Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 142 - How Do My Actions Reflect God to Others?
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #142 – How Do My Actions Reflect God to Others?
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to seek, find, and follow Jesus together as we live with purposed eternal perspective.
Yesterday during part of our morning playtime, my youngest daughter and I observed the roly poly terrarium she’s building. Right now, she’s preparing the groundwork for the roly polys to move into a new habitat later. Last week she laid chia seeds in soil and daily you can find her checking soil moisture, sunlight, and adding water when needed.
Although you can’t see anything growing, if you look under the clear terrarium, you see that many roots are winding beneath the dirt in preparation for the changes that will take place on top of the soil later. It’s really fascinating to see how many hidden roots are twisting and turning unless you make an effort to find them.
Just as our heart needs seeds planted before we experience changes, no one can see how the Holy Spirit is working within us unless our words, actions, and reactions are altered to showcase His presence. When we first become believers and followers of Christ, we cannot comprehend the life-changing beauty of a maturing relationship with Him. Yet, the longer we walk with Him, the more intentional we are about pursuing Jesus and submitting to His work within us, and the greater our belief grows. As we allow Him to shine through us, we unknowingly invite Him to make a great impact on those around us.
It is true that the way we conduct our life and Christian walk attracts attention. Even when we don’t believe anyone is paying attention, they are. The older I’ve gotten, the more I focus on how my actions affect others. Actually, this thought process probably has less to do with aging, and more to do with my walk with Christ. As time has progressed and I have continued to mature in Him, Jesus prompts me to examine motives and actions in light of the way others are impacted by them. I want others to see Him clearly through me and that desire comes with great responsibility.
As I ponder what that duty means, I acknowledge how easily my behavior can attract people to, or turn people away from Christ. Have you ever noticed that small and seemingly insignificant decisions you make can cause someone to build their foundation of Christ on rock or sand? Those decisions may also cause another to stumble or to turn away from Jesus completely.
Romans 14:12-13 says, “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”
Have you ever been short with someone at work? Or with a family member? Maybe you gave a dirty look to the crazy driver who totally cut you off on the highway or at the person who took the parking spot they could see you were going to take. Have you ever rushed to get in line to order food or check out at the store before someone else could get ahead of you?
Once you beat them, do you stop to wonder how well you’re representing Christ? I find it interesting that when I slow down and allow others to go first, I don’t think about how it reflects Christ: I just allow Him to work within me, helping me to think of others first. However, when I try to move faster than someone else (without it looking like I’m doing it), because I’m short on time or hungry, or some other excuse, I do stop to think (after the fact) that I certainly did not represent Christ the way I should.
What if the person you hurried past showed up at church the next Sunday? What if they heard you proclaiming to love Jesus or giving testimony at a later date and they remembered that it was you who did whatever act didn’t give a holy representation of the Lord?
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” This verse from 1 Corinthians 3:11 reminds us that the only foundation that is true and lasting is one built on Jesus Christ.
Our reason for showing others the Way, the Truth, and the Life should be because our own heart and mind are so full of Him that He overflows and we cannot help but exude His spirit, grace, mercy, and love to others because He has permanently entwined His spirit within us.
Do you guard your actions, your mind, your heart, and reactions daily through the power of the Holy Spirit alive within you? In order to train yourself to respond in ways pleasing to God and that will impress Him perfectly to others, you must be aware of how your actions reflect Him. Just as an athlete develops discipline through intentional daily training, we must be attentive to the coaching of the Lord within us. We must desire to reflect Him properly. We must allow Him to guide and guard us and our responses and reactions so that others clearly see the work He has done and is still completing within us. Each of us develop habits. Some are good, making us stronger in the Lord while others may become the opposite.
As we grow in relationship, strength, and character through Christ, our affections and actions toward others change. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
When most of us become believers, we still think of “self” more than Christ. Once we begin to mature our walk, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our character and desires, our thought processes change. We begin thinking of others more than self and deeply desire to be stewards of the relationship we have with Christ.
When selfishness, jealousy, impatience, or other fleshly feelings try to overtake us, it is a blessing to know we can utilize the power of Christ within us to shift our thinking process to Him. He makes us aware of how others see Him through us, reminding us of the challenge and responsibility we must bear.
Our inadequacies, even when we strive to follow and honor Christ are apparent in differing ways. One method to strengthen our Christian walk and make Jesus known to others in ways that attract them to Him is through our habits. We all have behaviors we repeat daily. We know it’s much easier to develop bad or harmful habits over nurturing good ones. One key to growing habits that forward our walk with Christ and draw others to Him is to pay attention to what encourages you, gives you more joy, and what matures your personal walk with Christ.
Of course, right now we are only discussing godly habits, not health, beauty, finance, work, or study habits. Goodness! When you think about it, our lives consist of a variety of routines and habits we have developed over years without giving them much thought. One purpose of fostering positive habits is to build character. As followers of Christ, we want our character to reflect His.
Righteousness or godly character is fashioned through reflection and formation of excellent, repeated actions. It is crucial to discover which thought processes you need to alter and commit to doing it. Just as we get out of bed, get dressed, brush our teeth, etc. we must have a set standard we commit to completing.
However, without thinking about what we are creating, excellent habits are almost impossible to achieve.
We often plan to be consistent or to begin character formation in some way, but life interferes. Our schedules are tight. We get sick. Our children need us. Maybe we run around town all day and just need to relax in the evening. When we are tired, hungry, cold, or overscheduled, we tend to think of “self” first. We want to satisfy the burning need we have or the commitment to child or spouse that must be completed. Instead, stop to allow yourself to think of Christ. As He was dying on the cross, He put sinners first. He didn’t just fulfill what obligations He had to. Jesus remained committed to a lifestyle of integrity and obedience.
Jesus followed habits He constructed with righteous intention throughout His life.
1. People see your actions.
2. People hear your words.
3. People learn your desires.
4. People appreciate your acts.
5. People feel your love.
6. People see your devotion to Christ.
When others see those of us who follow Christ, they consciously and subconsciously observe whether we appear to be genuine, whether we lovingly serve others, how well we appear to trust and obey Christ, whether we are discerning or judgmental, and ho our actions affect others.
It is imperative that you:
1. Study His Word
2. Know His Word
3. Practice His Word
4. Share His Word
It is only then that those who do not have a relationship with Jesus will see that He genuinely changes lives!
1. Jesus is Who He says He is – John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
2. Jesus leads to the Father – Matthew 4:19 says, “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
3. Jesus heals hearts and lives – Matthew 4:23 says, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
4. Jesus saves – John 3:16, 17 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” and Acts 4:11, 12 says, “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
As you develop habits, the most important ones concern your view of eternity.
1. Which habits will you construct that support what you believe?
2. Which habits will be important enough to ensure you continue?
3. Which habits will draw you nearer to Christ?
4. Which of your habits will draw others to Jesus?
5. Do you possess the qualities needed to form godly habits in your children?
6. What do your children see in your daily words and actions that will draw them nearer to, or farther from, Christ?
7. Which habits will they copy?
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Does your professed faith match your actions, reactions, and words? How are you working daily to develop strong, righteous integrity that is pleasing to God?
1 Samuel 16:7b says, “For man sees the outward appearance, but the LORD sees the heart.”
Make sure that what God sees in your heart is intentionally more pleasing to Him day by day.
Dear Heavenly Father, oh Lord, how we need You! Left alone, we are so far from the holiness You require. Thank you for sending Jesus to show us the way to You. Thank you for loving us as we are, yet purposely making sure that we don’t have to stay where we are. May our lives proclaim Your glory, mercy, love, and holiness more each day. Enable our hearts to desire You above all else. Give us a longing for You that cannot be quenched by this world. Help us remain steadfast in studying Your Word, the life of Jesus, and obeying what You call. Help our lives proclaim You to those who do not know You and draw them closer to Your heart. May we never act in ways that turn people away from You. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will direct them away from Christ. Live With Eternal Perspective helps us to find, trust, and follow Christ more intimately. Purposed Parent/Connected Child shares biblical, practical truths for parents and grandparents to influence and mentor Christ over culture.
I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.