Reposted from Radical Mentoring
If you look around, you probably know people who don’t believe in Jesus. Maybe quite a few. Occasionally, you run into someone that sticks with you . . . someone you’re drawn to and who’s drawn to you. What to do?
First, pray. Is this an opportunity God has put in your path? Or is it your idea to do something good for God? Or is it just a chance to someday brag about how you ‘led them to the Lord?’ If God gives you a peace and an unction to engage, you’re being invited into a great work He’s doing. Run with it.
Second, you’ve got to choose to love the person. You may like each other as acquaintances today but conversations about faith can quickly bring division, even enmity. So pray up and get ready to love him no matter what he says or what happens. You can’t minister to someone you don’t love. And he won’t care to know what you believe or what you have to say if he doesn’t know you care.
Third, ask yourself this question. “Is he disrupted?” There are two kinds of disruption: negative (painful) or positive (visionary). Negative disruption is ‘heat.’ People are more apt to openness and change when they’re in trouble than when everything’s going smoothly. Positive disruption is ‘light’ . . . where people see someone, a future, a better version of themselves and they’re disrupted by the desire to have it. It’s pretty hard to motivate anyone to new ideas or beliefs if they’re not disrupted. Sometimes the best you can do is position yourself in their lives so they remember and turn to you for help when they are disrupted.
Fourth, try to hone in on his specific doubts and hang-ups. One of the most effective questions I’ve used in these conversations, not right off the bat but after the person knows you’re trying to help them (and trusts that you’re not just trying to ‘save’ them) is this. “What are the three biggest hang-ups you have about becoming a Jesus-follower?” (Not a Christian . . . that’s a loaded word these days!) Do not try to answer or respond to his questions on the spot. That’ll make him feel that your answers are canned. Write down their questions and then respond by saying “Let me work on these for you. I’ll reach out when I have something worth sharing” (This gives you another reason to purposely get back together). Then go pray; ask God to lead you to the Truth He has for your friend. Do some reading and research. Go back to your friend with real, individualized, relevant answers to his questions.
Finally, you might ask him to study the Bible with you for a month or so. Yeah, I know . . . that seems over the top. But you might be surprised by his willingness and by the outcome. Years ago, I put together a study of the book of John that has a short reading assignment and a personalized prayer every day for 30 days. I asked an unbelieving friend to do this with me and he shocked me by saying yes. We met once a week to discuss what ‘bubbled up’ from his reading and prayer. Before we finished the study, he chose to believe in Jesus.
Prayer, obedience and intentionality. That’s our part. God does the rest.
God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)
Reposted from The Isaiah 53:5 Project
“While sitting in a coffee shop reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, I put down the book and wrote in my notebook, ‘the evidence surrounding the claims of Christianity is simply overwhelming.’ I realized that my achievements were ultimately unsatisfying, the approval of man is fleeting, that a carpe diem life lived solely for adventure is just a form of narcissism and idolatry. And so I became a believer in Christ.”
Reposted from The Life Project
How would you approach such a quandary as a Christian? Would you approach it as a legalist and say that a person is sacred if they have behaved themselves and done certain other things that make them “cool” in the church? Perhaps one might say that a person who is a Christian is sacred, but that the lost are not, or maybe that people who are really good are sacred, while the rest are not. Some might suggest that a person is sacred if they are a member in good standing in their particular denomination, or even that no one is sacred until they die and go to heaven.
Yet, I wonder how God looks at this; would He see it the way we do?
Maybe God would say that a person whose sins are forgiven is sacred, and those who remain in their sins are unclean…
I wouldn’t presume to tell you that I am privy to all of God’s thoughts, but I can suggest that Scripture might give us some insight on this topic that can lead us to draw some conclusions.
As we have seen in a previous series of posts, all humans are created by God in His image, and yes, even after sin entered the world in Genesis 3, we still bear His image. With that being the case, and the image of God being in itself sacred, we all have an element of sacredness inherent in our beings; His image. Each of us was conceived in the mind of God and created in every detail with His intentional purpose in mind with talents and gifts, not to mention intelligence as God saw fit to give, and I doubt that God is in the habit of creating that which is unclean or inherently bad.
Yet in spite of this, we make choices as we walk through life, and sooner or later each one of us makes choices that are at odds with the ways of God; some really go out on a dark extreme and really make a mess of things. Yet even in such a dark place, distant and far from God’s presence and will, He still loved us:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Because of God’s amazing love, He sent His Son to die for each one of us, while humanity was still in its sinful rebellion. I don’t know about you, but offhand, I can’t think of any cases in Scripture when God was said to have loved that which was evil, bad or unclean. In fact, the second greatest commandment was that we love our neighbor as ourselves; He made no mention of our neighbor needing to be perfect first, did He?
In fact, which of the patriarchs was so perfect? How about the great Israelite kings David and Solomon; were they perfect? No, I didn’t think so.
I would maintain that every single human being is sacred in God’s sight, not because of the way we behave, but because we were created by God in His image with a purpose that transcends this world. Of course, there are many sacred ones out there who aren’t all that attractive, and some behave in really nasty ways, in rebellion against everything God is and stands for. Yet I really don’t believe for an instant that this sad state of affairs means that they aren’t sacred in God’s sight; can you guess why that is?
Two reasons: First, they are precisely the ones Jesus gave His life to save, and second, because God has gone to all of the trouble to put you and me in this world to take the good news to such people, that they might be brought into His light. Imagine for a moment how different this world might be if more of us saw such people through God’s eyes and took our commission more seriously.
Come to think of it, I have another question to ponder: Who grieves God’s heart more, the lost person who dwells in darkness and acts accordingly, or the Christian who dwells in the light with all of the riches of Christ at his or her disposal, but who is afraid to get their hands dirty taking the light to those dark places where so many need it so desperately?
Yes, I’ll need to ponder that one for some time…