I have been a Christian my entire life, born of Catholic parents and baptized in holy water less than one month thereafter. Like most Catholics I grew up assuming I was on my way to heaven no matter what.
Thankfully I was born again in October 2000 while visiting a friend in California. At age 35, I passionately gave my life to Christ during my very first visit to a Protestant church. It is important to mention this was no ordinary church, and certainly no ordinary pastor.
My first impression of pastor Rick Warren was, to say the very least, shocking. Wearing an exotic short sleeve shirt and khaki trousers, Rick’s attire seemed more suitable for a Polynesian dinner party than a church service. Little did I know he was about to unlock the door to my physical and spiritual future.
Less than 30 minutes into the service, my life was forever changed. As I wept and cried like a child, I felt the holy spirit wash over me like waves of eternal grace. I was born again, I was saved.
A new believer, I felt compelled to contribute to God’s church any way I could. Serving as a volunteer with Saddleback Church, the very church I was saved in, I managed to slowly begin fulfilling my purpose driven mission. A few years into my new and improved spiritual life, I started this ministry in an effort to reach a worldwide audience.
Host to countless visitors from all over the world, the Thrive Through Christ Ministry is best described as “a blessing to many”. A true blessing to those in tune with the word of God, this ministry utilizes an electronic platform from which spiritual seeds are sown and missionary fields are watered.
To evildoers and those not interested in walking the narrow path, this ministry is like a poisonous thorn bush growing rapidly over the internet, choking evil one kilobyte at a time. The love of God, His word found in the bible and the everlasting grace that comes with faith in Jesus Christ cannot and will never be shaken. It comes as no surprise that this ministry continues to be under attack from both skeptics and false prophets.
Going on seven years, I consider myself a young believer. When discussing my spiritual young age recently, a life long Christian took a stand against this ministry claiming I was too young to be a leader. Under attack I exclaimed “no one is too young to share the gospel”. Later I found this scripture in a letter written by Paul:
“12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:12-16)
In these verses Paul invites Timothy to set an example in speech, during which we are to guard our tongues carefully choosing words that become us. “18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:18-19)
I am proud to say since being saved in 2000, I have rid myself and many around me of cursing and expressions not acceptable to God. Are you setting a good example in speech?
Jesus called us to live our lives as servants. “14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:14-16)
While faith inspired behavior may seem effortless for those walking with Christ, it is often by our actions that we Christians are judged by others. Ask yourself this, could most people guess you are a believer simply by your actions?
Paul then refers to love which is the love of God. Christians are called to love their brothers and sisters in Christ, even their enemies just as God loves everyone. “35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
While loving fellow believers who obviously walk with Christ is not such a demanding task, loving those who do us wrong can be quite challenging. This is where prayer plays an important role as we allow the holy spirit to strengthen us in the ways of the Lord, empowering us to love our enemies as Jesus did.
Trusting in God, Timothy is called to set an example through faith in Jesus Christ. By sharing our faith we sow seeds of salvation throughout the nations. Through the word of God, we strengthen our faith in Christ and sculpt ourselves as examples of discipleship. When was the last time you shared your faith?
By purity, Paul involves both physical and psychological cleanliness. Through prayer and immersion in the word of God, we are called to cleanse ourselves from the things of the world. Sexual, carnal and material impurities can be cleansed by the holy spirit but only if we allow ourselves to be washed by the word of God. How are you purifying yourself? What are the objects of your passion, your time?
Always remember this sentence: God is looking for spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
This ministry sows spiritual seeds that were harvested from the fruit that is the word of God. The elements described above are to be embraced and practiced by all Christians, in spite of their level of spiritual maturity.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul defines the godly way of life true believers should strive for. Days spent reading the gospel publicly, sharing our testimonies and leading seekers to Christ as we set an example of discipleship.
You are never too young to set an example, nor will the word of God ever return void. I invite you to abide by the words of Paul written in his letter to Timothy so you too can lead by example and allow those around you to thrive through a relationship with Christ. Let’s pray!
We thank you for looking after us
And for allowing us to worship You,
We thank you for being a part of our lives
And for leading us to the way everlasting.
Lord we pray you will continue to inspire us
To be faithful examples of discipleship,
As we constantly struggle to keep our arrows
Pointing toward the Heavens.
We pray you will continue to lead us along our spiritual road,
Shining your light bright upon us and all those in need
Helping us make the right choices
And stray from secular roads.
God we love you and thank you for all that surrounds us!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre