Not long ago, I was engaging a fellow traveler in conversation and didn't seem to be getting anywhere. A little voice in my soul kept saying, “Tell him about hell.” I didn't want to, so I kept majoring on heaven. “Maybe I can get him into the kingdom and then let him read the small print later,” I suggested to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was not amused.
So I took a deep breath and told him the whole truth and nothing but the truth as it is in Jesus. He looked at me amazed and asked incredulously, “You believe in hell in this day and age?”
“I have no alternative,” I replied. “Jesus talked more about hell than heaven.”
“Oh,” he responded. “We don't believe in hell in our subdivision!”
Now it was my turn to be incredulous. “How do you know what people in your subdivision believe? It doesn't sound as if you sit around shooting the breeze about religion,” I said.
He backed down and an amazing thing happened. As we got down to the nuts and bolts of the gospel, his interest deepened, and I believe God was able to make an eternal difference in his heart.
We can make an eternal difference in someone’s life by introducing them to Christ. That is the first thing. Then we can make an eternal difference by nurturing them to maturity, because they will then make an eternal impact by leading someone else to Christ! Then we can make an eternal difference by our prayers.
The Bible is pretty clear about how we can change lives for eternity. Being faithful to tell everyone the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is our mandate. So we must have unfailing trust in the truth of the power of the Spirit, applied to the human dilemma, and be faithful to share that true truth with our skeptical world. The Bible is a two-edged sword whatever people think they believe about it. Wield it, and they will feel its sharp edge.
Second, we can make an eternal difference in someone else's life if we invest in the nurturing of a man or woman, boy or girl, once they have become a Christian. One of the first things that the girl who led me to faith taught me how to do was this very thing. “Its no good bringing a new baby Christian into the world and then leaving him or her on the doorstep,” she said.
So she showed me the verse that says newborn babies need to drink a lot of milk so they can grow, and then she showed me how to mix the formula (1 Pet. 2:2-3).
“But I’m such a new Christian myself,” I whined.
“This will help you grow up in a hurry,” she answered cheerfully. She was right!
“All you need to do is stay one step ahead of them,” she advised.
So I tried to be faithful to disciple the people I was leading to Christ, and 'oh the joy' one day when one of the girls in my university group made an eternal difference by leading her first person to Christ! I showed her how to mix the formula, and she went happily on her way to make an eternal difference all over again.
There is a third way you and I can make an eternal difference. Prayer. Guess what? You don't even have to get up off your knees to make an eternal difference in someone else's life! If there is a failure of nerve in the Scriptures, and a benign neglect of the newborn in our churches, there is certainly a criminal absence of prayer.
Prayer, intercession particularly, demands discipline and endurance. Two words that none of us appreciate. If we are going to make our lives count for eternity, then we need to be on our knees with our face to the 'Rising Son!" all day, every day. Not that we can literally be in that posture because there is work to be done, families to be cared for, and ministries to be engaged in, but we can surely be' there' metaphorically as we go about our daily duties.
Making an eternal difference is what the Christian should be about. That is the reason we are left here after our conversions, otherwise God would take us immediately to heaven the moment we come to faith!
Spend a little time thinking about the people who made an eternal difference in your life and then spend time in prayer asking God to renew your fervor for evangelism and discipleship. And remember, don't major on one at the expense of the other. Be an eternal balanced blessing to your family, your church, and your world!
Just Between Us Magazine