God says – get with the program
A CANDID QUESTION OF HOW MUCH WE ARE REALLY SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH OTHERS. As of this writing, I’ve had the same Jehovah’s Witness gentleman come knocking on my door for more than a year now. I’ve kept inviting him back, hoping at some point that he would see from our conversations and from the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit that what he believes is not what the Bible really teaches. We’ve debated doctrine, we’ve debated Biblical interpretation, we’ve pretty much agreed to disagree on just about everything relevant to key doctrines of the Bible: the nature of God, Jesus as the co-eternal second person of the Trinity, who will go to heaven (as opposed, in this man’s interpretation, to spending eternity on Paradise Earth). This gentleman keeps coming back, knocking on my door for more conversation, trying to get me to attend meetings at his Kingdom Hall (which I have continued to decline, in a friendly manner, on the grounds of basic doctrinal differences). But this guy keeps coming back to my door. Maybe it’s because he wants to try to convert me to his non-traditional view of Christianity. Maybe it’s because he enjoys our chats. I do like this gentleman as a person and consider him a friendly acquaintance. Whether this gentleman is being compelled by the leaders of his religious group to go out and make converts, or whether he is truly wanting to see people embrace the truth he thinks he has found, only he and God know. But the question has been seriously nagging me: Why aren’t those of us who claim to believe the orthodox, historic claims of Christianity and who are an active part of Bible-believing congregations show the same fervor and same fire as these other people who could die not knowing that what they believe just doesn’t pass scrutiny?
Word from God: Get with sharing the gospel.
It’s time for us to hit the streets, go to our neighbors, go to our co-workers, go to our classmates, go to our closest friends and let them know what’s really important in our lives. If our walk with Christ is so important, why do surveys by various pollsters continually show that so few of us are sharing our faith? What will these people around us think, if our faith is so important to us, if we wait and wait and wait to talk to them about what is most important in our lives? Does a man get married to his beloved and then hide her away? Does he mention her only as an afterthought, after the other things of life–work, play and dreams–are already discussed and exhausted? What would people think if this man, after so long of going about his daily routine, suddenly mentions his wife in conversation, but had never before told those around him that he was married? What would they think about his marriage, about his commitment to the one he promised to love and cherish, through all circumstances good and bad, until death separated them? I’d be inclined to think that this guy’s marriage probably didn’t mean much to him. He didn’t mention his wife before, so why should anyone think it’s a big deal to him if he’s just mentioning her now? Chances are that this scenario doesn’t happen much like this unless a husband and wife are having problems, maybe don’t want to think much about the other person because of the tensions that arise from thinking of them, or maybe they just want to escape the relationship altogether, and so their spouse has become a non-entity in their lives.
Every time we have the opportunity to talk to others about Jesus but we don’t, we risk making others think that He doesn’t matter to us. This is not to say that every sentence out of our mouths is to be peppered with overtly religious jargon that very well could end up sounding fake. But we talk about the things in our lives that are most important to us, and when we talk about those things our demeanor changes. Observe two newlyweds, with a glow in their eyes from the passion, love and commitment between them. The feelings may indeed fade in some way as circumstances of their lives strip away some of the fuzzy emotions, and as the hard realities of life force them to stick together, work together and solidify their lifelong commitment to each other through all circumstances. There is no easy way to build a relationship. But it’s pretty easy to tell when a man loves his wife, and when a woman loves her husband. And more often than not, the wife takes her husband’s name as a sign that her old identity is gone and her new identity is entwined in her husband’s life, and his life in hers as well. But for those of us who claim to be Christians, who may carry the name but never talk to others about this person called Jesus whom we claim to love, we risk making people think that our relationship with Him is not important, that we didn’t really mean to make this commitment to Him, that maybe we’d even get out of the relationship if we could because it obviously must not be a big deal to some of us and we may even consider it a hindrance to what we could otherwise become.
But if we call ourselves Christians–and by doing do claim to believe that what the Bible says is true–then this life means absolutely nothing without our identity in Christ, because only He who created us, who wants to make us just like Himself and who will never leave us can bring our lives into focus. Only He can help us understand what this life is all about and to give us the peace, joy and strength to share this great news with everyone else who wants to make sense out of life. But we can’t talk about Him effectively unless we’ve talked to Him first. We end up looking pretty stupid when we claim to know what someone wants if we haven’t first talked to that person and spent time with them.
I don’t know why the Lord has given me this message at this time. About half an hour ago He told me to sit down and write, so I did, and these are the words He gave me. I’ll just trust that He will bring whoever needs this message to this place to read it. And I hope they will take this message to others who need it as well.