In the conflicts behind sharing the message of the gospel, Christians have a tendency to see themselves as victims rather than victors. Overcoming this perception can pave the way toward exercising boldness in proclaiming the gospel message with others.
There are risks associated with evangelism. There can be personal consequences when sharing our faith with others. There is the risk of losing close relationships or appearing foolish, intolerant, and out of touch. The Bible even warns Christians about the possibility of arrest, imprisonment, torture, or even death.[Note: With the recent shooting at Umpqua CC in Oregon, this stark reality has been brought to the forefront of our minds. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by this tragedy. “Day Christians Were Martyred on American Soil”]
There is potential loss in sharing the gospel which can prompt us to see ourselves as victims rather than victors. Compared to knowing Christ, receiving the full forgiveness of sins, and the certainty of receiving the crown of eternal life in heaven, nothing else matters.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” (Phil. 3:8)
When the focus of sharing the gospel remains on our self, we lose heart. When the focus or reaching the lost rests on the power, strength, and the grace of Christ and His presence, we win Christ’s heart. And like a loving shepherd looking for his lost sheep, we receive His heart for those lost in unbelief.
Embraced by God’s love and grace, we no longer see ourselves as victims of potential loss, but revel in the status Christ won for us. And in that spirit of thanksgiving and victory, we share this wonderful message with others.
The gospel account of Peter walking on water gives us an example on the importance of focusing on Christ when we step out in faith to share the gospel.
The disciples may have thought that Peter was bold, even foolish, to ask Jesus to walk on water. Perhaps even embarrassed. The disciples were more inclined to stay in the boat rather than climb overboard and step out in faith – and so am I.
In Peter’s first few steps, I may have been jealous.
In Peter’s descent under the waves, I may been the first to laugh.
That’s how it is for reluctant people like myself who have a difficult time stepping out of their comfort zone and into Christ’s promises.
Christians who see themselves as victims like to stay in the boat. Christians who revel in the victory Christ has already won for them are the most eager to step out in faith and test God’s promises.
When the waters appear deep, we step out and realize that Jesus makes them shallow.
When the waves seem too high, the Lord calms them.
When the devil is allowed to cause storms in our life, Jesus says to remain focused on Him. Only then can we walk on water.
The Bible makes it clear that every time we share the gospel with others we can expect a storm that needs to be calmed. It is the nature behind the message of the cross.
The sword of the Spirit confronts and that makes people uncomfortable.
The Word of God divides, and that causes stress in our relationships.
The message of what Christ has already done separates, and that causes division.
In Christ, we are more than conquerors. Not only are storms calmed, but so are our nerves, fear, and apprehension in sharing the gospel. In the battlefields of life where the spiritual carnage of sin and unbelief spreads out across the land, we keep our gaze on the cross.
A life in Christ relishes in His victory for us. And when harm, disappointment or difficulties arise from being a light, sharing the salt, or proclaiming His name, we don’t need to see ourselves as victims, but victors and the blessings that come from stepping out in faith.