Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why we don't obey Christ's call to "Go"

Marty responded to last Thursday's post with this question:

I know that I too often fail to go. Part of my omission is that I feel under prepared. However, that sense of inadequacy should drive me to pursue with violence to be prepared to give an answer of the hope that is within me. Do you think that preparation is the biggest reason that people do not go? What can we do to be prepared?

I can relate to feeling unprepared and inadequate for the task. Which is pretty convicting. Because if I (a pastor who has been saved for over 25 years; has listened to countless sermons; has read books and attended workshops on evangelism; has graduated from a Christian college and seminary; and has shared my faith on many occasions), if I feel unprepared, HOW MUCH MORE unprepared will most laypeople feel!

I think the #1 reason we don't go is fear. Fear of talking to strangers. Fear of what to say. Fear of how to say it. Fear of when to say it. Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of questions we can't answer. Fear of sounding like a Bible-thumping fundamentalist. Fear of putting ourselves in compromising situations. Fear of rejection. Fear of persecution.

Some of these fears can be remedied through better study, practice, and preparation. Others demand more spiritual courage. All of them require prayer, wisdom, and an utter dependence on the Spirit of God. Some of these fears will only subside as we begin to obey Christ and repeatedly share our faith.

Another reason we don't "go" as we ought is busyness. We get so caught up with the busyness of jobs, of family, of commuting, of ministry, of studying, of hobbies, of entertainment, that we leave little or no time for purposeful evangelism. We get so busy doing stuff -- even good stuff -- that we miss the divine appointments all around us. We must be careful. Busyness can actually be a Satanic strategy to sear our consciences and disguise our fear of obeying Christ's command to Go. If we're too busy to share our faith, then something else needs to be cut out of our schedules.

5 comments:

McC Family said...

Stephen,

Thanks for the post. I think the very reason we fear is because we are unprepared mentally and spiritually. We lack a settled conviction about the truth. We fear man instead of God. We allow the world to influence our thinking that we need to be "tolerant".

We need to go back to the scripture and see the zeal for God's truth in the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles. These men had a firm conviction that God's word is true, Jesus is the Messiah, all people reject God and are in need of a Savior, and Jesus is the all sufficient Savior.

May God stir our affections for those who are dead in their trespasses and sins.

jaylickey said...

Hey,
Well, I thought I might throw in my two cents. I agree that fear is what people feel when they are faced with some evangelistic opportunity. But why do we feel so much fear? My thought is that this fear is rooted in a self-love.

I think everything you said about fear can be tied back to self-love. We fear talking to strangers because we love ourselves more than them. We fear how we will look if we say something wrong or weird because we love our self-image. We fear not being able to answer questions because we love to look smart. We fear looking like a bible-thumper and being rejected because we love being accepted. We fear persecution because we love ourselves and our comfort and ease.

We do not love our neighbors as ourselves because we fear that no one will love us if we turn our effort on them. Truly apprehending what the gospel means for us will free us from this, but until that happens we will always distaste going to the world. The "going" mindset is driven by love for others and that is created by the gospel.

Jerry said...

Pastor Stephen,
I agree with you and Marty about fear of trying to evangelize, but I also think that we make it harder than it really is. I know that you have to step out of your comfort zone but if you really think about it there is ways to withess to people. I like talking to people, if I am in the store I will try to start a conversation about anything. I have not tried this but I think that if you talk to somebody long enough you could eventually find a way to witness to him or her.

Example, if you walk down the isle of the store and you see somebody looking for something I would stop and ask if they would help me with a problem I have, and if they say sure and I think most people would, I would say I am trying to find something for my church pantry for the families in need at my church, and as they start pointing things out I would ask what church they went to and (Iknow this is going to sound bad) hoping that they said they did not go to church, then I would go into how I used to never got to church until I had a crisis that caused me to go, and then when I listen to the guy up front on the stage talk about things that showed me what kind of a dirt bag I really was and mnore importantly that I did not have to be.

At this time if the person I was talking to seemed receptive to what I was saying I would explain the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I would tell that person if they don't believe me come and see and hear it for them self, and give them our church card. I don't think that you have to set down and draw out a plan, when you are talking to people they can tell if you are talking from something that is rehearsed. I do think that you have to set a time aside to just go out and and make this your priority, not just wait for opportunities to arise because this is something we have no choice about, this is a command from our Lord and Savior.

McC Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McC Family said...

Jay I appreciate your comment about self-love. It is true that I love myself, but too often I love myself more than I love my neighbor.

However, my struggle that I face at work is not that I have not preached the gospel, but that I have preached, and my co-workers treat this message as if it were not urgent and did not demand a response.

Anyone have any thoughts on sharing the gospel your fourth or fifth time with the same person? What about nominal Christians that constantly want to give their two cents, but their two cents distract and minimize the message that you are trying to communicate to someone who is attentive to what you are saying? These are the challenges that I face.