by Nancy Taylor Tate
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV
In his book, “No Other Foundation,” DeVern Fromke tells the story of a young Bible school student, eager to preach. Doing his internship with a local pastor, he finally heard the words he had been waiting for, “Come, and we will preach today.”
Excited, the young intern joyfully went with the pastor. Walking through the narrow streets of town, the pastor gave a coin to a beggar. He spoke a word of sympathy to a widow and dried the tears of a weeping child. Then they turned to go back to the church. Disappointed, the young student asked, “But, when are we going to preach?” The pastor answered, “We have been preaching all this time.”
“…ye shall be (become) witnesses unto me…” Acts 1:8
Paul speaks of us being an “epistle…known and read of all men.” (2 Cor. 3:2). Our lives are to be a witness, a “book” that can be seen and read, communicating the Lord’s love toward mankind. Our being this “witness” is an important aspect of the high calling of God resting upon our lives. We must consider how our “sermon” is being preached.
Some are anxious to preach before a crowd of people or serve when the applause of man is forthcoming, and at times, the world seems to elevate these people.
But there are those who are known by God, whom the Lord is bringing forth, who simply are willing to give their lives to loving others, to single out that “one” who is down and discouraged and give them a loving touch or a caring word. These are “living epistles,” written upon deeply by the Spirit of the living God, that they might become a sample of who Christ is, that others might see and know God’s love through their very lives.
There is a tangible love and peace that emanates from these people; it has nothing to do with eloquent words. Rather, it stems from what has been worked into their hearts through the choices they have made. Regardless of what they are doing or saying, in their presence, you feel ministered to and loved. You see and hear Jesus.
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:17
To attain this, first and foremost, we are to give ourselves to the Lord. It is His presence that makes the difference, whether we are speaking or just giving a smile. It is His presence that touches hearts and changes lives.
Then, from that place of abiding in Him, as living epistles, we can give ourselves to others, even as Christ gave Himself for us. It does not matter if we are seen or appreciated. The Lord sees and cares, and His satisfaction is all that matters.
God’s desire for us is that we abide in Christ, so His life can be seen through us. Allowing this dimension of who Christ is to find expression in our life experiences will absolutely transform us. As true intercessors, we will then be willing to give our lives, whether it be in word or in deed, making the way for the ministry of the Holy Spirit to come forth, meeting the needs of others.
“I in them, and You in Me…that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:23 NKJV
Jesus came as the very expression of God’s love. His mission was not to be served, but to serve and give His life for others (Matt. 20:28). He sought no reward or recognition from man. His sole desire was simply to please His heavenly Father. Because of that, it did not matter to Him if He was speaking to one Samaritan woman at a well (John 4:7) or to five thousand people as He multiplied loaves and fishes (Matt. 14:21). Jesus was able to be led and used wherever He was needed.
The singular motivation that ruled the life of the Lord Jesus Christ was simply a desire to do the will of His heavenly Father (John 14:30-31). May this same poise of spirit be found in us. May our motives be pure, that we would love to love, give to give, and do what we do out of a conviction that it is what the Lord would have us to do.
May our singular desire be to glorify Christ through our lives. May we be found faithful to His leading, wherever that might take us and whatever we might find ourselves doing. For if we are doing what God has called us to do, no one thing is more glorious than another.
True joy is simply in pleasing God’s heart, as we do His will and are found faithful.
“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21, 23
May the pages of our lives as “living epistles,” be pleasing unto the Lord, as they are seen and read by others. May the love of Jesus and the fragrance of His presence be made known through us. This is the high calling of God that rests on each and every life.
If you would like, please pray with me:
Lord Jesus, grace us to walk worthy of this calling! I desire to love as You love. I desire to have Your heart of compassion toward others. Touch me, Lord, I pray. Help me to become a true giver, acceptable and pleasing in Your sight—an epistle known by You and read by others, that You may be seen and glorified in my life.