“If we claim to be Christian, we should be like Christ.” -John Stott
“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
“It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” - St. Francis of Assisi
“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
A disciple of Jesus is always learning and is always teaching.
Our lives, indirectly and sometimes directly, teach people what we are about. Our lives are constantly speaking about what we believe. This can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing depending on what our values are and depending on the information we take in and the content that we are learning. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” We speak what we have internalized. We proclaim what we know and hear.
As disciples of Jesus, our lives are to be megaphones for the good news of Christ. We are to know Christ so intimately that our lives proclaim Jesus. When others look at us, they should see Jesus in us. St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying it this way, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” In other words, our lives teach the lesson. When our lives are consumed by Christ, others will see Christ in us. Our lives should be lived in such a way that they speak of our God. It has been said that “People will believe a sermon they see before they will believe a sermon that they hear any day.” As disciples of Jesus we must intimately draw near to Christ so that we are so connected with Him in a way that people who observe us will not know where He starts and we stop, or where we start and He stops. To be a disciple of Christ is to be Christ like.
As disciples of Jesus, we are called to be “little Christ’s.” However, being a disciple of Jesus and being like Jesus is impossible for us. We cannot do this in our own power or in our own strength. We can, however, do this by and through God’s Spirit, power, and strength within us. John Stott, in his book Radical Discipleship, says that Christians should look like Christ and that “God has given us His Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfill his purpose.” God will empower us to be like Jesus in our lives and to be megaphones proclaiming Christ to the world. God’s Spirit will enable our lives to proclaim the message of His good news, His son Jesus Christ.
You may have heard the expression, “Been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.” Usually when we have “been there and done that and gotten the t-shirt,” the shirt we have gotten usually says something about where we have been. This shirt sends a message about that place where we have been, what we did there, what we value, and where we have spent our time. Some people who follow Jesus think that it is enough to share Christ by wearing a shirt that reflects or states their love of Jesus. This is not enough. The world will not know we are Christians, or who Christ is, simply by our t-shirts. The world will know we are followers of Christ by our lives and conduct, as well as our words and teachings. The disciple John says, in 1 John 3:18, we should “not love with words or tongue (only) but with actions and in truth.” Our lives devoted to Christ, and how our lives are lived out in love, will speak of Jesus to the world.
A popular Christian song came from John’s Gospel (John 13:35), and from his first letter of John, and illustrates how people will know Jesus as we live in this love. The song is called “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” According to John, and as illustrated in this song, it is our lives, as they are lived out in God’s love, and as they are lived out in an expression of God’s love, which teach and illustrate Jesus, not our witty Christian t-shirts.
May we live a message of His Love and grace through His great mercy, grace, strength and power,
Stott, John R.W. The Radical Disciple. Intervarsity Press. Downers Grove Il. © 2010
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Mt 12:34
The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. 1 Jn 3:18
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982, S. Mt 28:19-20