I recently began following Chris Martin’s Blog. He wrote a post in September titled, “Jesus first. Everything else second.” He stressed doing everything with love as our motivation. It was a great post and I recommend reading it. Chris wrote about being able to reach out to a young kid whom everyone else seemed to be criticizing. Instead of sounding like everyone else, he was able to simply show him love. It really made me think about how non-Christians view us “Christians.” If I am too preachy or too pushy or too holier-than-thou I won’t win anyone for Jesus. Instead, I’ll be pushing people away. I kept thinking about Paul’s letter to the Corinthians when he wrote:
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23
I don’t mean to say that I don’t want to share the Good News with people, because I do. I’m convinced though that you can’t win people for Jesus if you don’t know them first. Paul got to know people and took on their way of living so that they could trust him before he “won them.” I don’t remember if it was Dave Nelson from K2 in Salt Lake City or Rick Warren from Saddleback that said in one of his sermons, “If you think it’s important enough to talk to someone about God, you should probably talk to God about that someone first.” I think that’s good advice. I think it’s wise to pray about how to approach someone and God will lead you into a divine appointment. I don’t think that appointment can come without prior authentic conversations between the two of you. I want a person to know I love him before I share my faith. I sat down and tried to get in the mind of someone who hasn’t yet built a relationship with Jesus. How would he/she feel towards the stereotypical Christian? What would motivate them to get to know Jesus? How can I be part of that?
I don’t read the Bible.
I don’t own one.
Don’t invite me to church,
‘Cause I probably won’t come.
I don’t need someone else to tell me
I’m doing it all wrong.
I try to act like I’ve got it together
But I’m really not that strong.
It won’t be that verse you can quote
That leads me to the church door.
It won’t be theory and doctrine you argue
That will leave me wanting more.
It will be that you saw
What no one else sees.
My heart will soften
After the love you’ve shown me.
It will be that small act of kindness
You didn’t have to do.
I won’t know Jesus
Until I meet Him through you.
I’ve enjoyed your posts that I have read. I totally agree that building long term relationships is important. But, I think there is also a place for just presenting the Gospel. It’s not really everybody’s thing, but for those who are comfortable with it, it can be effective. Again, you are correct in that we should always present The Gospel with love. I just think sometimes the divine appointment can come in and instant. Keep up the great posts; I enjoy them, especially the food ones!
I was slightly torn as I was writing this because I see it both ways. I agree with you because I have heard stories of people sharing the Gospel with complete strangers and having an amazing success story. I am a coward in that I’ve never approached someone only to share the Gospel with him/her. I hope someday I am that brave. Once I’ve gotten to know people it’s easier for me to open up and share my beliefs and have them comfortably share theirs. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your thoughts and that you took the time to read and respond.
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