September 3, 2009
Great Sermons are Not Preached, They're Lived
"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13 (NIV)
What if someone followed me around with a video camera all day documenting my every move? Catching on camera all of my words, facial expressions, actions, and reactions. And then what if someone packaged it all together and played it on some sort of reality TV show for all the world to see? What would be the glaring message of my life?
I am convicted thinking about this.
You see, if someone were to ask me, what are you all about? I would have some nice sounding answers. But what actually happens during the strains of everyday life can sometimes betray my best intentions.
I want to be a loving wife. Yet I can sometimes be found in a grumpy, selfish mood and view my husband as a business partner that better hold up his end of helping out.
I want to be a wise and patient mom. But my kids know the exact buttons to push that send me into a tailspin of emotion and exhaustion.
I want to be a strong witness for Christ. So why is it that I can read my Bible first thing in the morning and then find myself honking at the person that cuts me off in traffic just an hour later?
I realize there is a place for God's tender mercies for me in all this. But I also know that while no TV cameras are following me around, my life is speaking a message about what I really believe and I want that message to honor Jesus. I once heard, "Great sermons are not preached, they are lived." Oh how I long to live a message that speaks loud and clear, "Jesus is true and the principles found in His teachings work!"
Let's just be honest, it's tough being a sold out soul for Christ stuck in a body that is so tempted to sin. That's why it's essential I view my time with God each morning as a preparation and an invitation.
- Preparation: Every verse, devotion and prayer is all part of God's preparation for me that day. Instead of just rushing to check off my to do list that I spent a few minutes with God, I must allow His teachings to seep into my heart and mind. Then I must ask God to interrupt my natural flesh response and remind me throughout the day the truths He taught me that morning. That's the preparation part.
- Invitation: The next essential view of my quiet time each morning is recognizing I've just invited Jesus to do life with me today, so I need to look for His activity throughout my day. My minute by minute theme then becomes, "Not my will God, but Yours be done." So if my husband forgets to do something he promised, or my kids push my buttons, or a person cuts me off in traffic, or one of the other one million things happens that causes my flesh to want to rear up and act ugly… I can say, "Not my will God, but Yours be done." This slight pause and acknowledgement of God redirects my frustration and replaces it with grace. And most wonderful of all, it helps me connect my time with Jesus to everyday life choices. Making that connection is how we personally hear from and experience God!
I know, sometimes it's hard to spend time with Jesus first thing in the morning. And I'm certainly not trying to make this just another demand on our time. But, why not spend just a few minutes… even if it is just a few… letting Jesus prepare us for whatever we'll be facing that day and invite Him to intervene before our natural reactions to things betray our best intentions. Then and only then will my life speak to the fact that I have spent time with Jesus… and without saying a word, my imperfect life will be a God-honoring sermon.
Dear Lord, please teach me how to reveal more and more of You through the way I live my life. I want to tell the whole world about You using words only when necessary. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Who is someone today that might have the propensity to push your buttons? What are some Bible verses that you could think on and pray through today to prepare your heart to respond with grace?
What is your typical response when something in life happens that frustrates you? What is a more God honoring response?
Hebrews 6:1, 3, "Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity… and God permitting, we will do so." (NIV)
Romans 7:21-25a, "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (NIV)
© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 03 September 2009.