In word and deed
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1Peter 4:10-11)
So how did you do last week? Did you spend any time telling anyone about Jesus or your testimony? Did you have any God conversations with anyone who wasn’t already a follower of Jesus? Well, don’t beat yourself up for not sharing your faith with a non-believer. It’s not an easy thing to do, especially if we do it in the flesh. What do I mean? Without the prompting from Holy Spirit, a clear word from the Lord for someone, it is very difficult to get people to a point of wanting to hear the gospel. I was on a walk on Wednesday and got talking to some people who were walking with me about the Christian faith. I tried to steer the conversation in a spiritual direction, but as soon as I got close to mentioning Jesus, it was as if satan showed up, and there were people swearing all around me…2Corinthians 4:4 right before my eyes. The door I thought was open to share Christ was quickly slammed shut. Last week’s devotional text was from 1Peter 3 encouraging us to share the hope we have in Christ. Today’s passage from 1Peter sheds more light on how we might be able to share Christ with others in “word and deed”. First of all, what gift do you have from the Lord – is it a speaking gift or a serving gift – maybe both? No matter what gift you have received, it is “God’s grace” on you. So, when you use that gift on whomever, God should/must come through. The exhortation is clear - the words we speak to others should be “the very words of God”. When we are prompted to share our faith in Christ with another, is the Lord prompting us? And if He is, what does He want us to say? His words are what needs to come out of us if there is going to be any fruit. Even Jesus only spoke the words the Father wanted Him to share (John 8:26,28; 12:49; 14:10; 15:15). The truth is that everyone needs to hear the word of the Lord. Jesus said to the devil, “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The word of God gives life! It is the word of God that needs to be spoken to people. A specific word sown in the heart at the right time produces fruit. Holy Spirit wrote the word of God and knows what is in a person’s heart. Do you want to see more fruit when you speak to people? Then spend time with Holy Spirit to hear what God wants you to say to individuals with whom you interact. Is it His word or yours you want to share? His word has power, ours has none. Take time to read how God worked through different people in the in the New Testament, and how those servants spoke to people with whom they interacted. How did Paul, Peter, John, Phillip and other New Testament saints share their faith. How did Jesus know just what to say to the people to whom He ministered? He heard the Spirit and spoke the words of God.
So maybe speaking is not your “gift”, but service is. Our text says that God will supply the strength to minister to others so that He gets the glory and praise. Again, we need to be Spirit-led, which means hearing from God that which He wants us to do for someone that will be a blessing and bring God glory. Jesus said, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Shining your light in the darkness is equated with doing good deeds. With what has God gifted you that can be a blessing to others? Making a meal for someone; giving of your resources (material or financial); hospitality; time spent with a shut in; visiting the prisoner, infirmed, or lonely. If you find “sharing Jesus” with someone difficult, then “be Jesus” to someone. There are so many ways to demonstrate God’s love: from knitting baby clothes for single mothers, to feeding the homeless, to serving neighbors with our God-given skills, imparting spiritual wisdom that God has imparted to us (like financial wisdom) and just being available for people in their need. There are so many needs these days, and so many ways for us to demonstrate the gospel, which will ideally lead to sharing the good news of Jesus we have all experienced. Be intentional! Be alert, sober, ready to share our words and our lives with people. I believe some of us need to be shaken from our complacency, even as we see the final days approaching, for the “end is near”. Jesus’ good deeds always led to a conversation or sharing of spiritual truth. One of my favorite stories is in the book of Acts, chapter 3. Peter and John are just heading into the temple to pray when a beggar asks them for money. They didn’t give him what he wanted (money), they gave him what he needed (the ability to walk). The miraculous and bold good deed led not only to people praising God, but an opportunity to speak of Jesus. It was a demonstration of being filled with Spirit and using the gift they just received to serve others in word and deed – the result was praise to God. No complacency, no comfort…but a willingness to live a Spirit-filled life demonstrating the gospel of the kingdom with words and actions. Church, the end is near. Let’s be the church that glorifies Christ in word and deed. “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).
Have a blessed week!
"Advancing the Kingdom of God by releasing Spirit-filled followers to serve Jesus in freedom and joy."