Scripture Reading: Acts 26
The great evangelist H.A. Ironside was interrupted one time by the shouts of an atheist. The atheist yelled, “There is no God! Jesus is a myth!” and finally, “I challenge you to a debate!”
Ironside responded, “I accept your challenge, sir! But on one condition. When you come, bring with you ten men and women whose lives have been changed for the better by the message of atheism. Bring former prostitutes and criminals whose lives have been changed, who are now moral and responsible individuals. Bring outcasts who had no hope and have them tell us how becoming atheists has lifted them out of the pit!
“And sir,” he concluded, “if you can find ten such men and woman, I will be happy to debate you. And when I come, I will gladly bring with me two hundred men and women from this very city whose lives have been transformed in just those ways by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Ironside knew that atheism doesn’t change lives. Jesus changes lives.
If you’re a Christian, your testimony is like gold to God. The story of how you came to Christ, how He forgave you of your sins and how He gave you the assurance that you will live with Him forever will speak volumes to those around you.
You may not consider yourself a great evangelist. You may not feel like there’s much in your life that others would want to emulate. But the truth is that when others see your changed life, it can lead them to put their faith in Christ, too.
The Apostle Paul knew the power of a testimony. He shared it on many occasions, one of which is in Acts chapter 26 when he was on trial in front of Governor Festus and King Agrippa. After hearing Paul’s story, King Agrippa said to Paul,
“Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
Paul replied, “Short time or long―I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” (Acts 26:28-29).
Paul didn’t claim to be perfect. But he did claim to be changed. He claimed to have had an encounter with the Risen Christ that transformed his life and then he prayed that all who were listening to him would become what he was.
Faith models. Just like a fashion model wears cool clothes to show others what their life might become like if they put on the same thing, a Christian model is one who shows others what their life might become if they put their faith in Christ.
I had a friend who was living an immoral lifestyle. I knew that if he kept it up, it could kill him. I knew because I had lived a similar life, until I put my faith in Christ. I prayed with him one day that he would become what I had become, a Christian. It wasn’t that I thought I was perfect. I wanted him to follow me, because I followed Christ.
Paul called others to follow his lead when he said in 1 Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). It’s not prideful to ask people to become what you’ve become. It’s simply faithful.
An athlete once told his coach he didn’t want to be a role model. His coach said, “It’s not a question of whether you want to be a role model or not. You’re already a role model. The question is whether you’ll be a good one or a bad one.”
You’re already a role model, too, whether you’re a Christian or not. If you’re a Christian, God wants you to model your faith, to let others see it in your life, to let them hear it from your lips―that Christ has truly forgiven you, changed you and given you the assurance that you’ll live with Him forever. If you’re not a Christian, my prayer for you is the same as Paul’s, “that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am…”
Prayer: Father, give me the faith to model my life in a way that leads others to Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.