God has a purpose and plan for your life. He wants you to make a difference in the world, and He wants you to make a difference in the lives of others. The Bible tells us that Jesus (aka, the Word) came to earth to make a difference in the world, and to make a difference in the lives of individuals.
The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Jesus left the glory of heaven to take on flesh. We celebrate His birth at Christmastime each year. When the Bible says that Jesus “took up residence among us,” it literally means, “He pitched His tent with us.” He became human. He was fully God and fully man. He became like us in every way except one — He did not sin.
There is so much truth in John 1:14 that we don’t have time to discuss it exhaustively in this post. In this post, I’d like to show you two practical ways that the life of Christ gives us an example to follow.
1. Live an incarnational life. Jesus “became flesh.” That’s what the word “incarnation” means. Let me suggest four ways that we as Christ-followers can live incarnational lives.
- Spend time with people. Jesus didn’t hide in a monastery, temple, office or house. He spent lots of time with people. Make a goal this year to make some new friends, get to know your neighbors better, or to meet the other parents at your kids’ activities. Relate to them, understand them, listen to them, care about them. Find ways to spend time with people, doing all sorts of things. Where do you draw the line of what type of activities? Same as Jesus: don’t participate in activities that are sinful.
- Share a meal with them. Share a meal together at a restaurant or in your home. Invite folks over for a meal, or even just dessert and coffee. Sharing a meal together builds friendships and provides the setting for great conversations about all sorts of things, including spiritual matters. And you probably will be able to sample some tasty recipes if the meal is potluck-style. Jesus spent a lot of time eating meals with people.
- Serve them. Meet a very practical need that they may have: carpooling, firewood, raking leaves, the list is endless. If they get a new job, celebrate with a cake! If they have a loss in their family, take over a home-cooked meal. Be available in times of need, and meet the needs in practical ways. Follow the example of Jesus. He was willing to wash the feet of the disciples on one occasion (a duty reserved for the lowliest of servants) to show them that no job was too lowly for them to do for others.
- Sacrifice for them. Jesus left the glory of heaven to walk upon the earth. He lived a perfect life in every way. He was an amazing teacher. He served people. But the most important reason that He came was to seek and save the lost. He came to give His life upon the cross, a ransom for many. He sacrificed His life for us. He died for us so that we could be forgiven of our sins. Then, on the third day, He rose from the dead, to prove that everything He said was true and to guarantee our eternal life. How do we follow His example of sacrifice? Ask yourself this question, “What am I willing to sacrifice so that people will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior?” Whatever the answer is, be willing to sacrifice it: time, resources, whatever the Lord leads you to sacrifice.
2. Live an inspirational life. Jesus’ life inspired others. He inspired them to believe in God. He inspired to believe that with God’s help, they could do amazing things. They could live an abundant life and have eternal life through faith in Him. He inspires us in the same ways, and He can use us to inspire others. Four aspects of an inspirational life:
- A life that glorifies Jesus Christ. When you are committed to following in the way of Jesus Christ, your life will glorify Him. As John 1:14 says, “we observed His glory.” We see this on the pages of Scripture, in our lives, and in the lives of others all around us. Let your life glorify Christ by your words, behavior, attitude, everything about you.
- A life of hope! If your eternal hope is in Christ, then you know that with God nothing is impossible. So if you know someone who is hurting, discouraged or spiritually lost, share hope with them. Encourage them to put their hope in Christ. Maybe you know someone whose marriage is facing challenges. Share hope with them. Maybe you know someone who is battling health issues. Share hope with them. God wants to lead and guide them. He can do amazing things. Remind that there is hope in Christ! Hope came into the world when Jesus became flesh.
- A life of grace. John 1:14 says that Jesus was full of grace. He showed grace to others. You want to make a difference in the lives of others? Lead with grace. Show grace every chance you get.
- A life of truth. John 1:14 also says that Jesus was full of truth. He lived the truth and spoke the truth. Always. Let your actions and words be the same way — full of truth.
This year, make a difference in the lives of others. Get started this week. Pray that God will open doors of opportunity, and when He does, walk through them this week.