Do you want to build a snowman? This famous line in the Walt Disney movie Frozen is an endearing invitation by a sister seeking a relationship, yet it is rejected, time and again, year after year. And as seemingly unrelated as it might seem, Jesus is seeking a relationship with us. He speaks–not in an audible voice like Elsa’s sister, but through our hearts and minds as we become conscious of Him at various moments throughout of our lives–and invites us, not to build a snowman, but a LIFE with Him.
“…you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
“You will be My witnesses.” Jesus said this–but what does it mean? Many apply this to missionary work, or to door-to-door “witnessing”–to memorization of a sequential presentation of the Gospel message which is then repeated to anyone willing to listen. And while these activities certainly do fall under the umbrella of presenting Christ to others, witnessing at its heart is so much more.
Just as you cannot be a follower of Christ if you do not follow Christ, you cannot correctly reflect something–witness Someone–you do not really have.
Several weeks ago, my husband and son purchased a furnace filter with a whole-house deodorizer–a fragrant strip you stick onto the filter that wafts its scent through the heating ducts throughout the entire home. They failed to remember, however, that our older daughter suffers from severe migraines triggered by perfumes! The minute they tore open the packaging, the intense scent overpowered the air; even after wrapping it in two plastic bags and putting it in a cabinet, its scent escaped every time we opened the cabinet’s door.
It’s the same with us–this is what witnessing Christ is. Just as that perfumed strip emitted its scent, those who have Christ’s Spirit in them cannot fail but emit His fragrance:
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (II Corinthians 2:14)
Yet, we cannot diffuse the fragrance of something we do not have–and that gets to the heart of Jesus’ invitation of building a LIFE with Him.
The invitation to become a Christian is so radically different because it is not a call to accept a particular world religion, notwithstanding the popular misconceptions. Yes, many adherents of other faiths genuinely believe what is taught; some have even given their lives for it. And many try to do what is taught: they take pilgrimages, donate to charity. Yet, while false religions can win sincere converts, they cannot effect a basic change in the nature of mankind–only Christ can do that:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
Only the true God can take our heart of stone–our innate deadness of spirit, our resistance to and rebellion against God–and replace it with a living breathing spirit sensitive to the things of Christ–a heart of flesh. And once that–what the Bible calls the new birth–happens, we are no longer the same. Christianity is different because it effects a change in the very core of our being–our desires.
So what is Christianity? True Christianity involves is a genuine desire to see Christ’s kingdom here on earth–not Democrats in jail and Republicans in control, but a heartfelt plea of “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)–for people’s hearts to be changed so that they love what is good and desire what is right–so they live holy, righteous lives!
So, “Do you want to build a life with Me?” Jesus still asks. Conversion isn’t a a correct formula of words said, or walking down an aisle at a church. It is taking the hand Jesus holds out–understanding the basic truth that we are flawed and unable to please God, and becoming accepted because of Jesus when we reject wrong living and take His offer of forgiveness and leadership over our lives. Conversion is like the rustling of leaves in the wind–although you don’t see the wind itself, you see what it does!
And just as you can’t fail to see the moving leaves or smell the fragrance of a permeating scent, you can’t deny Christ’s Spirit in you as someone who is building their life with Christ, and fail to witness–to reflect–Him to those around you.
Help me through You diffuse the fragrance of Your knowledge in every place–help me build a life with You, and let every fibre of my being give witness to go You are! Amen.