How You Can Transform a Life Today, Biblically
by John D. Barry, CEO of Jesus' Economy
Our world is full of problems. It feels overwhelming. But the solution starts right here, with each of us. Here are some practical and biblical steps you can take today to transform a life.
SPEAK WORDS OF LOVE AND PEACE
Much of the rhetoric of today has become filled with anger and hate. The Bible calls us to be peacemakers. Jesus once said:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9 NIV).
If we truly think of ourselves as children of God, those saved by the grace of Jesus, then we should be peacemakers. Rather than lashing out at others with hateful rhetoric and disdain, we should consider how we can show other people the very love of Christ.
That can be difficult when we feel ostracized for our faith, but that’s the time when such actions are most needed. Just after Jesus’ line about peacemakers, he says:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10–12 NIV).
If we experience persecution and difficulties truly for the sake of the gospel then Jesus considers us blessed. We have become like the prophets of old. Our response to pain, difficulties, and persecution should always be love.
Jesus even went so far as to tell us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43–48). We are to love and leave justice in Jesus’ hands. Jesus summarizes this nicely when he says to Peter:
“Put your sword back in its place … for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52 NIV).
Peace is a masterful plan. It gives us the ability to completely trust God with our future. When we respond out of love, we silence hate.
REALLY LIVE THE BIBLE’S MESSAGE
Far too many people claim belief in the Bible but don’t really live its message. The Bible’s calling is clear: We are to self-sacrificially love others. It is not enough to claim belief in Jesus without taking action. The book of James puts it this way:
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” (James 2:14 NIV).
Jesus explained this idea when he differentiated between authentic and inauthentic believers by their actions on behalf of the stranger, sick, and imprisoned (Matthew 5:31–46). For Jesus, anyone who claimed to have experienced his saving grace but did not act on behalf of the outsider, marginalized, and helpless simply did not know him.
Take action today to empower others—really live the Bible’s message. Make a self-sacrificial choice for the sake of the gospel.
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
In my experience, there are many Christians who like to talk about ideas but when it comes to action, there is silence.
Jesus did not tell us to simply speak about the gospel; he told us to take action on behalf of the gospel. In the book of Acts, Jesus frames the message this way:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NIV).
Jesus’ message necessitates action. The remainder of the book of Acts illustrates this point. Starting from Jerusalem and moving out to the rest of the world, the early church begins to spread the word about Jesus’ saving act.
When you truly experience Jesus, you can’t help but take action. For far too long, we have talked about the need to bring the gospel to unreached people groups yet there are still 3,000 people groups without a single missionary. In Bihar, India alone—where the organization I lead is working—there are 101 Million people who have never heard the name of Jesus.
We need solutions to these problems. And that starts with each of us taking action. We need to be willing to give of our time and resources for the sake of Jesus’ mission. We should be willing to do so, to the point it hurts.
At one point a man said to Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 NIV). What are you looking back at? What do you need to let go of? How can you take action for the sake of reaching the unreached today?
Photo credit: Unsplash/Suzanne D Williams
John D. Barry is the CEO of Jesus’ Economy, an innovative non-profit creating jobs and churches in the developing world. At JesusEconomy.org, people can shop fair trade and give directly to a cause they’re passionate about, such as bringing the gospel to unreached people groups. John is also the general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and the author or editor of 30 books.