Our Lord Jesus Christ lived a passionate life of faith. If you watch and listen to Him, above all, He was passionate for His Father and for His glory. This is the passion that defined Christ our Lord.
Therefore, Jesus was passionate for others to know His Father as He did. He lived to tell others all about the Father. Jesus' actions back His message that God the Father is passionate for relationship with you. He sought to obey the Father, to carry out His will in everything.
By His life and words and actions, Jesus revealed the Father to others.
John 14:9... "He who has seen Me has seen the Father."
People watched Jesus. Many watched Him critical; others watched hopefully.
After He ascended to His Father, people watched His disciples, and they saw Christ in them.
One day, Peter and John were arrested. They acted on their faith, they healed a man, and their works opened the door for them to tell them about Jesus. It also earned them a night in jail, which only enflamed their passion.
After being jailed, they were acted and spoke boldly.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
These two reflected Jesus! People saw Jesus all over them. They saw the difference that Jesus made. And this earned them the opportunity to share Jesus with an entire city of people.
Knowing that you follow Jesus, people watch you, at work, in your neighborhood. They read your reactions; they read your posts. Some are critical but others are hopeful to see if Jesus makes any real difference to you.
But if other passions define you, they may not see Christ in you.
God knows this and tells us who we are, gives us a passion for His glory, and says let this passion define and direct you.
1 Peter 2:9 You are the chosen of God, a kingdom of priests in His service, distinguished as God's holy people, His prized possession, so that you may proclaim the wonders of God who's called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… 12 So keep your behavior excellent among your unbelieving neighbors, that your actions will refute their prejudices, so that they glorify God when Christ returns because they saw your deeds and believed.
We want to be known for so many things, our knowledge, our skills, our sex appeal, our children, because we seek our worth in them. But Christ calls us His own and wraps His glory over us which completely redirects our passions.
On two occasions Jesus said "I am the Light of the World," He is the living source of light. But in Matthew 5, Jesus tells those of us who believe in Him,
Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world… 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
How do we do this? How do we reveal Jesus to others rather than just be moral and do good things?
So we reveal Jesus, actually, Jesus reveals Himself through us when we welcome God to produce the life of Christ in us.
So everything starts with Jesus, not us.
Here are three ways you can reveal Jesus to others:
1. Meet real needs (particularly via spiritual gifts)
Jesus showed people the Father and revealed the wonders of His love when He met real needs. When He forgave sins. When He cast out demons.
1 John 3:17 Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
Jesus gave an example of washing each other's feet. That made sense for back then. It wasn't a huge, desperate need but it was a basic need. Everyone was uncomfortable yet nobody else was willing to do anything about it.
COVID and the lockdown are really making this harder to do. But we must be careful not to fear and social distance ourselves into isolation and inaction.
Maybe it's as simple as texting or making a phone call. Offering a family childcare or tutoring during COVID. Going grocery shopping for someone. Following up with someone who is pretty distressed and needs God's love.
How do you personally lean into the spiritual gifts that God's given you during COVID?
Our spiritual gifts are ways that Christ works through us to reveal Himself to others. Spiritual gifts are anointed capacities to serve which the Holy Spirit specially works through, so these guide us to serve others in a way God prioritizes.
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
When by faith you serve others as God has equipped you, the Holy Spirit operates through these special gifts, so people experience God's grace. They have the opportunity to see our LORD working in you and the difference that Jesus makes becomes more than words to them.
2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
This leads to a second way you can reveal Jesus to others,
2. Love others when you'd rather do anything but love
The challenge is to love God more than others. It is to realize the loving response our LORD wants to give to that person who's driving you crazy. Be passionate about the love, the fruit that Jesus wants to express through you.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
These spiritual gifs aren't feelings that we are to muster up, these are the fruit of a passionate faith in Jesus that wants His will, His glory. The fruit of the Spirit refers to the actions God's Spirit enables when we allow Him to work in us.
1) When someone offends you online or at work and you want to read them the riot act, "I am with you to love them." The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace. 2) When someone says or does something to upset you and you want to put them in their place, Christ in you wants to show them kindness; for the fruit of yielding to the Spirit is patience, kindness, goodness. 3) When you want out and you don't even care what happens, God does! He offers you the faithfulness of Christ, gentleness, self-control.
Whenever your love is tested, whenever you'd rather do anything but love, God says, "You can still love them! Humble yourself and rely on Me."
When we're angry, hurt or offended, how we feel feels so powerful! But when Jesus is present, your feelings have nothing to do with your ability to love them.
This is an issue of trusting Christ-in-you, and yielding to Him because deep inside we have a passion to glorify the Lord who loves us.
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Of course, our works are intended to glorify the God we love. "Let your light shine so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
3. Share the good news about Jesus
This is what it all leads to. Our works open the door to share our passion, Jesus.
Particularly on the cross, Jesus shows God is passion for a relationship with them, to restore them to His family, to give them life abundant and eternal, and to give them His name.
Our message isn't that we have it all together, but we know from Jesus that we're loved by God and our worth is in who He says we are. This is Jesus' gift and it's real and it makes a difference.
Everyone tries to determine their own identity today. They deny who they are to be what they want.
But it's so difficult to be everything that you claim to be, to live up to the person that you want everyone else to admire.
To those who seek their worth and peace and self-acceptance through a self-determined but inauthentic identity, we need to share God's grace and love in Christ. God knows you and loves you. Jesus came to restore you to Him. Christ offers to forgive everything that stands between you, to make things right, and to give you this awesome identity as loved and whole, valued and destined for glory.
If you have a passion for the glory of God in Christ, when you meet people's real needs, when you respond to people with love, when you serve people in ways that help them to flourish, you show people something they rarely see.
And your words about Jesus become more real to them and attractive.
This is the fruit of a faith that is passionate for Jesus.