I’ve found that when we live our lives intentionally as display people, we get plenty of opportunities to talk about why we do it. Lives full of grace and love; schedules rearranged to make space to listen and serve; budgets adjusted to feed and care for people; or words spoken to protect and build up all demand explanations. These things really don’t make sense apart from the gospel. Yet in our explanations to others, we so often forget to give them Jesus.
Paul says to the church in Rome, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Rom. 10:14–15). The feet that run to carry our hands and faces that display the gospel must also bring along mouths ready to declare the gospel.
When we live Jesus-like lives but don’t share the reason we can and do, we rob Jesus of his glory. He deserves the credit for what we do, not us. I understand that we often experience fear or insecurity when opportunities like these come up. I know that it’s not easy for many of us to share Jesus with others.
I believe there are many reasons for this. First, we are in a spiritual battle, so the enemy of our souls tries everything possible to keep us from speaking about Jesus. He can intimidate us to remain silent lest we be mocked or accused. Second, many of us love what people think of us more than we love people. So, in our fear of rejection, we keep our mouths shut. I pray you will love people more than their opinion of you. Third, most Christians have never tried to share their gospel hope, and therefore have never experienced the Spirit of God giving them words and boldness. When you do step out in faith, it’s amazing how he gives you what you need. Fourth, many Christians just don’t know the gospel very well or, if they do, don’t practice sharing it with other believers very often. They aren’t gospel fluent.
But the fifth reason for our silence is possibly the most concerning. I have found that most Christians don’t really believe that their neighbors, friends, and family members will spend eternity apart from God if they don’t have faith in Jesus. Judgment is coming. Hell is real. And apart from faith in Jesus Christ, people will miss out on enjoying life with God forever. It is so important that people are given the good news of Jesus. It’s not our job to get them to believe it. That’s the Spirit’s job. We are called to live lives that demand gospel explanations and, when we have the opportunities, to give people Jesus as the answer for our hope. We might show how Jesus is better than what they have been trusting in. Maybe we listen to their stories and help them find hope, healing, and redemption by filling in the gaps with the true story.
Or perhaps, just by listening, we discover their deeper longings and show how Jesus can do for them what nothing and no one else can.
I can pray, display, and declare, but I can’t save. That’s God’s job. So I will keep on listening, loving, blessing, sharing, and praying.
(Taken from Gospel Fluency Handbook by Jeff Vanderstelt, ©2017)
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