A continuation of yesterday’s post…
We do our research, we refuse to shy away from hard questions, we are not afraid to look at other people’s beliefs and viewpoints and we ask them to share their thoughts, listening with our whole hearts to what they have to say. And?
Live What You Believe. Radiate Joy.
A prominent Atheist once said that he has no respect for Christians who don’t evangelize. If we believe what we believe, he stated, then we must really hate him if we don’t try to convert him to Christianity.
I am realizing that I need to do some more growing in this area. But there is a big difference in “being evangelistic” and “living evangelism.” There is a big difference between standing on a street corner, shouting out a condemning message of fire and brimstone, and living a life of love that proclaims the goodness of God by its very nature. One pushes people away, the other draws people to you and makes them want to know what makes you tick. Fear and anger are not what make love grow, and really loving God is what causes people to honestly change. I think we need to be very careful about how we get people’s attention. Yelling about everyone else’s sin might get their attention, but not in the way we’d like to have it. In addition to that, it opens us up to accusations of hypocrisy….and justifiably so. There’s a place for discussions about God’s Holy nature and man’s sinful one, but it’s not a good opening line. I’m not saying that street evangelism doesn’t have its place, just that it should never be a message of hate, or words of judgement without being balanced with love and grace.
So what about “living evangelism”? Living your faith can be hard, and being a Christian doesn’t mean that suddenly everything in your life is perfect and you will automatically radiate peace and love with your every breath! On the contrary, it can sometimes be a daily fight to stay afloat and some days will always be better than others. I’ve thought for a couple of days about the Atheist’s challenge to the Christian’s need to evangelize, and my response to it is this: That we should dedicated ourselves to making our lives a daily proclamation to God’s grace and love, working constantly to iron out the things in our lives that don’t give Him glory and to nurture the things that do. We should remind ourselves that people are looking at us and judging by our actions what it is to be a Christian…are we living in grace? Are we kind? Forgiving? Do we take care of the poor, love the friendless, show honest concern for those in need? Do we reject sin, or are our actions not matching up with our words? Above all, are we joyful? Perhaps that’s one thing that we don’t show enough of…the joy we have in Christ. If we make our faith look like work and drudgery, we’re not being very effective evangelists. Who will want what we have if what we have looks boring, difficult, or miserable? If you’re feeling that way about your faith…this might be a good time to think about why and maybe find a way to fix it. I don’t advocate church-hopping, but if you’ve done everything you can within yourself to find joy in your faith and you’re still feeling like being a Christian is work and not joy, it may be time to look for a new church home or different denomination.
If we live a life that attracts others, that really is a light in the darkness, then telling people about our faith becomes much easier. I’m not saying there’s no place for other types of evangelism, but if people are drawn to us and want to know why we are the way we are…if they want what we have, it makes it infinitely easier to tell them about Christianity and have it sound like truly good news!
Find part three of this series here.