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Living Effectively for Christ 2: The Cost of Ineffective Service

Living Effectively for Christ Day 2 – The Cost of Ineffective Service

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46. ESV)

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30, ESV)

One of the most tragic failures for the believer is living out an ineffective testimony. A poor testimony brings dishonor to the name of Jesus and spoils opportunities for eternal reward and position within His kingdom. There is much to be lost when we fail to reflect Christ well in our lives, and quite possibly the most heartbreaking loss is that it hurts the heart of our Savior.

Wendi opened the subject for us yesterday, laying out the importance of living a godly life. In contrast, how wasteful it is to live an ineffective Christian life. We have a whole community of people who need the Lord; it’s our duty and responsibility to not only demonstrate Christ before them, but also be willing to serve those in need. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at various ways we can improve our effectiveness as Christ followers. We hope and pray that you’ll be willing to see areas where improvements are needed and make the necessary changes to live more effectively. For today, we are thinking of the damage caused when we fail to reflect Him well.

Jimmy Swaggart. Jim and Tammy Bakker. Paul Maxwell. Ravi Zacharias. These are just a few names that are uncomfortable topics among believers. They each had a huge platform, but used it to bring shame to the name of Jesus. While they surely all had a part in seeing souls genuinely brought to Christ, they were also led astray by lack of self-control when faced with their specific weaknesses. Money, sex, power—all are common temptations we face in life, yet victory over them is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Some celebrity Christians have given Christianity a bad rap, and as a result, people begin to believe all Christians are disingenuous. While our own sphere of influence is likely much, much smaller, we still are at risk for turning people away from the Lord and His wonderful message of the gospel. Will there be someone forever lost because our own testimony led them to disregard, or maybe even detest, the gospel message? That’s a terrible thought and one that will hopefully convict all of us to consider how others might view us. Does our testimony align with the name “CHRISTian”? For us to live effectively, our behavior must match the truth of God’s Word.

As we continue in this study, I challenge each of you to consider an area of weakness in yourself that Satan targets and manipulates. If you have an anger management issue, how might your temper affect how others perceive Christianity? Or how might living together before marriage contradict your faith, causing others to discredit the God you claim to follow? Or maybe you have an issue with managing your accounts and you’re known as one who operates in the red and fails to satisfy the debts owed. These behaviors tarnish our testimony and bring shame to the name of Christ.

Every one of us is being observed daily by the people around us, and assumptions are made based on our words and behavior. What do others think about you? Would they be surprised if you told them you’re a Christian? If so, why is that? All believers are called to live in such a way that reflects Jesus to a watching world. May each of us spend some quiet time today reflecting on our own testimony and how we might better reflect Jesus. May we each store up treasure in Heaven, and make it our aim to live a vibrant, bold, effective life in Christ.

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