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August 14, 2015

1

Words of hope when evangelism feels like swimming upstream

by Dave Malnes

Have you ever wondered why it can be so difficult to share our faith with others?

Witnessing runs contrary to our human nature. It is not a natural reflex. It’s like swimming upstream and fighting a strong current. We easily succumb to the natural forces and pressures from the world. We easily lose our footing by focusing on our self rather than trusting in God’s promises.

Evangelism is difficult because it requires heavy lifting. And it’s usually the heavy stones that we have placed on our path that continually get in our way. Boulders of guilt. Stones of distraction. We quickly talk ourselves out from from stepping in to divine opportunities. And besides, our human nature would rather not be bothered.

God’s Word provides believers with both a clue and encouragement on how to remove these heavy stones.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  (Phil 2:12-13)

Sharing God’s Word with others requires a strenuous, ongoing effort that encompasses our mind, body, and soul. It’s like asking a person to run a marathon, climb a mountain, bike across America without taking the time required to train our bodies to accomplish a difficult task.

Whether trying to lose weight or get into shape, our human nature is far more attracted to sitting in our favorite chair with a bowl of ice cream rather than exercising our body and maintaining our will.

I believe the same is with evangelism.

The Apostle Paul knew his limitations and weakness. He daily battled with his sinful human nature and willful pride. He daily buried self in Christ and received true strength in return. In that response, he exercised his faith by placing his trust in Christ’s promises.

The Apostle Paul knew that for all Christians;

  1. Sharing our faith is one of the greatest exercises of our faith.
  2. Sharing our faith is one of the greatest expressions of our faith.

Our human nature is prone to be lazy, carnal in its pursuits, and selfish in its desires. A life in Christ requires a daily, if not hourly regeneration that begins with repentance and continues with trusting God’s promises. Through the power of God’s Word, our minds are transformed with the thought that we are already worthy in Christ, perfect in His presence, and acceptable by His grace. In that status of being God’s child, we set aside the treasures of this world and focus our attention and pursuit on the treasures of heaven.

Our new nature in Christ is what inspires us to see the lost sheep instead of ignoring them, to be watchful of divine opportunities God provides to share His Word, and to be prepared to give reasons for the hope we have in Christ. These activities are a direct result of God working in us and through us – all according to his will and purpose.

I believe that one of the greatest blessings of sharing God’s Word is the blessings we receive in return. There are advantages that come from exercising our body and there are blessings associated with exercising our faith.

It’s time for us to start exercising those spiritual muscles that God has given all of us to carry out His purpose and His will by sharing His Word – Jesus Christ – to the world.

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