27
Jan
09

Enthused to be Used

I am not one to use trite phrases (okay, not all the time), but one has become lodged in my thinking recently: the idea of being “enthused to be used by God.” This occurred to me as I was preparing a brief devotional study for a small group on the privileges we have in leading others to become disciples or followers of Jesus Christ (basically discipleship). My preparation led me to the book of Colossians.

 

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:27-28 (NKJV)

 

I see a broader application of the statement “Him we preach…” in verse 28, that extends to any of us who are in a position to lead others into a closer walk with our Savior. We are privileged to preach Jesus Christ, and by “preach” I mean the simple public, visible, and demonstrable proclamation of the truth of the risen Lord. It must first be a public proclamation in that it does no one any good to attempt to proclaim Christ privately. For some it is a very real risk to publically express our belief in Jesus Christ, but a risk we are all called to take nonetheless.

 

The proclamation of our faith in Jesus Christ is to be visible. The New Testament writer James mark-of-the-christian2declares that “…faith without works is dead…” The watching world should see our Christianity, not just hear about it. Francis Schaeffer * hints of this in his work “The Mark of the Christian.” Using passages in John 13, Schaeffer argues, “…We cannot expect the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus’ claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians…” Not just hear about it, but see it.

 

The proclamation of our faith is to be demonstrable; illustrating, explaining, and making clear the evidence of our faith in a very real and very personal Savior. sfofa1You may have noticed I have purposely left any verbal component to these ideas. We tend to think of preaching and proclaiming our faith in terms of what we say, like reciting the correct formula. In this case, I like the old axiom attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi that says, “Preach the Gospel at all times…if necessary use words!”

 

Furthermore, we are privileged to warn every man (woman and child). I see this as more than advising someone of danger, but the delivery of encouraging counsel. When I looked up what it means to warn someone, I found it to mean putting something in the mind of another. To those who put their trust in us, we are to deliver wise counsel and encouragement in all areas of their walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We are privileged to teach everyone, which is dialogue and discussion with others for the purpose of instructing them. Beyond the dialogue depicted here, I also think of our behavior as teachers, both before and away from those we disciple. As a teacher, I not only have the privilege of sharing what Jesus did (His history) with those I disciple, but also of demonstrating in my daily life how, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to live a more Christ-like life (living out our theology). We are privileged to teach, not just with words, but with actions.

 

Finally, we have the privilege of seeing those we disciple ultimately “perfect” in Jesus Christ. Not without flaws, for we will never be in that state until we are before our Lord in glory (and yet that too is hinted at here). Perfect in that we are all coming into full maturity, both in integrity and virtue, and becoming more Christ-like in word, thought, and deed.

 

It was here, as I reviewed these two verses, that I my enthusiasm was kindled. I realized as I engage in the discipleship of others for Christ, I should be very enthused by all these privileges. And enthusiasm is a most fitting description. In both verses studied here, Paul uses similar phrases; “in Christ” and “Christ in you…” The root word for enthusiasm comes from a combination of two Greek words: En + Theos, meaning God Within, God inspired. That Christ is in me and that I am being perfected and brought to maturity in Him should result in enthusiasm that overflows about being used by God. I am enthused because of the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. I am enthused to be trusted by my Lord to disciple others to follow Him. In short, I am enthused to be used by God.

 

What makes you enthusiastic?

 

What privileges of ministering for Jesus Christ have you been given?

 

Do you approach those opportunities to minister enthusiastically?

 

Does what you say, what you do, and how you do it proclaim the faith of someone who has Christ within them?

 

God Bless & Grace 2 U

 

church-at-the-end-of-the-20th-century* Regarding the Francis Schaeffer quote, it is extracted from an appendix of a larger work noted here: Francis Schaeffer, The World At The End Of The 20th Century, (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press) 1970, pgs. 138-139. 

 

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