When Bev wanted to know how to do some new thing with her computer, she would ask me about it and then invariably would say, “Don’t just tell me, show me!” She wanted me to stand next to her and actually lead her through the process of learning to edit a picture or post on Facebook. Seeing the process was much more instructive to her than any detailed description. Only recently I discovered the wonder of learning from “YouTube.” Need to know how to do some small repair around the house? You can go to that site and find videos uploaded by others that will show you, step by step, the way to get the job done. Their instruction is enhanced by video that shows as well as tells!
Here is a question each one of needs to answer honestly –
Does my life show the Gospel?
Can people see the Spirit of God at work in me in my daily life?
One of Paul’s earliest places of preaching the message of Jesus was in the city of Thessalonica. Later, after he moved on, he wrote to the converts there, commending them not just for their words but for the way they lived. “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-8, NIV)
How did he know that they had really received the Good News of Jesus?
There was visible change – things done in faith, work that flowed from love, steady persistence through hard times that was inspired by hope.
Our relationship with God is founded in faith. We can never be ‘good enough’ – be that morally or religiously – to merit a place in the family of God. Christ completely finished the work that restores each of us to our place before God. He took ALL our sin on Himself. He FULLY satisfied the holy demands of a perfect God on our behalf. Scripture declares the good news of Jesus “is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-18, NIV) To make that even more clear we read this – “Saving is all His idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!” (Ephesians 2:8-9, The Message)
Let’s not make the mistake that true faith is somehow divorced from visible evidence. Genuine faith always produces real, lasting change in the way we live. Is it instant? Not generally. Becoming a mature Christian is a growth process, the work of the Spirit producing the fruit of moral and character change in us, our values and hopes transformed by Him. A growing Christian whose talk is matched by his walk is a beautiful thing to see. I love Paul’s metaphor, ‘treasure in jars of clay.’ When God is at work in us and others see genuine love, real selflessness, enduring hope, generous giving of our resources, and such things; knowing that we are just ordinary human beings, they must conclude that Christ Jesus is powerful and that we are being changed from the inside out.
Spend time with God and His family.
Take the Word to heart.
Quickly say “yes” to the Spirit.
And you will become living proof of the Gospel’s power.
Here is a word from the Word. Lord, give us grace to hear, courage to engage, and persistence in the work of transformation. “You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. … But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7,13-15, NLT)
Abba, I am thankful today that
You know me better than anyone and love me more than anyone.
I readily confess that I need You,
That my best intentions fall far short of fulfilling Your call.
Jesus, I receive Your love, trust in Your work for me,
That restores me to confident prayer before the Father.
When You work in me, when You are present,
Everything begins to change.
Keep me aware of You. Help me to listen.
Guide me, Spirit of God, to real change.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen