When we've been changed by Jesus He influences every square inch of our lives. Under His influence, we influence, and are messengers God can use.
And you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia–your faith in God has become known everywhere. 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8
When Paul and Silas brought the message of Christ to Thessalonica it ignited a riot in the city. Jealous Jews recruited a mob, stirred the crowd and city officials into turmoil, and shouted the alarm that the “men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6, ESV). With all the trouble stirring, the Christians sent Paul and Silas away by night.
I’m not sure how you define successful mission trips, but from all outward appearances, this one didn’t look so good.
Paul would disagree with that assessment. Instead of seeing it as a failed mission he wrote, “You know, brothers and sisters that our visit to you was not without results” (1 Thessalonians 2:1).
He was right. The fruit of their time together bore results. It turned the world upside down! The Thessalonians received the message and lived it out by becoming imitators of Paul and Silas and the Lord. As they followed what had been imitated for them, they became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia (1 Thessalonians 1:7). When the good news spread to those two Greek provinces of the Roman Empire–Macedonia in the north and Achaia in the south–His message rang out and their faith became known everywhere.
Paul understood the power and influence our example has on others. It’s why he wrote to the church in Corinth, Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). It’s why he intentionally became their father through the gospel and urged them to imitate me (1 Corinthians 4:15-16).
What if we were intentional and insistent that people imitate us? What if we said . . . Do as we do? Speak as we speak? Love others as we love others? Or bring the message as we bring the message? If people imitated us would the message be suppressed or spread far and wide? Would our culture remain as it is or would the world be turned upside down?
When we’ve been changed by Jesus He influences every square inch of our lives. Under His influence, we influence, and are messengers God can use.
Send Me: Is there a correlation between the way Christ is influencing you and the way you’re influencing others?
May our flame for evangelism be reignited, and may our character be used to influence our desperately needy world. -Bill Hybels