. And the more of us that do it the better, because it will help keep God visible in the public square, where our society and government are systematically eradicating Him. How ironic that while laws are being passed, that condone and even encourage immoral actions, the freedom of religious public expression is being lost.

8 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Greg, back in the 1970s after I became a Christian, we had a "Jesus Fish" on our car. My wife and I took a vacation through Tennessee that year and we were getting a lot of beeps and waves from other drivers, which threw me at first, until I realized it was other Christians acknowleging us. (We were in the Bible Belt afterall.)

You are right about the flip-side. I have always taken more notice when I've seen someone with the fish or any other Christian display on their car doing anything wrong.

Maybe I'll look for some Christian T-shirts for the summer.

By the way, I added a comment to your comment on my Blog concerning the domain issue. Thanks for your encouragement.

Larry E.

satire and theology said...

'I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ and His perfect plan of salvation. Peter urges us to, "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).'

Greg, that is a key verse for ministry. I pray for continued blessings in your ministry.

Russ:)

Tamela's Place said...

Hey Greg,

You have made some very good points here!

Christ is risen! Happy Easter!

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Greg,

"It draws extra attention to you, causing any of your un-Christian behavior to reflect poorly upon Jesus, the Bible, and your fellow Christians."

Personally, this is my aversion to "advertising" my faith in clothing, cars, etc. I have no problem with the people who do...I think it can be a "conversation starter" with an unbeliever and even a source of encouragement to a fellow believer who may be feeling discouraged but then drawing comfort from a fellow believer as he "wears" his faith, so-to-speak. (Although, as an aside, I'm not sure how I feel about the "marketing" of Christian paraphernalia--it seems so...I don't know..."commercial"?)

Anyway, my hesitation is that I just don't want to have the sin that still resides in my flesh rear its ugly head at a time that causes me to be a stumbling block for an unbeliever without having an opportunity to interact with him/her. Know what I mean? If I'm wearing a Jesus shirt in public and I succumb to the "flesh", how many people will witness it that I won't have the chance to explain the nature of indwelling sin and the grace of God in Christ that has covered that sin in His blood?

I never want to feel that I'm somehow "hiding" my faith; but then again, unless I have the opportunity to explain the Gospel to those who may witness me sinning while I'm wearing my Christian T-shirt, then I think I may have done more harm than good.

I agree that the people we are around a lot (work, friends, clubs, etc) should be able to "see" our faith as we live our lives (warts and all) and those people that we simply "encounter" in life (as we shop, go to the park/theater/concert, meet in a traffic accident :-) will not have spent enough time with us to know that we are Christians; but personally I just can't bring myself to "advertise" Jesus on my shirt, car or whatever because I'm all too aware of how much sanctifying work the Spirit has left to do in me.

Maybe I'm living in fear? I don't know. I just don't want to take the chance of making Christ even more of a stumbling block to a "passer-by" by my potentially offensive behavior.

"While I'm a firm believer that you need to live the Christian life 24/7 (not because that's what you have to do, but because that's what you are)..."

I really like your statement here. And your analogy with the "Goth" and "Headbangers" is a good one. But, then again, we may be able to see a "gothic" teenager by what they are wearing, but do we really know who they are until we at least strike up a conversation with them? Even people who wear Christian clothing and have a fish on their car aren't necessarily Christians. And that's why poor behavior is so amplified to the unbeliever when our actions don't reflect our true nature as Christians.

As you can tell from this rambling post, I'm fairly conflicted about this subject (as I similarly am with Farrah's latest post on Christian activism and politics).

Oh well, I guess ramblings comments are part of what "blogging" is about...right? :-)

At least it gets us to think about things and interact with others who may have a different perspective on the matter.

I'm tired (as if you couldn't already tell). Mrs. Moogly has already gone to bed. I think I'll join her--big day tomorrow!! :-)

Happy Resurrection Day Greg and Farrah!

GGM

Nitewrit said...

Greg anf Farrah,

Have a joyful Easter.

Christ is risen,

Larry

satire and theology said...

Hi Greg and Farrah.

Jeff shared via email and in my satire and theology comments and later on his blog that someone tried to break into his place but stopped short. Anyway, we discuss it in comments and I have prayed for him.

Russ:)

preacherman said...

Wonderful post and blog.
I enjoy reading and will continue as often as possible. Keep up the great work and hope you have a great week! :-)

Dusty Chris said...

It's hard to hide when 'Jesus' is written on your shirt. Sometimes that forces us to come out of our spiritual closet to witness to others.