Reason #6: Your Life and Witness Will Be Stronger, Effective

Recall again the parable of the sower, and the thorns that choke the word, making it unfruitful.  We must continue to remind ourselves that this parable is not about unsaved people.  The seed was sown, and it was planted.  It took root and grew.  But its growth was stymied by half-hearted devotion and the distractions of the cares of the flesh.

We who want freedom must desire an undistracted life.  This kind of life is one that effectively maximizes God’s plan to use you to be His witness in the world.  Think about the areas of your life where God has used you.  Think about ministries, charities, activism, and discipleship.  How effective can you be in those tasks if your mind is constantly thinking about surfing the web at the same time?  About your favorite internet model? How effective can you be when you’d rather be elsewhere? When these people kind of annoy you with all their real world problems, and you’d rather just wade into the pool of prostitutes and naked women?

This is why God wants an undivided heart.  A compromised life is an ineffective life.  Romans 12 says we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  That means we aren’t distracted by all kinds of other things.  We have a faith-based mission, and we are going to change the world, one day at a time.

James 1:23-25
Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one is like a man considering the face of his birth in a mirror.  For he considered himself, and he has gone away, and he immediately forgot what sort of man he was.  But the one having looked into the perfect law of liberty, and having continued–not having become a forgetful hearer, but a doer of work–this one will be blessed in his doing.  (NT Transline)

James also talks about the “double-minded” person who is blown and tossed by the wind because of his doubts.  And where does doubt originate?  One place is a distracted life, filled with all kinds of unnecessary concerns.  Misplaced priorities.

In both cases, you have a person who hears lots of truth–this is someone who goes to church regularly–but does nothing with it, and when the fires of life get turned up and faith is mixed with doubt, he gets thrown around into chaos.  He hears, but he does not respond.

Action reveals character. If God’s character is indeed growing inside you, then your actions should start to reflect this. James calls this the “law of liberty.” It’s interesting to think of liberty as a law.

Like many of God’s mysteries, He has injected them into the fabric of human life. Give, and it shall be given to you. Do unto others. You reap what you sow. And also, the law of liberty. If you go out and do what you have heard, if you live according to the truth, freedom, grace, and power you keep hearing about, then you will operate within the law of liberty. But, if you keep enslaving yourself to addictive sins and selfish desires, you operate outside the law, and you lose the effects of liberty.

Some people call this “depression.” But in essence, you’ve lost your identity.  You’ve forgotten who you are after just being reminded.

“That was a great sermon.”

“Yeah, sure was.  Let’s see who’s winning.”

“Whoa. Check out that cheerleader.”

If our identity is not in Christ, then what will we say to people when an opportunity suddenly arises to share the gospel, or speak into someone’s life, or help a friend or coworker, or show love to an unsaved person?  We’ll be uncertain, hesitant, wavering in discomfort.  You know the feeling.  The same one the other eleven disciples felt as they watched Peter jump into the sea and walk on water–the only man other than Jesus ever to do this.  Sure, he didn’t last long.  But those few seconds taught him more than the others could ever learn standing safely in the boat.

On the contrary, an effective life sees opportunities, and with the confidence and boldness Paul regularly prayed for, steps up and takes advantage of it.  An effective life sees a chance to reveal something about God’s nature and love to another person, and seizes the moment.  An effective life gets up in the morning and goes to work or school, and knows the reason why it’s doing this.  An effective life sees the prize waiting at the end, and knows that’s worth putting aside all the distractions of the world.

In short, an effective life makes a difference.  And we want freedom from sin, because otherwise we will not have an effective witness, and our impact in the world will be minimal at best, negative at worst.