He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. —I Timothy 3:7

            How am I looked at by those who do not know our Lord Jesus Christ? Do I have a good reputation among them? Does my life I live line up with our Lord that I profess and do the lost see that? Are they positively impacted by who and whose I am?

            We will surely come into conflict with the lost when we are sharing the gospel.   But even when we share the gospel do we come across abrasive or loving? Don’t get me wrong. Many will be “rubbed the wrong way” when we share the gospel with them. But that is because of the gospel and what it stands for.   The gospel communicated will offend people, but the way we live our lives should not! The devil would love to snare us or trap us by something in our lives that would give occasion for the lost to accuse us to ruin our reputation and bring reproach on His Name.

            Years ago, when I worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, a couple of well known television evangelists’ hidden sinful lifestyles became known. I walked into my work area on Monday morning and a couple of unsaved guys said to me, “Hey Ted, what do you think about those two guys?” I responded to these two machinists, “Are there any bad machinists among you or are all machinists good?” They responded, “No, not all machinists are good machinists. There are some bad ones.” Then I said to them, “Just because there are bad machinists doesn’t make you a bad machinist does it?” They said, “No.” They got the point.

            When those who profess to know Jesus blow it badly then it not only affects how the lost look at that person, but then they will generalize and put all those who profess Jesus into the same category. This is one of Satan’s schemes. But let us live such faithful lives for our Lord that we would be above reproach among those who do not know Him. This is a huge part of our lives and who we are in Jesus. Beware “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in your faith” (I Peter 5:8-9) —“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7). Let us “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (I Peter 2:12). Yes, Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus. May I honor Your Name and shine for You for Your glory. So be it!

            By the way, since I left the shipyard so many years ago I have heard that those two machinists called on the Lord to save them. May it be so!

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