Tuesday, January 6, 2009
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We were adding onto our little house, and we were getting some help from good old Chuck. He's been a part of adding to our house; actually, he did most of the work. He's a wonderful Christian brother. He's a skilled builder and handyman. He's like an everyday genius - which I am not. Now the days were pretty long and we'd been leaving the house earlier than Chuck got there and returning home after dark. So, I didn't get to see him much. But every day that front porch was noticeably farther along than it was when we left that morning. I actually did get to talk to Chuck on the phone one day, and I told him that, in a way, he reminded me of the Lord. I don't actually see him, but I see the difference he's made!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Living Proof."
As the song says, "People need the Lord." That's people you're around all the time. But they can't physically see Him, of course, to realize how real, how loving, and how powerful He is. God's plan for introducing Himself to them is that, much like our friend's building work, they see the difference God makes in you.
In 1 Peter 2:12, our word for today from the Word of God, Peter says, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they may accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God..." Here are people who may even be hostile toward you and toward your Lord. But they see such impressive living proof of the Jesus-difference in your everyday life - in your "good deeds" - that they end up glorifying God!
Jesus made this same point in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). There it is again. They can't see your Lord, but they can see your good deeds that are there because of His life in you. And that living proof can turn them to Him. Especially in a world that's more skeptical than ever of religious pitches, religious systems, or religious pitchmen.
Notice, God doesn't say they'll be impressed with your arguments or your persuasive words. It will be your persuasive life. The random acts of kindness, the words of encouragement, your temper under control, the cleaned up mouth, the way you treat and talk about your mate, or your children, or your parents, your unselfishness, or the way you just put others ahead of yourself. One clarification: You can't just show them the Jesus-difference. You do have to tell them Who is making the difference! They're not going to guess that Jesus is the difference unless you tell them! The business of taking people to heaven with you is actually, well like first grade - show and tell.
That's why Peter says, right before his statement about them seeing your good deeds, that you are "belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His wonderful light." They need to see it, but then you need to tell them. They'll never guess Jesus died on the cross for them unless you tell them.
Our friend is a carpenter that I may not actually see, but I can see each day the difference he makes. You belong to a carpenter named Jesus, and whether or not the people around you will ever know Him may depend on whether or not they can see the difference that Jesus is making in you!