During my service in the military, I was not living the life of a Christian and made some terrible choices. While in the Navy, I was out on liberty one evening when we were in Turkey. A couple of friends and I were “enjoying” the town’s establishments and needless to say I made an absolute fool of myself while representing the United States of America as a sailor. The next morning I was summoned to the Master at Arms’ office. For those who do not know, the Master at Arms is over law enforcement for the ship…this was not good. In that meeting he called me something that I will never forget, “An Ugly Sailor.” It was the changing point of my service regarding drinking alcohol. He explained to me how we were there representing the people of the United States and asked me what kind of representative I thought I was. His question was rhetorical, of course.
I have thought about that term many times over the past 20 years. In our service to the Lord of lords, what kind of representative are we? What kind have we been? Would we be called “An Ugly Christian?” We represent someone much bigger than we are and a place greater than where we live. If all of heaven were to be called upon as to their opinion of us, what would their testimony be? Better yet, what would their criteria be? How would they judge us concerning our representation?
I have a sneaking suspicion their criteria would not be what many think. I do believe, however that the following could be concluded to be involved:
– Manners. Acts 13:18, “And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.” 1 Cor. 15:33, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
In Acts, the word manners means, “one’s habits,” and in Corinthians it means, “moral habits.” Habits, I believe are just as much a part of our Christian witness as anything else. We hear men tell us how God wants all of us, yet very little is taught upon such a topic of the Bible. As a matter of fact, many who refuse to teach such, have some of the most repulsive habits.
– Music. In 2 Chronicles 5, one of the most powerful worship services in all of Bible history took place. In doing a personal experiment, I have proven, for a fact, that music plays a huge part in the Christian’s life. Music is able to aid or it is able to hinder. The means of music is to reach the soul and this is true of any song…love songs, rock songs, worship songs and etc. Music is used in the battles we face everyday. The music we listen will draw us closer to our spouse or separate us…draw us closer to God or separate us. Music has an enormous amount of power. Instruments are focused on by some, but the instruments are not the issue, but rather the one playing the instrument.
– Morals. The definition is, “conduct; behavior; course of life.” The word is not found in the Bible, however the teaching is. The word conversation is found multiple times in the Bible. Paul uses the word and it means, “behavior.” Peter uses it in 1 Peter 1:15 when he writes of being holy in all manner of “conversation.” our behavior is being critiqued daily, not only what we do, but also what we do not do, as well as how we respond to situations.
I believe these three things would be considered in the criteria of how heaven would examine us today, as to what kind of representative we are in the church. It is a wonderful responsibility to be called, “Christian,” but how many claim such a title, only to mar it with their lack of exercise regarding the teachings of Christ? How many look upon another and judge them without regard to truth or integrity? How many claim to have received the Savior, yet reject His principle teachings of grace, mercy and forgiveness? It’s the most difficult thing in the world for a person to deny their flesh and we all have our areas of weakness. As we have opportunity though, we must seek to do so, so that we may carry the title Christian honestly and with the character of Christ. It seems many succeed at being a Christian until it’s time to actually be one…this, my friend, would be what we call, “An Ugly Christian.”
Until He comes again…