christ-in_-a-suit_By Bruce Strom

This week I received a humbling compliment. A friend of mine who leads a ministry was meeting with a donor we share in common.  Somehow my name came up and our mutual friend said, “Bruce Strom, that guy is Jesus in a suit as far as I’m concerned.”

Why do I share that?  First, my ministry friend.  Too often we live in a world of competition.  Somehow we feel like resources are limited and we must tear down someone else or not talk about our competition.  I do not mean to be political here, but we somehow feel like we have to be “Donald Trump in a suit” instead of “Jesus in a suit”.

It’s Christmas time.  Maybe you’ll watch the great classic “Miracle on 34th Street”.  I think it was great when Macy’s listened to their customer and helped meet their needs – even if that meant sending them to Gimbels.  Why are we not more interested in serving others than in serving ourselves?  That would be Jesus in a business suit.

My ministry friend doesn’t see us in competition but rather as co-laborers doing different work in the same company – the Kingdom of God.  I deeply appreciated his sharing the story to simply encourage me.  We should encourage one another.  Why do Christian ministries feel like they are in competition with others?  Seems to me we are all on the same team and should be encouraging and supporting one another.  That would be Jesus in a ministry suit.

At Christmas we celebrate Immanuel – God with us (Mt. 1:23).  That meaning is significant.  God set aside all his rights (Phi. 2:7) to wrap himself in human flesh.  Why?  To demonstrate His love for us (Jn. 3:16).  That is why one of the last things Jesus told his disciples was the new command to love one another as He loved us (Jn. 13:34).  The command to love was not new, but until we could see love embodied in Jesus we could not fully understand love.  Love compels acts of justice, mercy and compassion.  We follow Jesus and live as He lived.  That’s Jesus in a human suit.

In a world broken by sin.  A world full of mass shootings, terrorism and fear.  Into that world, Jesus speaks peace.  We should not fear as the world fears.  Perfect love cast out fear.  Let us be people marked by love and service toward others.  Will we walk in fear or will we walk in faith?  What suit do we put on each day?  As people listen to us or talk about us what are they saying?  Do they hear fear, judgment, hatred, anger or do they see a calm, peaceful, self-sacrificing, loving character?  That is not to diminish the complex challenges of our world today.  In fact the complexities of the problems is exactly why we need organizations like Gospel Justice Initiative who bring legal and Biblical expertise together in addressing these complexities.

As we represent Jesus in a suit while advocating and educating systemically, we encourage and equip more than 700 lawyers across the country to put on a Jesus suit and meet with neighbors in need.  From Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 11 states, 15 centers help free more than 20,000 people from crushing legal burdens.  Praying, putting together a plan and providing hope.  Several come to faith in Christ as they are freed from crushing fear and legal burdens.  That is Jesus in a law suit.

I don’t always reflect Jesus in a suit.  I wish I did.  But I want to.  I want to remember the gift God gave at Christmas in His son Jesus.  I want to wrap myself in that gift.  I want to share that gift with the world.  I hope you do to.  Every dollar you give and hour you donate makes a significant difference.

So let’s put our Jesus suits on, love as He loved, and

Go and Do Likewise.

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