Lisa Scheffler, author
This is an exciting time in the life of Christ Fellowship! In the next few weeks we’ll be unveiling a new vision that will guide our church for the next several years. This vision will focus our direction, but it is rooted in who we are as a church. At the heart of Christ Fellowship is our desire to be “all about Jesus” and our mission is to be “people helping people find and follow Christ.” That isn’t changing. In fact, our prayer is that through this vision, God will use us to reach more people for Jesus and make an even greater impact in our community.
So in this week’s Engage God Daily we’re going to focus on the idea of impacting others. It’s one of Christ Fellowship’s four practices, along with engage God daily, connect in a group, and worship in a gathering. Sharing the love of Jesus in practical ways with those around us is a vital practice for everyone who follows him. It’s also related to the other three practices. It should be the inevitable outcome of our one on one communion with God. It’s the action steps that come from our relationship with other believers as we “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). It’s the acts of service inspired by our time worshipping together.
When you truly love Jesus and take seriously your allegiance to him, his priorities become yours. And Jesus loves to share his love and goodness with others. So this week, let’s reflect on our call to impact others for Christ.
We’re going to discuss four of the mission fields that we’re called to:
- Our home
- Our church
- Our community
- Our world
Impact Others at Home
The people that we have the greatest impact on are those closest to us. Whether you live with your spouse and children, your parents and siblings, with a roommate, or even if you live alone but have close-knit ties with others, you’ve probably found that it’s in these relationships, for better or worse, that people glimpse the “real you.”
When I was a new mom and left my daughter with her sitter, I always worried that she would become the tantrum-throwing toddler that I was often encountering at home. I was amazed to discover that this version of her never made an appearance. When I expressed my surprise to the wise woman who looked after her, she nodded and smiled. She told me that children often “save their bad” for their parents.
That’s likely true of most of us. We can put on a façade for the outside world and do our best to act like the good Christian we want to be, but within our close and comfortable relationships, we can behave in ways that display how desperate we are in need of God’s grace. The selfishness, anger, jealousy, and fear that sometimes churns beneath the surface tends to ooze out at home. So how can we impact our families for Christ when they often see the worst we have to offer? We must ground our treatment of them in Christ’s love.
Today, read through part of the most well-known passages on love, 1 Corinthians 13, and consider how you can apply it to our most intimate relationships. While this passage was written to the church at Corinth to encourage them to show greater love for one another, it can speak to those of us who want to show greater love to our closest family and friends.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
Notice the word “if” and the word “but.” What contrast is Paul setting up?
Summarize Paul’s point and then consider, what your relationships will look like if you don’t exhibit the kind of love Paul describes here?
Unlike the bright and shiny families we often present ourselves as on social media, families are often messy and complicated. It’s often true that behind the smiling Instagram photos there are moms who are guilty, overwhelmed, and depressed, Dads who are anxious and stressed out, and children who are struggling to get their physical, spiritual, and emotional needs met. Behind the glossy suburban façade are families that need to find Jesus as their hub before the pieces fly apart.
Central to who Jesus is and what he asks of us in return is love. Not love in the romantic pop song sense, but love as a verb. Not as an internal feeling, but as an expressed action and way of life. If we don’t understand the true definition of love as Paul describes it here, we won’t find the peace and stability in our homes that we desperately want.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul reveals his frustrations with the Corinthian church because they are exhibiting gifts such as tongues, prophecy, faith and generosity that are consistent with their faith in Christ, but without the love that is central to our relationships — both with God and others. These believers were giving the appearance of spirituality without living it out in their day to day interactions. We can do the same. We can demonstrate tremendous proficiency and giftedness in our jobs, in the ways we serve at church or in the community, and in superficial social interactions that make it look like we have it all together, but neglect to show those closest to us real, genuine, Christ-like love.
Because distinctly Christian love is rooted in Christ and flows from the sacrificial love he shows us, all our relationships should seek to find his love at their center. Our love must imitate Christ in his life, teaching, ministry, and death, seeking to take on the shape of Christ’s story because that is authentic Christian love. Over and over Christ shows us that real love demonstrates a deep commitment to the good of the other person, even when it costs us.
In his commentary on this passage, Johnson sums it up this way:
“This love is above all else zealously concerned with the interests and welfare of the other. Going beyond mere concern, this love identifies with the other, taking up the interests and the concerns of the other and making them one’s own. This is precisely what God’s love expressed through Jesus Christ to us has modeled.”
Without this kind of love, we risk even our closest relationships being noise — being nothing and gaining nothing.
 Johnson, A. F. (2004). 1 Corinthians (Vol. 7, p. 240). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Consider your family and other close relationships. Are you impacting those closest to you with Christ’s love? How could you do so more?
Before the Lord in prayer, reflect on the impact you are having on those closest to you. Invite the Spirit to convict you of ways you are falling short of 1 Corinthians 13, confess and accept his grace and forgiveness. Pray for those relationships and ask the Spirit to guide you in being more loving.