Influence–Are You Using it Well?

I often wonder if we who are blessed to have been transformed by God’s grace and given new life in Him are truly aware of and sensitive to the opportunities He brings into our lives to be an influence for His glory and honor.

When we think of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) and the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross, does it move us to go and share the gospel and disciple others? To be honest, I am afraid the answer for many believers is not so much.

Taking the time to build relationships and invest in the lives of others is a challenge based on the very full lives many of us are leading.  One of our values at North Central Church is “Outwardness—we value connecting with and caring for people who are not yet part of a faith family over an inward focus.” I believe it is an important value reinforced in the words of Jesus in Luke 19:10, “for the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”

We see so many examples of Jesus reaching out and ministering to those who did not yet know him as Lord. Are you looking for opportunities to share the gospel with others in an intentional and consistent manner?

Recently I was part of a class where we were sharing testimonies of how we all came to faith in Jesus. I was blessed by seeing the way God helped people come to an understanding of their sinful nature and how they desperately needed God’s grace to save them.  I am so thankful for how God used Phil Mastroleo to share the gospel with me and how the Holy Spirit helped me to realize my need for Jesus.

As I have listened to testimonies, I am thankful that God did not give up on us and that people he used to tell us about Jesus and our need for forgiveness also did not give up. Is there someone you have been sharing Jesus with for a while without success? I would encourage you not to give up as you intercede for that person’s soul and eternal destiny.

A number of years ago many Christ followers were wearing “WWJD” bracelets to remind themselves to consistently ask the question “What would Jesus do?” I believe that is a powerful question that we need to consistently ask and reflect on. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Later in Philippians 4: 9 Paul writes, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

We can be so easily distracted today that we are not focused on all that we have learned, received, heard or seen in Christ. I would encourage you to get alone with God in prayer, praise and the study of his Word so that you are continually being reminded of his example. In the Life Application Study Bible it says as a follow-up to Phil. 4:9, “It’s not enough to hear the Word of God, or even to know it well. We must also put it into practice. How easy it is to read the Bible and not think about how to live differently. How easy it is to debate what a passage means and not to live out that meaning. Exposure to God’s Word is not enough. It must lead to obedience.”

Charles Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.” Jeff Vanderstelt in his book, Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life, says, “Everywhere you go, whatever you do, you are a missionary sent by Jesus to love like Jesus, overcome sin like Jesus, and see people’s lives changed by the power of the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.”

Andy Stanley in his book, The Grace of God says, “People were drawn to Jesus. People who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus. As his body, as his hands and feet, as his representatives on the planet, the same should be true of us.”

May we use opportunities God gives us to influence others for His glory and honor. May we have hearts that are soft to those around us who desperately need Jesus as their Lord and Savior. May we be ready to share the hope that is within us and pray that the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of those that we are investing in. I pray that God would give us wisdom, and that we would follow His example as we willingly sacrifice and love those He brings into our lives.

Here are some additional resources:

Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt

The Difference You Make: Changing Your World through the Impact of Your Influence by Pat Williams with Jim Denney

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp

 

AUTHORED BY RICH PARISI, ASSISTANT PASTOR & LEGACY, NORTH CENTRAL CHURCH

 

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