I woke up this morning with a scripture on my mind given to me in a dream by God and went to look it up. I have come alongside someone in their journey and wanted to encourage them so I sat down and opened up my bible to see what it was about. As I read I couldn’t help but ask how does this apply to me and most importantly to this person. I do that often when given a scripture or word from the Lord. Sometimes it is to correct an attitude or belief in me, sometimes it is for an appointed time and I am to share it or study it. I love how God works and speaks to me. I love that He loves me so much He won’t quit; doesn’t give up on me, until I am more and more like Him.
I think as humans that is where often times we fail. We give up too soon or quit just when we are about to finish. Why? sometimes things are hard right before a finish, sometimes they are surrounded by confusion, or met with a lot of resistance. Sometimes it is a coffin of our own beliefs or negativity that causes us to stumble and fall back. That is why I think as believers we are to come alongside others. Lift them up, speak into them when they are weak, and encourage them to continue when they want to give up.
2 Corinthians 2:15 NLT says “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”. We can either be a pleasant fragrance of Christ or we can be a total stink bomb to those around us. So much so that we actually drive people away from the life saving hope of Jesus.
Have you ever met someone and thought, man I hope I don’t have to spend too much time with them – or – met someone and thought, I really like being around this person? I know I have. I have had those encounters with people who have left me emotionally drained for days. It seems as if negativity oozes from every fiber of their being; as if they delight in seeing just how “ugly” they can be. They are always looking for someone to pick a fight with or get upset at; always looking for that one person to whom they can pour out their offense, because most anything offends them. There are those in that same category that are not necessarily on that level of ugly and yet leave you with a bad feeling in your spirit because they are constantly retelling their illnesses. They are mostly sick, mostly broke, mostly down on themselves. They can sure wear a Jesus girl out quick if you’re not deep in the word, and even then it is hard to lift this group of people up. But that is exactly what He has called us to do. Lift them up. Help them turn towards the one who can save. The one who can change their circumstance.
Brennan Manning author of The Ragamuffin Gospel says “In every encounter we either give life or we drain it. There are no neutral exchanges.” This is true. Think about it. Every time we come in contact with someone it is generally dictated by how we are feeling at that very moment in our day. It is driven by our attitude, beliefs, background, thoughts, level of experience and so on and so forth. We either give life (edify, uplift, exhort) or we drain it (tear down, create drama, weaken) each other. Let the magnitude of that sink in for a bit… It is our response to any given encounter that could bring a person to salvation or push someone so far way they won’t ever enter the kingdom of God.
Personally, I want to be the one who gives life. I want my life to shine so brilliantly with the light of Jesus that anyone even close to me knows without asking whom I follow. Who adores me and I Him. Sadly, that wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time I was the one who tore down. Cranky, mad at the world, I wore my offense on my sleeve like a pricey silk tourniquet. I ran into people daily whom I couldn’t stand just because they were alive and breathing. I lived like this not because I am a caustic person. I lived like this because I was hopelessly hurt and incredibly lost. Life had let me down, God seemed foreign and unreachable and I felt too broken and unloved to be His. I believed in God. Even thought I was a Christian but I was far from living like I had a life saving gift on the inside of me.
Then someone came along side of me. Told me about Jesus and how precious I was to Him. Taught me what it was like to truly be changed from the inside out. Stuck with me through all the “attacks of ugliness” and “poor pitiful me” attitudes that permeated my life at the time. Stuck with me while my anger (and pain) drained from my wounded heart. She stuck with me and continued to point me to the source of my healing. She stuck with me until I saw the lie the enemy had force-fed me and finally embraced the life changing Love given so freely by my Heavenly Father. This beautiful person taught me how to apply God’s word to any situation, how to study scripture and pray; But most importantly she taught me what 2 Corinthians 2:15 meant lived out in real-time.
Copyright © 2016 Melanie McKinley. All Rights Reserved.