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This week we are continuing our study into the characteristics God looks for when choosing people to reach the lost. You can find the last message in this series here, for a quick review.
God uses Christians who build others up
The first characteristic we’ll look at today is the ability to build others up. In John 13:3–5: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” Jesus was able to build up others because He knew who He was. And He knew who He was because He was living in His full potential.
Christians who aren’t sure of their identity in Jesus will severely damage their ability to reach the lost, mainly because you can’t share what you don’t have. Most times Insecure Christians eventually self-destruct. Because of their insecurities, they can’t share the victories they have because they want to keep it all to themselves. Also, they can’t share their defeats in the spiritual battles they face because of their paralyzing fear of criticism and embarrassment. I have seen this happen to those who once were closest to me.
In John 13 Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. How could He do this? Would you wash someone else’s feet? Jesus was able to do it because He knew who He was and He understood the law of empowerment. What could you do if you truly knew who you were? Do you know who you are? Do you understand the power that resides in you?
The Law of Empowerment teaches that there is a big difference between secure and insecure Christians. Secure Christians exhibit certain characteristics that make them unique in such a self-serving world:
- They focus on serving not on being served
- They focus on who they are, not on their own abilities.
- They focus on making others better knowing that they get better in the process.
- They add value to others.
- Most importantly though, they share their God given authority with others understanding that they are here to freely give what God has given them.
Insecure Christians, on the other hand, focus on the complete opposite:
- They focus on their title or position. Seeking to portray an image of success.
- They seek status for the sake of self importance.
- They gain value from others by taking what they can from those around them.
- If in a position of leadership, they tend to keep the authority to themselves in an attempt to bolster their own ego.
God Uses Christians Who Depend on the Holy Spirit
I remember many years ago, while praying one day, God revealed to me what I interpreted at the time as a leading to become a high school math teacher. To make a long story short it was simply the catalyst to me getting into full-time ministry. It was all because I pursued His voice and began taking steps, even though I thought He was leading me somewhere else.
Ephesians 5:18–20 says: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. “
Peter became one of the most courageous disciples and one of the strongest leaders in the New Testament. Before that though Peter first denied Jesus because he was fearful and lacked the moral courage to stand for the truth. What caused this radical change? Peter realized who he was and turned everything over to the Holy Spirirt.
The denying Peter was filled with self. Before Pentecost he was self-centered, selfish, self-sufficient. This caused inconsistency, instability, and denying Jesus. In Acts 2 Peter is filled with the Spirit of the resurrected Christ. In Acts 3 Peter and John serve the Lord in a spirit of unity. They develop a passion to reach a lost world becoming life-changers along the way. The Holy Spirit led them to share a common goal. They stopped competing with each other and stopped seeking recognition and honor.
They became Christ-Centered. In Acts 4:12 Peter continues to proclaim the name of Jesus, boldly declaring to the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” The Holy Spirit in our lives allows us to share Jesus.
Everyone who experiences the work of God will put Jesus first before everything else. They will seek to save the lost. They seek to show others a better life. Spirit-filled disciples share Jesus in 6 ways:
- Talk: He is the topic of their conversations. (Football- praise Jesus)
- Action: What you do is consistent with what you say.
- Attitude: They have a light that is undeniable
- Love: Unconditional love for everyone.
- Praise: They have the ability to praise God in difficult situations.
- Stewardship: They freely give their time, talents, money.
Christians who depend on the Holy Spirit are Christ-like. Acts 4:13 (NIV) says “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” They saw the attitudes and behaviors of Jesus in Peter and John Their lives’ become reflections of His life. Jesus is seen in ordinary people who surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit. What do people see when they look at your life?
God Uses Christians Who Live With Integrity
1 Corinthians 9:24–27 says “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
A heart of integrity is required for an effective Christian life. As a Christian who is trying to show others the savior, your life must be based on trust. No one is going to believe you if they cannot trust you. Living with integrity allows you to have influence where you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Learn to work harder on your integrity than on your image.
If you live the truth before trying to lead others, your life will become a light that shines through the darkness. Charm attracts people but only integrity will keep them. You can see this everyday in the latest boy-bands or other flash in the pan Hollywood stars.
Christians live by a higher standard than others. Integrity is difficult. If it was easy, everyone would live with it but they can’t. You, though, know the power of God so you have the power to rise above the rest. Unless you change you will be what you are becoming. Are you living with integrity? Really?
God Uses Christians With Character
The best Christian seeks to serve others. Make your goal to lead a life like Jesus led. If necessary be treated as Jesus was treated. If everyone approves of your lifestyle then you need to examine why a dark and evil world is embracing you. Some will follow your life as an example, others will throw stones at you.
The point is that living as a Christian is not about seeking a position but to serve Almighty God who loves everyone and doesn’t want to see anyone perish. It is not an easy life and most never reach that goal. Most people are far too concerned about being accepted and liked by a failing and dying world to ever stand up for what is right, no matter the cost. The ones who stand up under the pressure and seek to be like Jesus will hear the words of God, spoken in Matthew 25:21 that say ““His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
How is your character? How active is your Christian heart? What can you do now to strengthen your character?
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