Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Maybe Our Actions Need To Meet Our Words
The first reason our evangelism isn’t believable is because it isn’t done in grace for each person.I cannot disagree with this, but I do think there is a missing element. When our evangelical example - Christ incarnated and gave us grace there was something that made Him attractive to people. I can read how to preach like him. I can touch lives as he did - but there was, at least as I read the gospels, something different.
Paul isn’t just saying evangelism is our responsibility; he’s telling us to do it “in person.” Unfortunately, a lot of evangelism is an out of body experience, as if there aren’t two persons in a conversation. It’s excarnate, out of the flesh, not incarnate — in the flesh.
A second reason people find our evangelism unbelievable is because it is foolish.
Paul isn’t just telling us evangelism is personal; he’s telling us to do it with wisdom. Wisdom possesses more than knowledge; it expresses knowledge through understanding. It considers life circumstances and applies knowledge with skill. Another word for this is love.
Back in the day when I was doing Young Life we used to say that people should know there is something different about us, as Young Life leaders, simply becasue of who we were and how we lived our lives. That's what I am talking about when I talk about "something about Jesus." It's not action, it's character, but it is more than character - It is the obvious, but not necessarily miraculous presence of the Holy Spirit. (Christ, of course, is the Holy Spirit, so...)
When it come to evangelism, we keep looking for what to do when I cannot escape the thought that we need to be concentrating on who we are. Incarnating the gospel is not just about being in person with people. It is also about the gospel being real, and present and different in our lives. Put negatively, we talk about the promises of God, but our lives do not reflect the reality of those promises. In my experience in most Christian settings, we are a bit more polite, but we are essentially driven by the same base instinct that everyone else is. The grace of God elevates even those base instincts, if we but let it.
The key to successful evangelism is not what we do "out there;" it is what we let God do "in here."