March has arrived. For the month of March, I’ve asked 4 men that have had a godly influence in my life to be the guests on the blog. It was no easy task narrowing it down to 4. I’m blessed to interact with so many godly men. Without question, however, the most influential man in my life is my husband, Jared. Jared serves as one of the pastor’s at our church and I’ve had the honor of serving alongside him in ministry for more than 12 years. The thing I’ve always been most impressed with Jared is how authentic he is. What others witness from him outside our home is what we witness inside our home. He’s the real deal. He lives out the faith he professes. I’m excited for you to hear today from the love of my life, my partner in marriage and ministry, Jared Allen.
What’s the best vacation you have ever had? The concept of vacation is fairly new to me and Bobi Ann. We spent the first nine years of our marriage without taking any type of real getaway. This was partly because we didn’t have any money and partly because we had no clue what we were missing. But a few years ago we did it, we decided to splurge and have a real vacation. We booked a trip to a resort in Jamaica.
Let me just tell you, it was AMAZING! The crystal clear blue water, the white sandy beach, the island cuisine. And then there was the staff. We felt like royalty as they constantly asked what they could get for us and brought us whatever we wanted. It seemed like everyone working there had the most amazing attitude and loved what they were doing.
One day I found myself making conversation with the guy who was creating my made to order omelette (yum). I asked him what it was like to work at such a nice resort like this. He gave me the type of response I expected about how great it is to meet people from all over the world and work in such a beautiful setting. But then he surprised me by turning the question right back on me. He said “What’s like it like to be on the other side?” He clarified, “I’ve only worked at a resort, what’s it like to be the guest?”
I sat on the beach later that day and pondered the weight of his words. What’s it like to be on the other side? That’s a great question. That’s a great question for Christians to ask. Ask yourself this question right now…What’s It Like To Be On The Other Side Of Me? (it even rhymes, so it has to be good right?)
What’s it like to be on the other side of me? When it comes to how this world views what it means to be a Christian that has to be one of the most critical questions. What’s it like to be on the receiving end of my attitudes, my actions, my work ethic, my words?
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” This verse is telling me that I am literally representing to the world who Jesus Christ is. The Bible doesn’t say “we can be Christ’s ambassadors”, it says “we are Christ’s ambassadors.” I don’t have a choice in the matter. Part of accepting Christ as my Lord is accepting the responsibility of representing Him.
That’s a huge responsibility! This is why I need to constantly consider this question of “what’s it like to be on the other side of me?” I need to be always mindful of the fact that I’m not just leaving an impression on others of who Jared is, I’m leaving an impression on others of who Jesus is. It’s not just my church or devotional life, everything in my life contributes to this representation of Jesus. There’s not enough space in this post or time in your day for me to delve into all these areas. But can I share with you just one specific area God has laid on my heart about what it’s like to be on the other side of me.
One thing I never want people to experience on the other side of me is a negative or critical spirit. Know anyone like that? Do you enjoy being around them? Being around a constantly negative or critical person drains you. If you aren’t careful it will make you start thinking that way too. A person with a negative or critical spirit will point out every reason something cannot work and gives attention to the shortcoming of people around them.
Consider this…does a negative and critical spirit represent what Jesus was like? Far from it. Jesus was a positive and uplifting leader. He’s the one that said “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) Instead of criticizing and avoiding the worst sinners around him, he loved and sought them out. He’s the one who told me I should not worry or complain but rather to “take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28) And even when he acknowledged how tough life can be, He was positive. John 16:33 says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What’s it like to be on the other side of you? Be honest with yourself. One thing it needs to be is positive and encouraging. Because that’s what Jesus is like. Would the people around you say that you constantly build them up or tear them down? Would your family say that you point out the positives in them more than you point out all the problems? Do the lost around you see a person walking in the joy of the Lord or walking around complaining?
Question: What’s it like to be on the other side of you? What does it say about Jesus?