Stephanie Edge is our guest blogger today. What a challenge she gives each of us as leaders of women. Stephanie Edge is the Director of Women’s Ministry, Poplar Heights Baptist Church, Jackson, TN and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She is an Associate Professor at Union University in Jackson, TN. Stephanie graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. She also received an Advanced Women’s Ministry Certificate as well as completed a Th.M. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Christian Education. She has a passion for God’s Word and enjoys ministering to women.
Her words were both stunning and sobering. “If I had a need, I’d rather call my non-Christian friends than my Christian friends.” I was taken back by her comments and began to wonder, “Could this be a true reflection of Christianity in today’s society?” She went on to say, “Church people are so judgmental.”
Was she right? You see, my friend is a typical thirty-something young professional that interacts with both Christians and non-Christians daily in the workplace. Her views are probable expressions of a larger sentiment among other young adults.
With my leadership hat on, I began to problem solve as to what could and should be done about this bad press that was likely more pervasive than expected. As I lamented, my friend reasoned with me, “There is nothing you can do. You are only one person.” Her words motivated me even more to search for a solution. Yes, I am just one person. But, I am also a Women’s Ministry leader in a local church.
My response was to:
(1) Conduct a mini self-evaluation.
· Am I one of these so-called Christians who is likely not to respond or help in time of need?
· Am I one of these judgmental Christians?
· How strongly do I reflect the image and character of Christ?
· Do I need to repent and seek God’s forgiveness? (1 John 1:9)
· What does the Bible have to say concerning the lack of distinctiveness of Christians among common culture?
Several scriptures apply to my friend’s assessment.
Luke 10:25-37, The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Jesus was discussing the Great Commandment (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 10:27) with one steeped in knowledge of the law who was seeking eternal life. To which, the seeker asked, “Who is my neighbor?" (10:29) Jesus proceeded to tell him a parable. In the story, sadly, both a priest and a Levite passed by the man in need. It was the Samaritan who responded and treated him neighborly. How often am I, the religious one, which deliberately chooses to pass by?
James 2:14-26, A Brother or Sister In Need
“If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. (15-17)
In both passages, Christians are called to respond to the needs of others. We are called to be different – to be conformed unto His image and transformed. (Ephesians 1:4-6, 10)
Romans 12:1-2, Be Transformed
“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Matthew 5:13-16, You are Salt and Light
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled on by men. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Christians are to be change agents in today’s culture and should stand out in order to draw others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
· Ponder this question: How can I teach and encourage the women in my sphere of influence to be different from today’s culture? As a believer, I am accountable to God for my own behavior and attitudes. I must personally seek to become like Christ and to follow Him. As a leader, I am an example to other women and must model Christlike behavior. I must educate others concerning culture and teach the principles found in Scripture. I should continually encourage women in their walk with Christ as they endeavor to affect their families, communities, and workplace.
My friend, you are called to be different! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can be salt and light in a secular culture partnering with Christ to transform the world. Will you dare to make a difference?