“Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh, that is of the heart.” 2 Cor. 3:3

 

Something that I have never really been able to wrap my mind around is the idea of paparazzi. They trail celebrities, snapping pictures at a mind numbing rate. They invade privacy, interjecting themselves into even personal moments, just for the purpose of grabbing the next big picture. Many times, these photographers are depending on this picture to get money to pay rent or other things. The kicker in this entire situation is that we as a culture have become so invested in the lives of actors, musicians, athletes, and politicians, that we crave knowing every aspect of their lives. We infringe in ways that we would cray bloody murder on, if it were us in that same way. Magazines and other publications make waves with salacious details of lives that are not meant to be lived out for our display. Then again, I suppose that is the price of fame. Still though, I feel bad that paparazzi have earned and been given the name that they have. In truth, we all have paparazzi, especially if we choose to live out our public lives according to the will of Jesus Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul is talking to the church at Corinth about humility. In verse one he begins by asking if they were beginning to praise themselves again, while asking others to write letters of recommendation about them. Isn’t that a curious discussion? Why is it that we, and I wholeheartedly include myself, want to be recognized for what we do? Many times, it’s not even an expressed thing from our mouths, but more an inward yearning for attention. Perhaps we desire a prophet to give us a word from God for our lives. We pressure our Pastors and Teachers for guidance from the same voice who speaks to all of us indiscriminately. This is a quirk of human kind that I laugh at when I see it manifesting in myself. It’s real. We want to be noticed, when in the end, the only noticing that we need is from Christ. The only stamp of approval has already been given in blood when he died on the cross. And Paul goes on to say just that. In verse 2, he talks about how no letters are needed. But verse 3 is the kicker, because Paul basically says that the same letters of recommendation that they are looking to send are found in their own lives. THEY are the letters. Living epistles set before men.
Think about that. We are living epistles. So many times, we read the letters from Paul and the other apostles with a detached feeling. Little do we realize that every day of our lives, there is ink being written along the pages of our lives. So when we go out, people see us and see the words inscribed on our hearts. There is a saying that we may be the only God that some people see. In truth, we may also be the only Bible that some people ever read. And if we think that nobody is watching us, we are sadly mistaken. You can comb the internet and YouTube to find clips of people outing those who profess to be Christians. The paparazzi is out there watching us. They are snapping mental pictures, not looking to cash them in, but they are looking to see who this Christ is that we claim. Who are we showing the world? What do our lives say about God?

See, we aren’t just epistles, but we are also dictionaries, thesauri, and encyclopedias. We are living reference materials. We define what Christianity is. We define what the resurrection is. Before most people even set foot in a church, they see the pages of our lives and read. If they like what we have to say, they perhaps, without any words on our part, they might come to Christ one day. Inversely, if our pages are rife with public malfunctions in the name of God, then these are people who may never find Him.
And I don’t write these words as an indictment. I write them in love, because this is something that we need to be cognizant of. Our lives are not our own. The mark we wear as children of God is one that we must guard.
The world is our paparrazo. It watches and judges based on the pictures that they snap of us. Don’t be fooled. Don’t take it lightly.

Until next time, be blessed.

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