Acts 20:18-21 - You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some years ago we were helping a poor refugee family deal with an unscrupulous car dealer. This dealer had sold them a car for a thousand dollars and was trying to swindle them out of a thousand more in unneeded services, knowing they spoke no English and couldn't stand up for their rights. My husband dressed in his clerical collar went with me to talk to the man. He finally agreed to return the money, saying, "I had a Christian grandmother and she read the Bible all the time. I've always remembered her."
I found that very odd. The man was a thorough cheater with a reputation a mile long—yet the Christian example of his grandmother still had the power to move him, 50 years later. Thank God for Christian grandmothers!
And thank God for all Christians, whoever they may be, who have Christ living in them and through them. Paul talks about the kind of example he tried to set for the Ephesians:
"You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials ... For three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'" (Acts 20:18-19, 31, 33-35).
Clearly, Paul wanted them to imitate his way of life in Christ. And yet there was something even more important Paul wanted them to have—something that is the foundation of everything we accomplish in the way of good actions. He wanted them to share his faith, to be strong in Christ Jesus, our only Savior. This is why he said: "And now I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32).
We can live as Christians because Christ Jesus has given us life through His death and resurrection for our sake. No one can produce good fruit for God apart from Christ, but when Jesus lives in us, when the Holy Spirit rules over us, then our lives become something that brings praise to God. And those around us, even liars, and cheaters, will notice. May God use each of us this way.
THE PRAYER: Lord Holy Spirit, live in me and strengthen my faith, so that others will see my life and praise God. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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