1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
How Paul lived His life, after Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascas, definitely reflected Jesus! Continually preaching the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus, He suffered greatly: “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-27
Most of us will never come close to imitating Christ through suffering as Paul did. and most will not have his oratory abilities, but have you ever thought of how your life can be a powerful witness to Christ in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your home, or even your church? Have you ever watched other people and how they live their lives?
A most beautiful example of an effective witness for Christ came when Terry and I were attending a small church in Salem, Oregon. One day a new couple began attending regularly, and what we learned was amazing! They had watched the lives and lifestyle of some of our friends, members of our church, for...note this...ten years! Yes, ten years! This couple finally came went to our friends and asked them what made them so different from others. Their reply--Jesus.
Yes, people watch our actions, and the way we live can make all the difference to others! Imagine, a family gaining eternal life because of the faithful witness of Christian neighbors. Many times it’s our life’s actions and not our words that deeply affect those around us.
We love as Jesus did and are His imitators when we are faithful to His commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.“ Matthew 22:37-39 As you offer help to others in need, maybe mowing a lawn or bringing a meal during sickness, providing a listening ear when someone is troubled, praying with those who are hurting, visiting those who are homebound, or simply living as Christ would have you in your family—all these things and so many more demonstrate Jesus to those who are watching.
Let us never forget that how we live our lives does makes a difference. May God bless you as you live yours for Jesus, and may you make your life a sermon to reach others for Christ.
“I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye is a better pupil, more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear,
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see a good put in action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you will let me see it done;
I can watch your hand in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles, and a strong man stands behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many; men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noted is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."
-- Edgar A. Guest
1 Peter 2:21 “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered[a] for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.”
1 John 2:6 “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did."
1 Peter 2:21 “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”
James 1:22-25 “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
PRAYER: Father God, Jesus’ life was a sermon—He acted on every word He said and lived in total servanthood, giving His life for mankind’s salvation. I ask You to fill me each day with Your Holy Spirit so that I may imitate Jesus, being faithful to you and placing love for others above what I feel are my own needs. Please help me make my life a sermon so that others may see You in action, receive you as Savior, and glorify Your name forever. Amen.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.