On Sunday, we kicked off our 5-week series Pioneers of Change. In the book of Acts, Jesus ascends back to Heaven and essentially leaves a few uneducated, blue collar workers as the hope of the world. God’s grace was sufficient to change all of human history through these few people. Today God’s mission is no different. If you consider yourself a Christian, you are the hope God has given the world. Not self-righteous hope, but we’re to be people of change that bring compassion for the uncared and love where there’s hate. We choose whether to have white-hot faith or lackadaisical, American, suburban faith. It’s our daily choice.
I’m increasingly aware that each day even the (seemingly) smallest decisions can be greatly influential in developing my faith or destroying it. I choose whether to follow Christ or not. (This isn’t to be confused with “free-will”…an idea that may not be entirely Biblical.) Many people want to see their lives be meaningful and serve a greater purpose. Some Christians even want to see their lives be used by God in significant ways. But few people make the daily choices necessary to give God the opportunity to demonstrate His power and favor in their lives.
For example, imagine you really want to be skinny. Desire alone will not make you skinny; you have to eat healthy and exercise. If you want to be a person of great faith, who God uses in significant ways, you have to choose daily to allow the Spirit of God to lead you. It means you show compassion when the opportunity arises. You love the unlovable. You give when it’s uncomfortable. You talk when it’s easier to be silent. You choose to develop your faith, hope, and love in Christ. Faith is a free gift that you can’t earn, but you choose whether to develop it or not.
Look at the early Christians. You can see the development of Peter’s faith. He denies Jesus three times on the way to the cross, but goes on to lead the early Church and is thought to eventually be crucified himself for his faith. Peter matured from someone ashamed of his faith into a person willing to risk his life for the cause of Christ. This happened because he chose to continue to pursue a deeper relationship with God even when it was difficult. When it meant he had to repent, or be jailed, or lose friends, or give his own life. Peter was not the same person when he began his journey with Christ as when he ended it. God had intensified his faith through his experiences.
This development of our faith takes big decisions, but it’s the significance of the small choices that we often don’t recognize. When Jesus first asked Peter to come and follow Him, I doubt Peter was thinking about leaving his home, following Jesus for three years, and then eventually losing his life on account of Him. The first few times Peter did what Jesus told him to, I doubt he was thinking about the BILLIONS of people that claim to be followers of Jesus, two thousand years later. But if Peter had never made those small decisions, the BIG opportunities would have never been presented.
When you think of the small ways God is asking you to obey Him, remember they may have God-sized implications. Don’t diminish the reality that God has called you to be pioneer of change in a self-focused world by overlooking the small choices He gives you each day. Those small decisions may affect His HUGE vision for your life.