Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 4 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Outreach Focus” (LISTEN HERE).
What difference does Jesus make…to you?
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I like Matthew 28:19-20 as the great commission. However, “making disciples” can be a daunting task and one that is hard to always define what that looks like. But I understand what a “witness” is. And, honestly, it’s pretty easy.
A witness simply tells about what they have seen or experienced. Nothing more. Nothing less.
A witness in a trial can’t testify to what someone else saw or experienced. Just what they saw and experienced.
But here’s the challenge. Have you stopped to think what you have seen and experienced with Jesus? What difference has Jesus had in your life? What has believing in Jesus and walking in his ways done for you?
God is working in your life so you have a story to tell others…HIS story as it has intersected with and affected your story.
So let me give you a few examples along the line of yesterday’s devotion of bringing God’s peace to a country and culture overcome by fear.
To someone worked up about the government and worried about one political party or another, I might share when given the opportunity, “I have my views (and may share some of them and why I hold them), but what allows me to sleep at night is that I know God is still in charge and in some way, even if I don’t always understand, allowing a blessing to come to his Church and his people. I know enough about history that nations rise and fall, but the Lord outlasts and supersedes all of them.
Ephesians 1:1 That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
To someone fearful of wars and rumors of war, I might share when given the opportunity, “I understand and share the same concern. I pray for our leaders making decisions and our military personnel to be kept safe and successful in their missions. However, I also find a lot of comfort knowing that with Jesus, I am safe forever. What gives me peace is ultimately the power of the Lord is greater than a power of a military.”
Psalm 46:8-11 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
To one facing the end of their life and sharing fears and regrets, when given an opportunity, I may say, “I know it’s kind of scary to face the end of life and I will probably have a bit of anxiety too. What gives me comfort is knowing my faith is in one who came alive after being dead and many people saw him alive.”
John 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
These are just three examples, perhaps over simplified. The point is to think through the impact Jesus has in your heart and life. What promises do you hang on to? What realities have you experienced? When you take time to care, to listen and engage another person, eventually you earn the right to be heard. And when given that opportunity, take the opportunity to be a witness!
Apply: Take time to write your story. What difference has God made in your life? What impact has being a Christian been? What realities of God have you lived and experienced? What truths of Scriptures or promises of the Lord are real, near and dear to your heart? What would it be like if you weren’t a Christian? Thinking through what “you have seen and heard” will be given an opportunity to be shared…just wait!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for personally affecting my life and my heart. Give me hands to care for others, ears to listen to others, and a mouth to share with others the wonders of your love and grace. AMEN.