On one of the Christian TV shows, I heard someone say that God has a 3-step plan for our lives. Here are those steps, with my inputs added…
God wants to:
- Get us out of the ‘world’: When you give your life over to Jesus, one of the first things he does is is, he takes you away from the world and its petty things. He sets you apart for a higher purpose in life. He makes you a new creation in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Get the ‘world’ out of us: In order that Christ can live through us – in order that God can fulfil His purpose for our lives – we need to take our mind off petty things. E.g. “Why was I served less coffee than him?” or “Let her wait outside some more, just like she made me wait yesterday.” God really is above such things and wants us too, to follow suit. If we want God’s Holy Spirit to fill us, we must drive out such negative attitudes from our lives in Jesus’ name. This will create space for the Spirit to reside in our hearts and preside over our lives with full power. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Also, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
- Get us back into the ‘world’: When we let go of our childish attitudes towards life and people, our child-like nature comes to the fore. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Mark 10:14,15) Once childlike, we are ready to take up challenging assignments for God’s Kingdom. God too is confident about our capabilities in Christ and sends us out with power to fulfil His plan for our lives. Strange, isn’t it? God trusts a child-like nature more than the nature of an ‘adult’ or a ‘grown-up’! All this does not mean that you cannot begin working for the Kingdom of God while you’re growing as a Christian. It only means that He has greater things in store for you in the days to come.
Today, let us create space for God to write something on our hearts and direct our steps for His glory! Amen.
Jesus Christ – Evangelist # 1, was evangelizing most of the time he spent in ministry. Either it was in the form of sermons and parables; or through healing, deliverance and miracles, followed by the learning from these. Here are 3 examples from Jesus’ life as an evangelist:
- Samaritan Woman: Jesus walked 25 miles (40 km) to win the Samaritan woman’s soul. She came to draw water from the well, but ended up receiving the water of life that made her soul well! Using a creative approach that was so characteristic of him, Jesus led her to a point where she would ask for the living water, and would find it in him. “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13)
- At Capernaum: When the people who ate Jesus’ “miracle loaves” were filled, they followed him to Capernaum. When they asked for a sign in order to believe in him as one sent by God the Father, Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32) Like with the Samaritan woman, Jesus’ creative approach led the people to ask him for this ‘bread’.
- On the Cross: “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke:23:43) The thief of the cross asking Jesus to ‘remember’ him, and Jesus’ assurance to him that he was saved through repentance and belief in him (Jesus); both these statements were made in front of all who were witness to the crucifixions. This was probably the best form of evangelism you could get to see. It was in action and not just speech. Despite his own pain, Jesus did not forget to spread the good news of salvation.
The thief on the cross did not have time to lead a Christian life as he died soon after. But you and i have this opportunity. In the next post, we will look at how God’s 3-point plan for our new life – in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the greatest evangelist the world has ever seen! That’s because he spread the Good News before the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost.
What’s this “Good News?” Read this post to find out.
So how could Jesus evangelize even before the Great Commission was given to the apostles? He could, because for one, he is God the Son. But more importantly, Jesus was, at all times, filled with the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit). And it’s the Holy Ghost who teaches us how to evangelize. And as a human being, he led us by example, praying and being filled with the Holy Spirit. Being God the Son, he could evangelize anyway; but by being filled with the Spirit, he set this beautiful example for us to follow. Mortal man (not Jesus), in his own capacity, cannot glorify God unless he is led by the Spirit of God to do so. [“no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3)] This verse has taught me that the first step to become a successful evangelist is to pray and be Spirit-filled.
In the next post, we will look at a few examples demonstrated by the Evangelist # 1 – Jesus Christ.
In the last post, we saw how Jesus, though himself in indescribable pain, cared about the well-being of others, including those who were not even related to him. His attitude teaches us a lesson or two for our personal and professional lives. In this post, we will just look at one example each for both aspects of our lives.
Parents are the best examples of how to live for others the way Jesus did. I did not realise this until: a) I became Papa; and b) I recognised my Heavenly Father’s love for me expressed through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Now every night, when I sacrifice my sleep to put my son to sleep, I know Jesus did so much more for me and my son both. Or when only a sip of water is left in the bottle and we’re in the car, I let my son have it all…That quenches my heart’s thirst. These are some simple ways I relate to Jesus’ sacrifice. O how the Blood of Jesus meets the need of my spirit to be cleansed in order to be more ‘Christ-like’! Who else could be so selfless? None, but Jesus Christ.
When I was a team coach in a call centre, I had one girl in my team who was on the verge of fainting. I left my workstation and got some biscuits for her and made an electrolyte solution for her. I gave her the prescribed tablet and covered her with a blanket in the ‘relax room’. When our team leader was away, I had my coffee at my desk rather than in the cafeteria, so I could be around when my team needed me. Yet, in my appraisal a team member said that I was never found at my desk when help was required. Another member said I was always at my desk and never moved around to offer help!
I know that I sacrificed in order to make someone’s job easier. What I got in return was brickbats. But then Jesus said, “‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20) This key verse has motivated me to never stop doing the right thing even when situations and people are not in my favour.
The key is to abide in God’s Word – the Bible; because job situations will keep changing, personal problems too may show a new face every time, “Heaven and earth will pass away…” but God’s Word shall not pass away! (Matthew 24:35) It is forever settled in Heaven. (Ps. 119: 89)
Get your portion of God’s Word. Purchase a Bible from Christianbook.com
Can you imagine yourself on your deathbed, writhing in pain from wounds all over? Now imagine having to teach a few lessons from that place! Yet Jesus Christ did just that, from his deathbed – the Cross.
Jesus did not live one moment for himself. He lived every moment for his Father in Heaven – to do His will; and he lived for you and me – to show us the way of salvation – himself. Let’s look at his first 3 statements on the cross:
- “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34): Even in that state of physical agony, Jesus prayed for those who crucified him and got him crucified. “Them” also means us, because whenever we sin, we offend God first and others only next.
- “Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:27): John was Jesus’ cousin. Jesus was not concerned about his pain or death but about the well-being of the woman who gave him birth. That led him to give John the responsibility of caring for his mother after his death and ascension.
- “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43): Again, it was for the thief on the cross who repented, that Jesus reserved his third statement. Jesus looked at Paradise rather than the grave. And he had the thief’s salvation in mind than his deliverance from pain.
When Jesus began his ministry on Earth, he meant business. These 3 statements on the Cross were the climax of his work not only as the only Saviour of mankind, but also as evangelist # 1. In a later post, we shall look at Jesus the Evangelist. Stay tuned!
P.S.: They say love is sacrifice. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for you and me. He is love embodied. To learn more about the gift he wants to give you, read this post.
“Prayer is the force that moves the Hand that rules the world.”
I heard this statement for the first time from the mouth of one of my Christian friends Bro. Ronnie Dsouza, a pastor. It has taken deep roots in me.
In one of our Sunday services, our pastor made a very important point. Allow me to present it in the form of a super-short dialogue…
“I can’t do anything else for you but I can at least pray for you.”
“No! That is the greatest thing you can do for me.”
In a later post, I may go deep into this, based on my learning of what prayer is and what prayerlessness is. Our best teacher, of course, is the Word of God itself – the Bible. Visit Christianbook.com to buy a copy