The Travel Log || DNA of an Evangelist || John 14:26
My name is Ruth Strait, and I am a faithful servant to our Lord Jesus Christ. My goal when I am out and about, whether it’s running errands or just taking in the scenery, is to spread the Gospel of Jesus to any and all who might listen. On occasion, being in an “at home” atmosphere happens.
I have found that the folks we love the most, and are closest to, are many times the ones who are seemingly the hardest to evangelize to. Sometimes they may not be accepting of God, His love or receptive to anything God-related at all. They want nothing to do with Him and are content living how they have become accustomed to. They do life in the way they deem is right. So, the questions for thoughtful consideration are how does one act and engage or what can one do when someone close is not a believer and we truly want to show and live out God’s unconditional love in their presence?
In Contrast to last month’s blog which highlighted the hurdles one faces when it comes to outward Evangelism in various locales outside one’s home, this month’s blog, will reflect upon how one can walk out their faith amidst their family system. Understandably, in both scenarios it is my desire to hold true to myself and my identity in all cases, while balancing the real potential issue to avoid being overbearing, pushy, or shoving my belief system all over them. In all times, one great attitude I affirm is that as I love God and others (Matthew 22:37-40), I can love my family and others closest to me right where they are by finding special and significant ways to model God in me to them (goodness, kindness, mercy, giving, helping, serving among many more attributes) without even saying a word. Here, my goal is to show the love of Christ which exists in me outwardly to them – versus verbalizing my love for Christ to them by condemning, criticizing, or enforcing comparisons.
So, what makes sense to do that might best alleviate harmful encounters with family or inner circle friends? One important thing to keep in mind at the onset and/or prior to interactions with others is that as a Christian, I can hold high the sense that I can trust in the power of the ministry of the Holy Spirit who can convict persons of their unbelief in Jesus and that He is more than capable enough ultimately to accomplish that which He is called to do. My engagement with others need not be rude, harsh, overwhelming, or insensitive. Additionally, because there is truth in that belief that hurt people, hurt people, it’s important for me to balance how my engagement and reactions to others are managed. (Just ask any behavioral health specialist who is faced today with so many facing emotional crises, it is unfortunate that many who have been hurt in life can go onto hurting others). So, being called to love others like myself as one of the two greatest commandments, I can choose to take a loving stance in outward engagement by preparing in advance to uphold love as my greatest asset in my representation of Jesus (1 Cor 13:13).
We all know that one person who sees us coming and resists a discussion or turns the other way to possibly avoid us or to diminish a possibly of Jesus talk. We also know those who love us dearly but who may also seek debating, attacking, or condemning us for how we believe. Outbursts may happen, yes, among family circles and friends, yet even when interactions may not go as planned, we can remain hopeful and prayerful, and we can remind ourselves that God sees us differently so that we don’t become discouraged. He sees our hearts, motives, care, and love for our loved ones. We can remain bold in evangelizing for God, simultaneously to balancing responsiveness, gauging reactions, and remaining a good witness for Christ.
Some helpful tips in touchy situations can be simple things one can do to possibly deter negative outcomes. We can maintain our calm, avoid being offended or hurt, and plan a response in advance that would be kind, Godly, and void of anger, bitterness, or resentment toward the other. It’s a good balance to look to necessary precautions prior to meeting with our dearest and beloved that ensures we be aware to potential triggers that might otherwise cause strife, fight, flight and/or discomfort. Likewise, for ourselves as well, we need to intentionally remain hopeful and know that God sees us and our efforts.
To conclude, by letting the Holy Spirit lead us by guiding our actions, we can bring His Word in ways that show the love of Christ by being doers of the Word (James 1:22). As believers, we must remember Who it is living inside us (Galatians 2:20) so that we can show the positive love of Christ in our everyday living. Beating the Bible over anyone’s head is not the thing to do. Speaking Scripture to them to make them feel bad, or picking at their faults may never produce the positive outcome ones seeks. The best course of action I have found is to consistently and reliably be the person who can show up on any scene who can display the love of Christ day in and day out. When receptive, speaking words of affirmation, encouragement, speaking life over others and following up with positive actions, whether it’s helping them with things around the house or treating them to a day of self-care, shows real time one can be committed to the investment in them, their lives, and their care, through a positive display of the love of God in me.
Lastly, getting ahead of the Holy Spirit is certainly not a good thing to do and let me be the first to tell you that trying to step in and lead where He is supposed to does not work. There will be no peace and things won't go as they ought. One should not persist in speaking or doing unto another, whether with negative motives or vengeful persistence. This matters most where one is not invited in to do so when someone has not been considered a trusted spokesperson. Uninvited, bold, or unwelcomed conversation or actions in any setting, especially when we don’t need to say or do anything, may lead to much discord. For me, it all boils down to listening to what the Holy Spirit says to do and say (or not do and not say). We can love people right where they are and show the love of Christ without hardship. We can pause, pray, listen, and obey… speak or remain silent, do or don’t do. The Holy Spirit will convict us when we continue down a path in doing only what we want to or what we think is best. When we get in The Holy Spirit’s way, reflection, prayer, and repentance is now the best action to take place. Praise and thank God, (yes really, thank Him) for the conviction. Don’t beat yourself up and move on to the next thing you are shown to do. We can move forward with confidence in God, and to do so with assurance for the next time, lean on Him as our Helper. He is the Holy Spirit indwelling us! John 14:26 reads, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
Let us pray . . .
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