More Than Notches on My Bible

by Paul on October 19, 2009

I worry that some followers of Christ share the Gospel out of insecurity.

If we convince someone that we are right, does that make us feel better about our decision in the first place?  I worry that, for some, evangelism is an act of convincing people so they can feel good about the decision they made to follow Christ.  They don’t love the lost; they just want to feel better about themselves.

I worry that some followers of Christ share the Gospel out of a desire to win.

I’ve been watching some young seminary students lately.  Sometimes I think they get into it with non-Christians because they want to fight (or debate).  The goal of evangelism, for them, is to win.  They win if the person receives Christ or if they make the person look stupid for not following Christ.  They don’t love the lost; they just love winning.

I worry that some followers of Christ share the Gospel because they think it’s the right thing to do.

I had a pastor friend of mine who included foreign missions as one of the core values of his church.  But when you talked to him, he was more passionate about the local community and had little planned for international missions.  One day, I asked, “Do you say you want to do foreign missions because that’s your heart, or because you think it is something you should do as a pastor?”  He sheepishly agreed that it was because he felt he had to do missions to be a good pastor, rather than it being a personal passion.

I think many participate in evangelism programs and talk about evangelism because they think they should be doing evangelism rather than evangelism springing from anything within them.

They don’t love the lost; they just feel guilty about not loving the lost.

I worry that few followers of Christ share the Gospel because they love people.

Few Christians actually take time to get to know anyone outside the church.  They may meet people casually, but never take the time to develop meaningful relationships.  Why?  Relationships are messy things.  Relationships with non-Christians can be really messy.  Relationships can hurt, too.

But if Jesus didn’t want to get hurt, He wouldn’t have come to earth.  He wouldn’t have been friends with Judas either.

What are you doing to cultivate love for the lost in your heart?  Do you ask God to help you love them as He does?  Do you use online tools to listen to them?

When they have bad days, do you weep?  When they celebrate, do you laugh with them?

The love of Christ working in and through you will be the first Gospel any person reads.  If they can’t feel your love, what you have to say really doesn’t matter.

So, here’s the thought: What are you doing in your online ministry to show lost people that you really love them? That you will love them even if they never choose to follow Christ?

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October 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary October 19, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I love my neighbor as myself. They are my friends for life even if they dont choose to accept Christ. I have more non christian friends than Christian friends. Im there for them in good times and bad times. In His Love and Care, Mary

Stephen Young October 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

This is an excellent post and something I am workting through right now. Bottom line, if the motivating factor isn't love, something is wrong. I really apprecitat your words here. I will be writing about the same thing soon. God bless you.
Steve

Demian Farnworth October 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Great question. One thing I try to do is demonstrate that I not only understand their opposing view, but I also respect it. That means, say, telling an evolutionist for example: "Hey, there are a lot of things about evolution that make sense…and I agree that it's our most compelling naturalistic explanation of the universe. I don't blame you for embracing it. Yet…"

Another good gesture is to tell someone they're right and you're wrong. I've been in a couple discussions where I had bad data and made mistaken assumptions. It was clear I was wrong. Best to fess up.

What about you?

Good stuff, Paul.

Katy October 19, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Good thoughts, great challenges. I'm praying for God to cultivate a greater love in me both for Him and for other people. Love for Him and others is really what should drive us to share.

Joseph Louthan October 21, 2009 at 12:08 am

One verse says it all:

We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV)

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