Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spies and Undercover Christians

By Lisa Karon Richardson

It will come as no surprise to regular readers, but as far back as I can remember I’ve had a thing for spies. From the Scarlet Pimpernel to 007, to me they are dashing men (and women) of mystery. Even as I write this an old episode of Mission Impossible is playing in the background. I know that such portrayals are highly romanticized and as far removed from reality as the fruitcake who thinks he’s Napoleon Bonaparte, but I can’t seem to help myself. My imagination has been captured.

Spies even have a role in the Bible. Rotten intelligence from ten spies kept Israel out of the promised land for a generation. When they finally made it, they got as far as Jericho and sent spies in to scope out the joint. The poor fellows nearly bought it when they were identified and had to take refuge in the house of a harlot. Of course, that story is a bit like a novel in that one of the spies fell in love with the woman who saved his life and after the battle they married and lived (apparently) happily ever after.
Enamored though I am, I think I’m tired of trying to be a spy. In the past I’ve spent a large part of my time observing the behavior of the people around me and reporting back to God.

It’s not that I denied my Christianity. People know. I just don’t talk about it much. I let it kind of stay under the table. But being an undercover Christian isn’t doing me, or the world, an iota of good.
I’m not advocating an aggressive, in-your-face brand of Christianity, but when acquaintances at work are going through a tough time, I want them to seek me out as a source of comfort. Maybe they ask for prayer. Better yet, maybe I offer to pray with them then and there.

I need to have more boldness in my salvation, not keep quiet when I see someone hurting. Not hesitate to offer hope, when I see someone floundering. Not freeze in the face of ridicule.
Have you been operating undercover lately? 

Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, LISA KARON RICHARDSON’S early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Vanishing Act, the second in the Charm and Deceit, series co-authored with Jennifer AlLee, is coming September 2013. She also has a novella coming out September, 2013 from Barbour entitled “Midnight Clear,” part of the Mistletoe Memories collection.


  1. well said, Lisa. I think I'm a spy as well and makes me think about what I might do as the next step.

  2. I thought I was, but people have asked me if I am a Christian because they've picked up something in my speech or attitude. I like that.

    But I took it one step further a few years ago when I met Julie Lessman, one of the Seekers in Seekerville. She said in one of her posts ... don't just tell someone you'll pray for them, do it right there.

    I took those words to heart and several times I've stood and prayed with complete strangers - out loud - because they needed it. In particular, a pregnant clerk mentioned worrying about her baby, and right there I asked if I could pray for her and her baby, and I did. When I finished, she was beaming and thanked me.

    I don't do it when there are hoards of people around, but when there's just a couple of us so as not to embarrass them. And my offer hasn't been turned down yet.

  3. Great reminder, Lisa.

    I think sometimes Christians are afraid to label themselves outright because they're afraid of being poor witnesses. But the truth is, if we are Christians, we are His witnesses whether we're in the mood to be or not. We have been blessed with something worth sharing! We should let it shine!

  4. Anita, that is great. I'm glad you are doing that. It makes your witness all the more real to those people too. Because you don;t just say you'll pray and then walk away and forget. You do it. That's fantastic.

  5. Susie, it's a little ironic isn't it that the ones worried about their witness probably don't have much cause to be?

  6. Deb, next steps? Hmm. How about doing like Anita, and offering to pray with the next person who is dealing with an issue?

  7. I think it's awesome that you pray with strangers, Anita. I don't know if I could. I have a difficult time praying outloud.

    I try not to be a spy Lisa, but I often fail. Great post, btw!


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