I stare with wonder into the faces of old family portraits.
What was life like in the 19th century? What challenges were they facing that was unique to their time? What joys were they experiencing?
I look into their eyes for a glimmer of truth. What are they trying to tell me? What are they trying to hide? Were their serious faces a reflection of a difficult life or were they suppressing their joy or contentment?
Images. In this digital age, we freely post and text images for the world to see.
Smiling portraits. We take pictures to remember events or the love of family.
There is always a story behind the images. Just like people-watching at a busy airport, there is a story behind every person and a story behind every picture. Like Sherlock Holmes, I look for clues in the simplest of things.
What is your story? What is your image?
A person’s life can be devoted to portraying an image to the world that we are happy, content, smart, and put together. We hide our fears behind smiling images that suppress the truth of what we know about ourselves. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we use images like fig leaves in an attempt to hide the truth from God. We are naked, afraid, and try to cover our sins behind false images.
What’s the solution?
An evangelist proclaims a message that many people do not want to hear, because the truth hurts. Our message exposes an image that many people are desperately trying to conceal. In a sense, an evangelist comes up to a person and says, “Look, I know what’s really behind your portrait. Behind your smiling face, there lies a person who is not put together. You are not at peace. You are not right before God and you need to be saved.”
Instead of beauty, our message is ugly. Because that is what sin is.
Instead of love, our message conveys hate, judgement, and intolerance.
People want to be right and conjure up an image of God that is benevolent, kind, and looks the other way.
God hates sin far more than we do. He knows the consequences of an unrepentant life that is fixated on presenting false images. Out of incomprehensible love, grace, and mercy, God wants to destroy that image and provide a new one.
That image is the cross.
It is on the cross that Jesus Christ was nailed – naked, bleeding, and beaten. He exposed sin for what it really is – death. And the only way to defeat death was to provide a perfect sacrifice – a perfect substitute so that we may conquer death and receive life. The cross represents the ugliness of sin, so that we may become what we were designed to be – a beautiful, perfect image of God.
Faith receives the image of Christ – and all His righteousness in place of our own.
For evangelists, we witness well by not being fooled by the images that people provide with their words or actions. People respond negatively to the message of the cross, because they are scared of losing that picture they are trying to portray to the world. Instead, evangelists look beyond the picture people try to portray and cling to the power of the gospel message and its importance.
I wonder what people will think when they see my picture a hundred years from now? What will my expression convey? I hope they will see a glimmer of truth that Christ resides in me and I am at peace.
It is a privilege for Praise and Proclaim Ministries to lead outreach campaigns and train Christians on how to go door-to-door and share the gospel. This spring and summer we are providing a message on how people can find freedom in Christ. We share with them the following message, “The love of Christ wants you to know that you can find freedom from guilt, fear, or a broken past. Jesus says, ‘Know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Freedom is found in the forgiveness of your sins – by what He has already done for you.” To learn more about our approach and methodology in sharing the gospel, please visit www.praiseandproclaim.com/methodology.