A Positive Spiritual Influence – I Corinthians 4:15

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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While a youth pastor ministered in a church, there was one young man in particular that was given a great deal of extra love and care. This teen struggled to fit in and get along with the others. To help this young man, every week the youth pastor took this young man along on his visits to those on his bus route. They prayed together, talked about the Lord and the Scriptures. They also joked and laughed. More than thirty years later, these two were reunited for an afternoon. The man now grown told his former youth pastor: “You were the best spiritual influence I had in my whole life. You showed me love, a Christ-like example, and patience. You saved my life…and enabled me to be where I am in my Christian walk today.”

When the Apostle Paul addresses the saints at Corinth, he tells them: “… though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers…” (I Corinthians 4:15). Paul was saying that he was a spiritual father, and a positive spiritual influence, to them. How was this so? In the same verse, he told them: “I have begotten you through the gospel.” The person who leads us to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is certainly a positive spiritual influence. But there were other ways Paul was a spiritual father figure. In I Thessalonians 2:7-12, he gives a vivid list of ways he influenced them spiritually. Most of the time, he was “gentle” with them as he encouraged their spiritual growth (vs. 7). He was “affectionately desirous” toward them (vs. 8), meaning he gave them a pure godly love. He was “willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (vs. 8). As he had been willing to sacrificially spend and be spent for the saints in Corinth, so it was here. Paul also left them a godly example in a good work ethic (vs. 9), while living before them “holily and justly and unblameably…” (vs. 10). Finally, depending on what they needed, he “exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you” (vs. 11).

Paul left a positive spiritual impact on others because he intended to do so. It is time for you to do the same, without delay. Before going to sleep tonight, who will you reach out to so that you might befriend them, and begin a mentoring process in the things of the Lord?

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."