January 30, 2013 - Radical Hope

The time we have here on earth is precious. We can’t purchase a single moment, cheat death, or remain young.

But that doesn’t mean we have no control over what happens—on the contrary. We can decide if we are going to follow Christ—a decision that will determine everything else we do.

In addition, we can determine how we are going to impact others. It’s one of the most important things we will ever do. As Christians, we will give an account of our lives, and our influence on those around us is a substantial aspect.

Impacting others is a given—it’s not if we will, it’s how we will. Posing as followers of Christ instead of actually being followers of Christ is not only exhausting—it’s impossible.

At some point, our guard will drop and we’ll make a mistake. It’s similar to telling a lie—you have to remember every detail in order to keep up the charade. Eventually, you’ll forget what you told that person, and contradict yourself into the truth.

Choosing to have a positive influence is just that—a choice. We don’t have to do it. We just have to explain to God why we didn’t, and suffer the consequences.

There are some simple steps we can take to move in the right direction:

  • Be decidedly positive
    • Don’t let floundering be part of your makeup. Be “pro” whatever you are doing, and give it all you have. Approaching a problem or launching an endeavor should be done with all the expertise we can.
  • Assume someone is watching
    • Usually, they are. Approaching your daily life as if you were constantly being scrutinized is not a bad idea. In fact, it’s Biblical. Paul tells us to change our behavior if it is offensive to others. He understood that, once we become Christ followers, others expect to see a difference in us. If the change isn’t obvious, they will see it immediately.
  • Be genuine
    • Understand you are going to watched. Depending on what you are doing with your life, you may be loved, hated, admired, or even put on a pedestal. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t want that or ask for it, it happens. If you’re putting on a show and not really the person you claim to be, give it up. There is no way you’ll fool the people you want to.
  • Follow Christ
    • If you are not a Christ follower, there is little chance of having a positive impact with any meaning.

Our actions speak louder than words, and there is always someone watching. We may not notice the young girl looking at the twenty-something lady as she flirts with the guys.

We could easily miss the boy as he sees us pick up the $20 bill the guy in line in front of us dropped, and slip it into our pocket. Or the gesture we give the driver that cuts us off on the exit ramp.

Have a positive impact on others. Then you won’t have to remember what to say when God asks why you led your friends astray when you cheated on your taxes.

Question: Have you had someone impact you negatively? What did you do?