Every summer a handful of guys from church meet up for a weekend of camping with our kids. Dads and kids camping is an amazing weekend that we look forward to each year. We all get to enjoy the beauty of creation and the wonder of exploring the wild alongside great friends.
The reason I look forward to this weekend isn’t simply because of the great time the kids have, it's the conversations that I get to have with the other dads while our kids run wild and free; the conversations that sometimes take a little while to get to. You know, the topics that don’t always get brought up in the week-to-week interaction we get to have after church while eating snacks in the cafe, or while we are dropping off/picking up kids from Hope Wednesday/Student nights. The real conversations that get to the heart of what really matters.
This year, one of those conversations that popped up focused on the idea of what it means to follow Jesus. Practically speaking, what does it look like when someone follows Jesus? What does their life look like? How are they different from the people around them?
Now to be clear, this conversation was fueled by the recent sermon series where we discussed what it means to be a Christian in the workplace. Added to the mix were conversations that many of us had had with coworkers and friends. We were clear in reminding one another that following Jesus is not about changing our behavior in order to make God happy with us. Rather we are sinners whose sins have been forgiven and have received an inheritance in Heaven that we didn’t deserve. As such, we respond by living according to a different mindset in response to the gift we have received. So our lives should look different - this world is not our home. We live according to the standard our God has called us to.
To top it off, we know that we cannot do it on our own effort by following some rules. Our only hope is that by the power of the Holy Spirit we are transformed day by day into the image of His Son. We talked about the stark contrast that Paul lays out in Galatians Ch. 5 with the Fruit of the Spirit vs. the fruit of the flesh.
The conversation culminated with one of the best examples - the most simple demonstration of someone who is living out their faith day by day, an ordinary Christian who is learning to live by the spirit and demonstrates the fruit of the spirit in their life. In talking about working with coworkers and a supervisor on a recent project, my friend described the way he approached his job and his relationships with his coworkers. He shared this simple quote:
“You know what, (friends name), you just do things differently don’t you.”
When he shared this story, one of the other guys interjected and pointed out what an amazing testimony that is! As followers of Jesus, we do things differently. We don't have to try to compete the same way the rest of the world does. We just live by the spirit and seek to be obedient to what God is calling us to do. When we do things differently, it points people to our Savior, Jesus.