Keeping Christ central
A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration
- In Asia, one HOPE client led 38 people in her rural village to Christ in two years.
- In the Philippines, another woman built relationships with over 100 people who now come with her to Sunday church services.
- A woman in California with only a second-grade education has started discipleship groups that are now reaching hundreds in her community.
If we’re honest, stories like these produce a mix of emotions for many of us. On one hand, we’re encouraged, inspired, and thankful. But in that same moment, there is often a subtle whisper:
I could never do that.
Do you ever feel that way? That stories of amazing transformation must come from uniquely gifted people who have figured out just the right methods to share Christ?
At HOPE, spiritual impact comes as God uses staff and clients to reach others. And just like you and me, these men and women realize they are imperfect messengers. They have family challenges, financial pressures, and personal battles with sin. The enemy works hard to tempt them to think, “I can’t really help others follow Jesus. I can’t be bold. Someone else, someone better, should do that.”
But freedom, boldness, and multiplication are exactly what God desires.
In Luke 10, Jesus appoints 72 followers and sends them ahead into every place He plans to go. As He prepares them, He provides two powerful principles we can use to defeat our fears and embolden us to be fruitful for His expanding Kingdom.
- God isn’t asking you to change people. In verse 2, He says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” The Father, the Lord of the harvest, promises that the harvest is already plentiful. What freedom when we recognize that it does not depend on us!
- God is already preparing people for you to reach. Verses 5-11 describe how Jesus commanded the disciples to decide where to spend their time. In essence He said, “Look for a person of peace, and share the Good News with those who receive you.” God is not asking us to argue, badger, or cajole people into the Kingdom. He is already preparing hearts to receive us.
May we never be weighed down by the lie that we are responsible to change the hearts of others. May we release the burden of having to “sell” Jesus in just the right way in order to see lives change. As children of God, we are free to trust the Lord of the harvest and boldly seek those He has prepared, taking confidence in the knowledge that this is how God builds His Kingdom—through ordinary, available people.
excellent post matthew.
Thanks Gary. It has been a freeing reality for us and really changes how we think about being bold and serving the Lord’s purposes.
I always feel so downhearted when I tell my testimony and people are just flatly not interested. I m always thinking ” I should of/shouldn’t have said that.” This is wonderfully freeing revelation to me. I feel like huge weights have been lifted off of me. Thank you so much…as a baby christian it all seems so overwhelming at times. Did I get this/ that right ? Am I doing this right/wrong ? I shall print this off and put it on my wall. May Gob bless you richly <3 xxx
God even ! 🙂
Laura, thanks so much for sharing this. I have often felt similar pressure and discouragement when I subtly believe that transformation depends upon me. To put it bluntly, this is a weight that we were absolutely not made to carry. What has been so exciting to me is that if we are confident that the Lord is already working in His harvest, our role becomes one of asking Him for eyes to see the persons of peace around us. Rejecting the lie that I have to be perfect in my communication frees me to be open and intentional, since I am in essence asking, “Lord, is this someone that you have been preparing?” What a game-changer for freedom, boldness, and joyful adventure with the Lord.
Thanks again for your thoughts!
Another thought that sometimes helps to free me from the burden of “making it happen” is realizing that choosing to follow Jesus is a multi step process. Very few people have never ever given God a moment’s consideration and then suddenly hear the entire gospel at one time and say, “Oh, okay then, it’s Jesus for me!” Often we are step 15 in a 27 step journey to Jesus. I just need to be attentive to God’s leading, and willing to follow those prompts. As you say, He is already at work, and we are part of it as we follow Him.
Brenda, this is a great point. We talk often at HOPE about the Engel Scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engel_Scale), which describes the journey one may take from no knowledge of God to full maturity in Christ. It is both exciting and freeing to follow the Lord’s leading and recognize that it will likely be many people that God will use to draw an individual to Himself.
Thanks for sharing.