Look in the mirror. Think about the reflection you see looking back at you. Have you actually just stopped and done this before??
Some of us probably love some of the things we see reflected… while others maybe struggle to see ourselves the way God sees us.
Proverbs 27:19 says this: As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
We’re reminded that what God really sees in us is what’s in our hearts.. and what’s in our hearts is what we’re reflecting back to the world.
When we have things like love.. goodness.. when we have kindness in our hearts.. THAT’S what we reflect back to the world.. that’s what the world sees. That’s what others see about who we are .. and it’s what God wants us to see about ourselves.
TODAY.. ask a trusted friend.. a small group leader.. a trusted adult.. to tell you some the things THEY see reflected in your heart. And go the extra mile here… GO to a trusted friend and encourage them with what YOU see in their heart.
1 John 3:11 says this: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
Love. one. another. This seems like a pretty simple command, doesn’t it? It actually can’t get any more simple.
In theory, loving others is certainly an easy thing to do. But in real life? Well, it’s not always so easy! When people hurt or wrong us… Well, then loving one another becomes a lot more difficult. The good news is that we aren’t asked to figure this out on our own. God can work in us to help us love others. And when we make the simple effort to show love to everyone—even those who are the hardest to love—we’re showing a little bit of who God is to the world around us. Write this verse down somewhere you can see it this week as a reminder to use your influence to love those around you.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Everyday.. you make choices.. and sometimes.. those choices can threaten our potential to influence others for good. SOMETIMES.. those choices we make are things everyone sees and knows about. OTHER times.. those choices are done in secret. EITHER WAY — one of the best things we can do to move forward from our mistake AND regain our influence is to confess to others. Sharing our mistakes with people we trust … people who will encourage us.. people that will pray for us.. AND point us back to Jesus.. sharing with THEM is not only a step that will grow our faith.. but it will grow our influence as well.
Is there a sin, an attitude, a behaviour, a habit or a struggle you need to talk to someone about? This week.. share that with a trusted friend or small group leader. We’re not here to judge.. we’re here to help.
The fact is.. whatever you’ve struggled with.. I can confidently promise you.. someone else has struggled with.. AND with God and a community around them… they’ve overcome it.
Day 12. Let’s get a little more real here.
we all sin. We all make mistakes. We all mess up…. And it sucks when that happens.
If you’re like me.. when we DO mess up.. we worry that we’ll never come back from it. .. We worry that we’ll never get it right away. We worry that we’ll never have the influence we once had. We worry that the relationships, the connections will be lost forever.
Here’s the good news. Because of Jesus, we have the potential to be so much more than our sins and mistakes. Jesus doesn’t look at us and see .. liar. Cheater. Failure.
When we confess our sins.. our mess up’s… He forgives us. But it’s more than He purifies us. He makes us new.. wiping out what causes us to mess up.. and giving us a chance to start fresh again.
Is there sin in your life? Are you feeling like you’re being held back away from God. Let me tell you.. confess it God. Believe when you confess and you will be forgiven and made new. And take it one more step.. and let us know. Maybe pray WITH one of our leaders.. You don’t have to carry the burden and shame and guilt of your sins.. of your choices..
1 John 1:9
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
We’re talking about influence.. we’re talking about using our influence for good. And one of the best ways we can use our influence for the good of others is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
What a leader does.. people tend to follow. And believe it or not. YOU ARE A LEADER! Maybe your influence reaching just one person.. maybe a younger sibling .. or a best friend. Maybe your reach is bigger.. like you whole small group.. a whole sports team.. maybe your class. No matter who you’re leading you have the opportunity to influence them towards good things simply by living out those good things in your life. That’s how you set an example and let your light shine. Think about the example you want to set for others and take one step towards being that good influence this week..
It’s easy to get caught up in the things of this world. It’s really easy to measure what have or don’t have against what the WORLD tells us is important. When we measure our lives against the worlds standards.. we’ll ALWAYS feel like we’re coming up short.
In order to change the way we see ourselves.. we have to change our minds. The key word is RENEW. We have to CHOOSE new thoughts.
I’ve been teaching our son that we cannot make the choice to be a Negative Ned (or Nelly) .. but we need to flush him down the toilet.. and choose NEW thoughts. When we find ourselves tempted to think aren’t enough…. When we start to think we don’t have what it takes.. when we feel like we’re falling behind.. we can simply ask God to give us new thoughts.. TRUE thoughts.
And let me share this.. I’m preaching this short devotional to myself.
his week.. ask God to renew your mind.. to change your thoughts about who you are and what He’s given you..
Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
Allow me to take a second and remind you… whether you realize this or not.. whether you believe it.. I’m gonna say it anyways..
We all have influence. YOU have influence. And with that .. comes a choice for how we use it. We can use our influence for the good of others.. or not.
When we do things like .. pass judgement.. when we say harsh words.. when cause conflict.. when we gossip.. we’re not using our influence the way it was intended. Instead, we’re dragging others down.. We’re actually putting obstacles in their path for them to stumble on as they try and move forward. That’s not at all the influence God is calling us to have.
This week.. reach out to your small group leader.. or any leader.. or a trusted adult. Talk to them about ways you might be causing others to stumble. (Here’s a hint.. you have to be honest.. ) Ask for their help to make a shift toward using your influence to encourage those people instead.
Have you ever heard the phrase “go the extra mile.” It’s a phrase .. it’s a principle we’re teaching our son right now. Here’s the meaning behind that phrase. It comes from Matthew 5:41-42
“If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.”
If passion a Jewish person, a Roman solider could order them to carry their stuff for one mile. They didn’t have choice. They HAD to. Here..in this passage.. Jesus is encouraging the Jewish audience to not stop at just one mile.. but to go another one. To DOUBLE their generosity.
The same encouragement applies to us today! We have SO many opportunities to use our influence to be generous .. and to go the extra mile for someone else.
This week.. here it is. Look for ways to step out and be generous. (Here’s a tip.. dunno how? Ask God.. he’ll give you ideas.)
Go the extra mile.. do more than what is asked.. (or told) for a friend.. a family member.. a teacher, a small group leader.. someone at the store.
and then WATCH.. WATCH!! How that generosity impacts not just THEM.. but you as well.
When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
There’s an episode of Friend’s that I appreciate.. I can even relate to it… For those that are fans of Friends.. you’ll get it.. Joey and his food.
Sharing is a practice most of us learn before we can even talk. As kids, we’re told to share our toys. Easy enough.. right? Here’s the thing.. as we grow older.. what we’re called to share becomes a little more difficult. SOON.. it’s not just our possessions.. it’s our time. Our energy…our money.. our talents or abilities.. Whatever we have.. whatever we’ve been given.. God calls us to share with those who might need it.
Let’s be honest for a second… that isn’t always an easy thing to do. As Romans 12:13 reminds us.. part of using what God has given us well means using it for the sake of others. THAT will make a big impact AND have a major influence on the world around us. Here’s your challenge. Memorize today’s verse as a simple reminder to share what you have with others.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
So many of us want to do big things for Jesus. We have these great ideas and goals.. But sometimes, that big vision for big things causes us to lose sight of the importance of smaller things we can do for Him too. Some of the SMALLEST things can turn out to have the biggest impact.
Think about this: Today’s verse calls us to do this.. to think of ways to motivate one another. Andy Translation: encourage each other towards what’s best for our lives.. Cheer each other on. Share ideas and resources. Have you had an idea that worked when it came to sharing God’s love? SHARE THAT! To offer that kind of encouragement to someone - even if it seems to be a small act in the moment - can have a HUGE impact.
Spend some time today making a list of people you can motive on.. that you can encourage toward Good things this week. THEN.. choose ONE person from your list .. and encourage them in a small way.
You’d be surprised how POWERFUL a simple word.. text, phone call.. “GOOD JOB” really is.