When we consider the heart, mind, will and purpose of our Lord for His blood-bought children, this text gives clear direction for both our personal lives and practical ministries.
The first aspect is to love the Lord in the obediences of personal INTIMACY with Him. The subsequent manifestation of that involvement ought to be seen in the ministry of practical INFLUENCE.
As we grow ever closer in our intimacy with Him, the reflection of His character and nature will begin to be seen in His love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness,goodness, faith, meekness and self-control ( see Galatians 5:22-23). That image of Christ, given for others to see, becomes the influence for Christ to those who watch.
How often do we "get the cart before the horse", and strive for influence apart from intimacy?
At that point, we are actually ministering in the flesh, and find it both exhausting and often ineffective.
May God help us to focus on intimacy with Himself, and see His Spirit bring the influence of Christlikeness on those in whose world He has placed us as ambassadors for Him. Then, according to 1 Peter 3:15, we will " ... sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" Then our ministry influence will afford opportunities to evangelize the lost, exhort the wayward, and encourage the faithful.
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