Over the course of our last few meetings together, we have been talking about how to fight the war we are on Earth to fight. We’ve been talking about how our lives need to be completely Christ-centered, how we only have one King (God), the fact that willingly serving God means that we actively take action (instead of just sitting and waiting), and how the best way for us to fight against this power called sin is to do well in God’s sight (or give Him our best).
Just as Jesus lived His life to stand out, we are to live our lives so that we stand out. There is an obvious problem when the people of God do not look different than a world who denies God. We must recognize that Jesus is not only our Savior, but a perfect role model and our King. When we live a life worthy of God’s calling, people around us will notice because we are different, not because we simply look different or put on a different mask.
There is this crazy story, in John chapter 6, where Jesus feeds a multitude of people, at least 5,000, with only five loaves of bread and two fish! After He performs this great miracle, Jesus withdraws from the crowd of people and the people begin to search for Him. When they find Him, Jesus begins to teach them about true, eternal satisfaction: a satisfaction greater than that found physically.
There will be people we don’t even realize are watching and listening. When they see Jesus Christ through us, they might choose to seek Jesus out. This is one of the reasons it is so important that we live according to the relationship we have in Jesus Christ, 24/7/365. We never know what kind of influence God has through us without us even knowing.
On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but that His disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberius came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Dot not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal.” Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
– John 6:22-34 ESV
Here is my question, “What will you do with the influence that has been given to you?” The people around Jesus saw the way that He lived. Because of Jesus’ lifestyle those people chose to look for Him and seek Him out. When they found Him, Jesus began to teach them. None of our wisdom or knowledge counts for anything unless we share it with those who are willing to listen. Just as Jesus shared what He knew concerning the faith, we are to use the influence that God gives each of us to share what we know concerning the faith. If we live according to the relationship we have in Jesus Christ, we should be ready to share Christ with others when the opportunity presents itself.
When we finally choose to take this mission seriously, we are suddenly more than just good, religious people. God actually uses us to change lives connected to our own in a drastic and positive way: forever.
Jesus looked at the crowd and said, “You are seeking me not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate and had your fill.” Jesus did not use the influence that He had to perform, as to somehow gain the adoration of the people following Him. Instead, He used it to serve the people around Him. Just like Jesus, we must come to a place where we view our personal ministry as a service, not a performance. People may like us when we perform well, but true friendship is gained through service, and we also gain an influence when we choose to genuinely serve the people around us.
“Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
(vv. 28-29 ESV)
Because God is our King, we represent Him to a world that does not know Him. We must be very careful, within the influence that we have been given, not to represent our King wrongly. The work that God desires from us is this: to believe in Jesus Christ. Not only to believe that He existed or that He was a good teacher, but to place all of our stock in Him. This is the message we proclaim with the influence God chooses to give us.
So they said to Him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
(vv. 30-34 ESV)
The people asked Jesus, once again, for a miraculous sign. My guess is that they had forgotten that Jesus just fed at least 5000 people. Jesus does not give the people another sign, but tells them again how they can be eternally satisfied. At first they are interested, but as the chapter closes out, we see a vast majority of these people deserting Jesus.
In our encounters, we may not have the opportunity to lead someone to Christ everyday. In fact, we may see more people in our lives turning away from God rather than running to Him. To be honest, that is just the reality we live in. We are here, on Earth, to proclaim the message of Christ anytime we have the chance to do so. That message is clear. God created humanity to have a relationship with Him. When mankind chose to live apart from God, mankind chose to live apart from perfection. That is why the world we live in today is so messed up. Since man cannot cleanse himself from the un-cleanliness he chose, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life and pay the price to make us clean again. Now, by proclaiming with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believing in our hearts that God really did raise Him from the dead, we can be clean again and have the relationship with God that God created us to have.
So, we do not know who may notice our lifestyle. We do not know who overhears the conversation we are having or who notices what language we do and do not use. We have an influence on the people around us just by living for Christ. It is time for God’s people to use that influence to advance God’s kingdom to an even greater degree on the earth! Will you fight for your King?