Living a Life of Influence

Living a Life of Influence. 

Matthew 5:13-20


“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

 

            What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?  This is a question we should always ask ourselves and strive to become.  When we think of being a disciple, we often equate it with going to church, reading our Bible regularly, and praying for guidance and direction.  However, publicly proclaiming our faith, we leave that to the Pastor.  In response to the challenge  to be a witness, we often quote the statement attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”  However, there are two things wrong with this quote.  However, there is no record that St Francis of Assisi made this statement.  Where the idea came from is a mystery of history.  Furthermore, his life and ministry description reveals that he was passionate about preaching the gospel and would frequently preach outdoors to people to share the gospel.

            A second statement people often make in response to the call to preach the gospel is, “I am a Christian, I pray and read my Bible, but I am just not vocal about it.  But I don’t preach it because everyone is entitled to their beliefs.”  And so we seem to take pride in not judging others by remaining, not calling people to turn from their faith.  

            The problem with these statements is that they contradict what Christ calls us to do.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ challenges his followers to be more than just “silent partners.”  Instead of keeping our faith silent, we are to be both visible and vocal in pointing people to Christ. In this passage, Christ warns against two things that can compromise and undermine our message so that we no longer impact the world around us.  First, instead of proclaiming Christ to the world, we can compromise and become entwined with the world.  Too often, we are more concerned about being “liked by the world” and fearful of offending people.”  The result is that instead of proclaiming the gospel, we confront the world, and we start to compromise and be like the world.  Like salt that becomes diluted and thus ineffective, so in compromising, we no longer have a powerful witness.

            The second danger is that we become withdrawn and hidden from the world.  We keep our faith personal and hidden.  He remains silent about the redemptive truth of the gospel.  We are hidden.  Christ reminds us that to be his disciple; we must be visible and public in our faith.  In our actions and words, we should leave no doubt in others that we are followers of Christ.  Our lives are to reveal the faith.  Our mission is to live in such a way that people see the presence of Christ in us.  Then we are to share with them the message of Christ (1 Peter 3:15).  When given the opportunity, then we are to proclaim the hope and message of the gospel. Our deeds alone will not save people, but it is only in the proclamation of the redemptive truth of God. Paul reminds us of the necessity of verbally communicating the gospel when he states, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).  Today, start asking God to give you both the opportunity to reveal the gospel in our actions and the opportunity to share the gospel in your words.  When that becomes the mark of our life, we live as Christ's disciples.

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