They Will Know

They Will Know

It didn’t take me long in reading through the book of Ezekiel to spot the every-other-paragraph appearance of the phrase, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.” It made me look at my life and ask the question, “Will people be able to look at me and come to the conclusion, “Surely, John is a Christian?” Are my words and actions and patterns of living so Christ-like that they clearly stand out? I could tell them I am a Christian, or hand them a copy of my salvation testimony. But the question is, would they be able to tell by my words and actions?

The book of Philippians paints a great picture that drives this thought home for me. In chapter two, verses fourteen through sixteen the believer is compared to a bright star shining against a lightless background.

There are a lot of nice people in the world. Some even very nice. But a Christian’s life should stand out against the mixture of nice and not-so-nice people as to say, “This person is definitely different—maybe a Christian.”

So, what is there in my life that should shine so brightly, that even a short-time acquaintance will see a little bit of Jesus in me?

One answer that comes to mind is the use of one’s spiritual gifts. (Romans 12:6-8 gives a list.) Every believer has one. Do they use theirs faithfully or only occasionally? Do they even know what it is? But the truth remains that, if they do use it, in faith, their star will twinkle a little brighter.

1 Peter 2:9,10 reads, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

The responsibility of being a priest can be simply stated: Talking to people about God, and talking to God on behalf of people.

A good number of people keep their religious convictions to themselves. But to hear a friend speak a word of truth to them, such as: God loves you, God has a plan for your life, or God wants to meet this need in your life; that just could strike at the center of their heart and compel them to ask for more.

These are just some thoughts to ponder about your visibility as a believer in Jesus. So, the next time you hear, or just think about Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, ask yourself, “Am I?”

Motives in Prayer

Motives in Prayer

I have given thought to the motives within my prayers. A selfish prayer, I contend, does not necessarily need to be for that 6,000 square foot home that would cost more than you’d earn in a lifetime. It doesn’t even need to be a “gimme, gimme” prayer. But rather than sloshing through the “six selfish prayers,” I considered some correct motives in my prayer life.

Certainly one that comes to mind first is Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed, “not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus wanted only what the Father wanted. The Son’s will was important, but He was ready to surrender it to that of the Father.

The passage in James chapter one tells us to ask for wisdom. If God’s Word tells us to ask for something, even if for ourselves, it’s not wrong—not selfish. It may be selfish to ask for a refrigerator bigger than your neighbor’s, but it would not be selfish to ask God for wisdom in choosing the one best for your needs.

The prayer request that we all have facing us on a regular basis is that of the physical needs of those close to us. Praying a prayer like, “God please help Uncle Bill to get better because he is so special to me,” could be considered a selfishly requested prayer. A more God-focused prayer might be, “God please help Uncle Bill recover from his problem so he can continue to do your work as You have called him to do.” Or maybe, “God please help Uncle Bill recover from his problem so he can come to know you as his Savior and experience the life that you came to give him.” It’s not just Uncle Bill that should be the heart of a prayer, but God and His work.

And that brings to mind the prayer for that person on your heart that, as yet, has not placed their trust in Jesus alone for their salvation. In the midst of our emotions and potentially wavering motives, Luke 10:2 tells us to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. A command from Scripture directs us how to pray. “Lord, please send a person to Uncle Bill to help him come to know you as his Savior. And, Lord, help me to be ready to be that one.”

The primary key to unselfish prayer may just be in keeping God and His interests at the center. When we are praying to God, it’s about God—His Name and His reputation. The word that properly belongs at the heart of prayer may not be “asking”, but rather “communicating.” Praying for your “neighbor” or your “enemy” demonstrates a trust in God—faith in Him, His work, and His ability to perfectly answer your prayers. I try to spend time regularly in evaluating the contents of my prayers to . . .

. . . weed out wrong motives and nurture the correct ones.