If you stood a Christian and a non-Christian side by side, it might be impossible to tell at a quick glance who was who. Both wear pleasant smiles, perform kind deeds, and work diligently. You might find both serving in soup kitchens, rehab centers, homeless shelters, and orphanages. Believers and non-believers become doctors, teachers, business leaders, lawyers, and soldiers. If both groups can exhibit such respectable character, what makes being a Christian so special?
The answer might be found in what I learned from fifth grade boys. More times than I can remember, I found myself in the hallway at school with a boy or two who couldn’t keep their curse words to themselves. Even some of my “best” boys, when squeezed hard enough, allowed those words to squirt out in frustration and anger. (Girls were usually more likely to spew hurtful words rather than cursing.) More times than not, those nasty words turned into swinging fists that blackened the reputations of the ones involved. So, here’s what I learned: If you want to know what’s inside someone, just give them a squeeze.
We all begin the same – filled with sin. None of us can be right with God unless our sin bill is paid. If we choose to pay our own bill, we struggle through life looking for something to combat the sin all around us. Eventually, life always squeezes hard, and we have nothing powerful enough inside with which to fight. We live our whole life striving for peace and never finding it. In the end, God sadly lets us pay our own way. We miss experiencing the incredible, everlasting life He has waiting for those who choose a different way.
Jesus offers that different way because He loves us so much. He has done His part in taking care of our sin bill. All of our past and present debts can be paid in full. The grace of Jesus can even continue to cover our future sins. All we have to do is repent of our unbelief and believe that He is who He says He is, that He can do what He says He can do, and that He can do it for us! We surrender our weakness, gain His strength, and become new creations. Then, we will not only enjoy the blessing of heaven one day, but we also have the Holy Spirit living inside us, empowering us to enjoy the life we’re living now. That’s a remarkable trade!
Maybe this is all old news to you. But, it never hurts to be reminded of why being a Christian is so special. Besides, remembering how incredibly far God’s love, the grace of Jesus, and the friendship with the Holy Spirit has brought us should reignite our passion to become peacemakers. As peacemakers, we happily serve as examples of how finding peace with God enables us to experience inexpressible and unexplainable joy. “Blessed are the peacemakers …” (Matthew 5:9a)
When life squeezes us hard, we may find ourselves “pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NLT) Peace in the face of trouble and hard times is something the world doesn’t understand, but wishes it could find.
God truly blesses the peacemakers, and Jesus calls them “… the children of God!” (Matthew 5:9b) When Father God wraps us up in His love and gives us HIS gentle squeeze, the Spirit oozes out His peace onto our chaotic world.
If today finds you not feeling as peaceful as you want to be, “tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7b-8, NLT)
If you want to know what’s inside a child of God, watch for the squeeze.