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Taking It to the Streets
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By David B. Smith

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iBelieve: We are to grow in Christ! | PDF Version | Study Guide: Growing in Christ

It’s an awesome thing to be a fan of a championship team! Following the Super Bowl, excited supporters call or tweet all their friends: “Wow! Did you see that?” World Series revelers go to block parties; they hug total strangers; they sometimes just lurch out into the street and yodel: “Woo hoo!”

If your side wins a presidential election, the victory is perhaps more subdued — but also accompanied by a hope that lasting changes and improvements might soon follow Inauguration Day. You want to help spread the message and support ongoing legislative dreams. The upcoming four years are an important follow-up to the confetti and honking horns.

The Bible paints a similar thrilling picture of Jesus’ total victory over sin and death. Paul writes with ebullient confidence in Colossians 1:13: "For [God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." You can almost picture Wolf Blitzer on Election Night, filling our TV screens with a graphic and the entire planet glowing a pure white.

But now how can we be a part of making sure Jesus' influence is felt and communicated? We’re a vital part of His cabinet, His team. Each of us is an ambassador — so how can we make ourselves most useful to God?

First of all, there is the kind of victory which is compounded when millions of Jesus’ followers become like Jesus. His victory was due to His goodness, His unselfish care for others, the beauty of His message. Each of us needs to put on the attractive robe of that same character, so that — just as searching people flocked to Jesus — they will now flock into churches infused with the same loveliness that is referred to in Galatians as the “fruits of the spirit.”

How can we fulfill the words of the old hymn: “Be like Jesus, this my song, in the home and in the throng. Be like Jesus all day long”? One way is through daily prayer: faithful, intimate communication. “Pray continually,” Paul writes. And then, not just Bible reading, but Bible study. Really and truly feeding on the deep and soul-stirring principles in God’s Word. As C. S. Lewis once advised, strengthening our faith by regularly examining and immersing ourselves in the principles of what makes our faith true and strong. “Make sure that some of [Christianity’s] main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day” — just as a surrogate for the President studies briefing books before going on Meet the Press.

By the way, spending time with fellow-believers isn’t just advisable but absolutely necessary! “Don’t give up meeting together,” Paul encourages us, “all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The concept of growing in Christ is miraculously abetted when we praise and sing together. Ephesians 5:19, 20: "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." And be diligent and thankful in allowing your pastor’s messages to be spiritual vitamins for your soul. One pastor, facing a rather overstocked church service, still preached a full-length sermon instead of the expected quick “homily.” When asked, he explained with a smile: “It seems that sermonettes lead to Christianettes.”

Finally, hit the streets with a look of grateful triumph on your face and share the marvelous news of what Jesus as done for you. Matthew 20 describes how God’s kingdom triumphs because the Church chooses to serve rather than to be served. God sent Jesus — now He sends us.
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David B. Smith writes from California. (11 of 28)  His web page is davidsmithbooks.com. Biblebay Copyright © 2014. Click here for content usage information.