One of our goals in life should be to have a helpful influence for Christ on others. Certainly, we want to be a fragrance of the Lord’s grace in our homes, but we should also seek to elevate others’ commitment to Christ among our church family as well.
Paul laid out his game plan in 2 Timothy 2:2, which says: “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” As Paul sought to make disciples of Christ throughout the nations (see Matt. 28:18-20), he didn’t try to do all of the work himself. He sought to have such a solid spiritual impact on a life that that person could repeat the process in someone else’s life. The best outcome was when those trained followers of Christ would keep the impact rolling into future generations.
But many Christians today don’t feel adequately prepared to try to have that kind of an impact. Of course, as we look at our spiritual lives we quickly become aware that we are all “works in progress” (see Phil. 1:6). But in addition to our frailties and inconsistencies, we also feel under-equipped to minister to others. It is the rare Christian who has had such excellent mentoring that when he meets a younger Christian, he is ready to assess where they are, where they need to be, and give them the tools they need to get there.
The fact is you do have something to offer. If the Lord has saved you and helped you make some progress toward a Christ-centered life, then there are people who are behind you. In a sense, all you need to be able to teach someone is to find anyone who knows less than you do!
Let’s get down to some utter practical ways to make a spiritual impact in a life. Specifically, let’s consider something simple you can do to help a friend, family-member, or even a young person in the youth group at church to have Jesus Christ as the center of their lives. The very efforts you make in this endeavor will also help you become more Christ-centered, so it is a win-win for Christ’s kingdom.
Talk to them about the Bible. There are so many verses that can help a Christian discover the importance of being more Christ-centered. Here are just a few:
Mark 8:34: “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”
Romans 12:1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:9, 14-15: “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him . . . For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
What are some ways you can use these verses (and so many others like them) to help someone advance in having Jesus as the driving motivation of their lives?
You can start by looking at them together over breakfast. It could be as simple as just reading them out loud. After you read them, you can think about them together. What do they mean? What are the practical implications for our lifestyle choices? What are some changes that need to happen in light of these verses?
It would be good to read these passages out of a Bible (or Bible app), considering the context in which they occur. Even reading a few sentences before and after the key verses will help you both appreciate the flow of the sections.
Another way to deepen the impact of these verses would be to write them out and commit them to memory. Perhaps the next breakfast is free for the one who can memorize the most verses by next week!
What is the benefit of such Scripture memory? The more you memorize the Bible the more you think about the Bible. Scripture memory has a deep and wide effects. The more you think about the Bible the more comprehensive your thoughts will be about it. If you are forced to consider a single subject for an extended time, you discover much more about that subject than you thought possible. Also, you will find a widening effect as you take that Bible verse with you all through life. Because you memorized it, it is right there with you—as you drive along behind that slow driver, as you wait in line at the store, as you choose which website to click on. Those Christ-centered messages will be speaking to more and more of your daily choices.
As you read the Bible and memorize it with your friend, you can also turn each one of those verses into prayers. Just like a screw digs deeper into the wood with each turn of the screwdriver, the Scripture will dig deeper into your heart and the heart of the person you are seeking to impact as you pray the Scripture back to God.
Ask God to help you understand it better. Ask God to help you put the truth into practice. Ask God to show you areas where you are falling short of the standard. Ask for the forgiveness of Christ, even as you seek to put Christ first.
God has made his Word to be the source of spiritual impact. The place to begin to see the Lord impact you and others around you is to expose hearts to the Bible. You can’t change other people. You can’t even change yourself ultimately. But God changes people and he uses his Word to do so. Utilize his main means of change as you seek to help others have Jesus as the center of their lives.
By John Crotts