LIFELINES

Wearing your overcoat?

Bettie Marlowe
Posted 9/1/17

In watching detective stories on TV, I notice the officers and detectives almost always wear overcoats. Everyone else may be in sleeveless shirts, swimming, playing in the park or just outside …

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LIFELINES

Wearing your overcoat?

Posted

In watching detective stories on TV, I notice the officers and detectives almost always wear overcoats. Everyone else may be in sleeveless shirts, swimming, playing in the park or just outside enjoying the sunshine, but the police always have on coats — walking down the street, questioning someone in a gym or visiting a bar — always in an overcoat. Of course, Columbo has to. That’s his trademark and he has had “this coat for seven years,” he tells a nun. So is this their identity ... so we can tell who the good guys are?

It’s different when it comes to identifying a Christian. They don’t have badges, don’t carry physical signs, don’t continually announce their status — or wear an overcoat!

Maybe sometimes, a Christian can be recognized — by their demeanor, their countenance or signs of moderation. But, because a person “looks like a Christian,” doesn’t mean that’s what he is. A person can even be conservative and not even claim to be a Child of God.

Only God knows the heart of man. No one can know the depth of relationship you have with your Savior. Of course, what’s in the heart will show on the outside, but who goes down the street, checking out those he encounters? And we don’t intentionally try to have the appearance of a Christian, do we? What’s inside will come out naturally. The joy of the Lord will show. You won’t have to wear an “overcoat.”

The lifestyle or conduct of a Christian determines the effectiveness of his Christian witness. His way of life tells everything about what’s in his heart — his priorities, his goals, belief and faith.

A Christian lifestyle should reflect the life and teachings of Christ. Conduct, according to James 1, is recognized by its standard. Governing principles of a Christian’s lifestyle include: patience, wisdom, teachableness, purity and obedience.

These are the factors of being a witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

But that’s not all there is to it. A Christian is not supposed to be “a person who does no wrong, but is no earthly good.”

The fruit of the Spirit will naturally follow when one walks with Christ. You can’t just pretend “fruit of the Spirit” — it comes from a life submitted to Jesus Christ.

“Overcoat” not needed.

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