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GROWING IN CHRIST

"A Simple Man"

Date published: 08/17/2015
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV) 

    My father of 99 years recently passed away. We were best friends. We worked 28 years side by side, studied the Bible together, prayed together, ate multiple times together each week, traveled together, and constantly shared with one another. Reflecting on the life of someone allows you to see things you probably intuitively knew, but can now more clearly see a picture that better identifies who the man himself was. My father was not a spiritual giant or even a highly spiritual man, but he allowed Christ to deeply impact who he was. My father’s life vividly demonstrated how the powerful impact of Christ on his character exceeded how we often measure Christians – that being knowledge, disciplines, and activities. 

    My father lived out 1 Peter 4:10 by allowing God to maximize his gifts, while bringing out the best in others, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” (NIV) Your gifts are important, but more important is how God can use your gifts  in the body of Christ for the glory of the church and God’s kingdom. Living this type life does not make you the center, but collectively draws the body of Christ together as the center. Your gifts become less obvious, yet become integral to the collective good and work of God. 

    My father consistently exhibited three character traits that are so important in the vitality and life of today’s church: 1) I watched him live out Romans 13:8 like no other person I’ve seen, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” (NIV) No matter how difficult a relationship, he always ended on the side of love.  2) He had an amazing humility to forgive no matter the circumstances. He could swear he would never forgive, but before we talked again he had already moved on in forgiveness. He could not help himself! Colossians 3:13-14 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (NIV) 3) My father lived out 1Corinthians 4:2 in faithfulness as no other person I have known, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (NIV) He always remained true to his relationships and commitments. 

   My father was not a brilliant business person, an innovative genius, wealthy, or blessed with an abundant set of gifts, but he loved God, loved people, and lived in God’s ways. He was gifted because he walked with God. We can all learn from such a man. 

Titus 2:7-8 “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (NIV) 

Do you know someone who needs this message on being used by God? If so, forward this devotion to them as a blessing for their growth in Christ. 

Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Your Life in Christ” and “Satisfaction.” 

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