Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.
If that’s the case, the Bible offers a master class in turning those ripples into billows and whitecaps—the kind of waves people notice. In his Word, God instructs his people to live in such a way that we profoundly impact the lives of others.
In order to rise to that challenge, there are three things we need to understand.
1. Qualifications mean little.
The apostle Paul told his young protégé Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Timothy was quite capable of setting an example for others, even though he was young. Likewise, you are capable of setting a life-changing example for someone else, regardless of your
- Personal struggles;
- Family background;
- Level of formal Christian education;
- Ability to see yourself as a role model
2. Words mean even less.
A quote often mistakenly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi gets to the heart of the matter: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Words certainly have their place in a believer’s life. The right words, spoken at the right time, can change lives.
But those words must be accompanied by loving actions and concern. Jesus set the example. He was a man of actions and words. He involved himself in the lives of others. He demonstrated his love through compassionate interaction.
3. The glory goes to God.
In Acts 3, we read how Peter and John healed a beggar who had been disabled since birth. As word of the healing spread, people came running to Peter and John. Celebrity is a powerful draw. Peter saw something in the crowd’s eyes that made him uncomfortable: hero worship.
He nipped it in the bud before it could take root. “Fellow Israelites, why . . . do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12). He wanted to make sure God got the credit for his work. That same God-first spirit will serve you well as you impact the lives of others.
Which of these three things was most impactful for you to read?
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