Jesus uses his followers when they are willing to take two steps. These aren’t magic steps. They are powerful & simple, practical & impactful. These two steps make a difference.
The First step is to SPEND TIME WITH JESUS. I know this is a bit ridiculous but if you don’t spend time with Jesus you can’t be used by God to influence others to Jesus. You cannot impart what you do not possess. Frankly, if we don’t have anything to share about Jesus, perhaps we should ask if we really know and love Jesus? The things you love you will naturally discuss and share. Example: I love the Utah Jazz and therefore I talk about them. People around me recognize my fanaticism for the Jazz without me having to tell them I like them. If you possess a genuine love for Jesus, then it naturally comes out. You will share Christ if Christ is the prize of your life. Therefore, to make a difference for Jesus you must first spend time with Jesus (if you love him). Time spent with Jesus is not wasted and developing a habit to regularly meet with him is important. He will change your life.
Acts 4:13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been (spent time) with Jesus.
The Second step to apply as you spend time with Jesus is to… INVEST TIME IN PEOPLE AROUND YOU. Again, I know this sounds so simple, but believe it or not this is a growing problem. The ironic trend of our day is that the more we advance in technology and social media, the less we are experiencing meaningful social interaction. People are lonely. It is amazing how comfortable someone is at texting a person beside them rather than looking them in the eye and having a meaningful conversation. Verbal communication seems to be a dying art. Yes, our Gadgets are addicting, but Jesus is life transforming. Invest in the relationships around you. Be present. Get to know someone. Ask questions and be a listener. You can’t influence everyone, but God has given you the opportunity to influence someone. If you spend time with Jesus and then spend time with others, the way Jesus has influenced you will become a part of your conversation. It will influence them and the best part is that the conversation will be authentic. Why? Because you have an authentic walk with Jesus. Notice that I am not saying you should invite people to church. Rather, I am saying go be the church to people. This is not about guilting you to influence others. It’s about you naturally sharing what you love with the people you love.
When I consider Jesus’s ministry, crowds followed him. While He cared for the crowds, he gave special attention to twelve individuals because Jesus understood the power of multiplication. If he spent 3 intentional years discipling a few, they could in turn go out and do the same. This process could repeat itself many times over the course of someone’s life. The process of making disciples by multiplication could reach the world.
Mark 3:14 And He (Jesus) appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach,
Please know that If you try to reach people for Jesus and you find it difficult, don’t worry. Even Jesus had a Judas in his group, and we aren’t Jesus. God didn’t give any of us the power to change someone else’s heart and frankly God doesn’t ask you to change hearts. He simply asks you to spend time with him and be present in the lives of people around you so you can impart what you possess in Christ. Be gracious to others, love them deeply and speak truth into their lives in order to serve them as Christ graciously serves you.
God calls us to love what he loves and what God loves is people. He gave his life for them. We cannot make a difference for Christ if we are not loving people and investing in them. As followers of Christ we are called to make followers of Christ. Step one, spend time with Jesus. Step two, invest time in people around you. If you are following step one, you will naturally share Christ when you engage in step two.
So, make a plan! First, decide when you will meet with Jesus? As you begin to meet with Jesus the second step is to invest time in others. Use that time to impart what God has taught you. If you are married or have children, make them your priority. After that, begin reaching out to those around you. These two simple steps can make one significant difference for Christ. In the end I hope you see anyone can be used of God if they would but use their time wisely.