And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We don’t have to go door to door asking people if they died today where they would go. Honestly, that approach to evangelism is not very effective. We’re looking for a way to truly impact the kingdom of God. So how do we do that?
I’m not a fan of slogans or clichés. I stay away from most things that are too popular. But this common question does make a good point. “If you were on trial for being Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Really consider that. Although your words do count, if they are not backed up by faith, and a life which puts your words into action, then your words are nothing. Going to church regularly counts, but again if the only times you look or act Christian is when you’re with other Christians then what validity are you having for the kingdom?
Highly effective Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit and actively producing fruit of the Spirit. That means that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control can be seen in them regardless of what they are doing, what their circumstances are and who they are with (Galatians 5:22-23).
Let’s look at some habits or disciplines of highly effective Christians:
- They love.
John 13:31-35 reads,
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It doesn’t read, they will know you are my disciples if you have T-shirt, bumper sticker, or necklace. Jesus didn’t say, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you use Christianese phrases like, ‘If God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it’ or ‘Bless your heart’ and say, ‘by Jesus’ blood’ at least every 90 words.” No, He said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love is more than a gushy feeling. Love does not exist if action and attitude do not prove it.
God is expressed through love, He is love! (1 John 4:8) Love is expressed through the fruit of the Spirit, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a also describes love and it is similar.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
Loving people this way, the way Jesus loved us is tangible not just hearts and rainbows. It is real. Jesus said that love is laying down your life for your friend (John 15:13) and that love is keeping His commandments (John 14:15). That’s right, keeping God’s commandments is the natural expression of our love for God and people. What good is it for someone to say “I love this child” but then choose not to feed him or care for him? What good is it for a man to say, “I love you” but not be willing to share himself with you, spend time with you, or move to meet your needs.
- They demonstrate love in serving and generosity.
James 2:14-17 says it like this,
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Galatians 5:6 and 13-15 read,
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
- They resist the devil and overcome the world.
1 John 5:1-5 reads,
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Jesus lived perfectly, gave up His life, resurrected, and ascended all because of His deep and perfect love for us which compelled Him to do the Father’s will. It was not our sin which kept Jesus made Jesus die on the cross, it was His profound love which kept Him there until Satan, death, and sin were conquered once and for all.
1 John 5:18-21 reads,
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Almighty God is protecting you from the enemy! Don’t shrug the LORD off to fight the devil when you are from God and He’s got your back! He sealed you! He is in you and that is power! That’s the power that raised Jesus from the dead and that power overcomes the devil, not your arguments or your struggling with him (Romans 8:11, 1 John 5:4). It is God, the Father, Son, and Spirit not you.
We are not told to fight the devil. We are told not to sin and so make ourselves vulnerable to his attacks. We are told to stand. We are told to resist. James 5:4-10 says it like this,
Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Resisting is not fighting or engaging. It is standing firm, refusing to be moved, and withstanding the effect of something. A water-resistant watch doesn’t fight water, it doesn’t allow water to ruin it. So how do we stand firm against the devil? How do we resist? Ephesians 6:10-20 teaches us,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
- They worship and pray with intercession, praise, and thanksgiving.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
29 He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
That messianic passage is beautiful to me. We can pray for help through difficult circumstances, we can pray in awe and thanksgiving at God’s deliverance, redemption, and steadfast love. WE can praise Him for the miracles, big and small He does every day. And we can praise Him privately, in church, and in public.
Jesus encouraged us to pray in Matthew 7:7-8,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
- They meet together often.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Acts 2:42-47 describes the early church and how very effective they were for the Kingdom of God.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
- They are transparent with needs including sin and sickness.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
- They live a lifestyle of worship, pursuing God, His kingdom and His righteousness first.
1 Peter 3:13-17 says,
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
The manner we live our lives means something. We must not treat grace as a license to stay the way we were when we were saved but as the power to live righteous lives as a testimony to Jesus Christ so the blind will see, the hopeless will find hope, and the hard hearted will be broken and saved. Revelation 12:10-11 describes how very effective our lived-out testimony is.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
It is through love and standing firm that our lives are a testimony to Jesus Christ and we become effective Christians not just affected Christians. Your Christian life should not be merely words but lived out in every aspect, every corner, and every space. There are people looking for meaning, people seeking hope, and people searching for wholeness. You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth who can show them who Jesus is, how deeply He loves them, and how perfectly He will complete them (Matthew 5:13-14).