Are You Smoking What You’re Selling?

Beth Marshall

Do you ever wonder if someone is really a Christ follower when their actions are sometimes mean-spirited, confusing, or even abrasive?

Like it or not, when you profess to follow Jesus, people are watching to see if your actions line up with what you say you believe. Are you “smoking what you’re selling?”

3 Red Flags Our Words and Actions Don’t Line Up With Jesus

1. The Backhanded Disclaimer

We hear it all the time. “I’m not racist, but...” then someone will launch into a sweeping generalization about a person’s race or culture. When a statement begins with this disclaimer, chances are some secret biases are about to be exposed. 

My grandmom, Nana had a not-so-subtle way of generalizing about certain ethnic groups, with a spin that could almost sound complimentary: “‘Those people’ are all so smart.”
“I’m not racist, but...” statements cause people who don’t know Christ to wonder if our lives are really any different from the rest of the world.

I wonder what God was thinking when He came up with creative shades, shapes, and styles of people. And then, after designing His glorious creations, He “does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Which do you see: appearance or the heart? 

2. The Prayer Support White Lie

We’ll promise, “I’ll pray for you,” then within moments forget about their need. I’ve done it, more than once.

During my six-year career as NewSpring's care coordinator, I probably received more prayer requests than in the rest of my life combined. The heartbreaking moment for me was when someone would thank me for praying for their _______ (mother, job, cocker spaniel, marriage, you name it) and I’d realize their prayer request had slipped my mind. Have you ever done that?

I finally found a solution to my slackness: pray on the spot. When someone asks for prayer, do it immediately: “Lord Jesus, my friend’s heart is broken. Please meet her exactly where she is, and bring Your healing and peace. Amen.” It’s that simple. On the spot prayer is a most excellent antidote for prayer dementia.

Jesus inspired people to think through things for themselves and defuse potentially volatile situations.

3. The Political Megaphone

With the presidential election around the corner, Christ followers have a rare opportunity. We can either be a brash political megaphone, or we can actually listen to someone’s opinion, even though it’s miles away from ours.

Jesus was quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry—and we’re invited to do the same (James 1:19). I love the way He would often answer a question with a question (Mark 2:1-12). In His gentle way, He inspired people to think through things for themselves and defuse potentially volatile situations. I want to be more like that.   

You’re a leader—even if you don’t feel like it—because you can influence others with the way you follow Jesus.

What is one step you can take toward “smoking what you’re selling?”

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