November 14, 2021
For years I lived under a false perception of what it means to “share the gospel with others.”
Many factors contributed to this false perception, and the net effect was that I held back from really meeting people where they were and pouring into them the genuine transforming love of God that we all so desperately need. If you reread that last sentence, it’s quite striking that anything could have such an effect on me that I would hold back from “pouring – genuine – love of God – so desperately needed.”
Last week, I took a bijaj (local transportation in Tanzania) back from town, and the young man driving asked me about the income gap between typical US workers and typical Tanzanian workers. We enjoyed a good conversation, and by the time we arrived, he turned off his bijaj for 10 more minutes of discussion regarding character in the marketplace and the need for God to transform each of our hearts at the core. I don’t know where this will go for that young man, but the free flow of gospel conversation within me now stands in stark contrast to my struggle in those early years of Christian life.
The difference is not primarily related to more knowledge or skill in communicating (things I stressed over in the early years). To be sure, time spent reading in science, culture, and philosophy helped level the playing field of ideas regarding the basis and evidence for truth, and time spent learning to ask better questions helped make conversation more genuine. However, the real freedom to initiate conversations and relationships with people who don’t know Christ came from the real transformation of my own life in the intervening years.
“The gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which we live.”
Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians
Part of my false perception included a tendency to focus on that single event when a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our need for His salvation is very real, yet being made alive in Christ is only the beginning. The gospel is more than the moment of being brought from death to life. The gospel is life itself. The more areas of our lives that have been transformed and the deeper that transformation, the more natural initiating conversations and relationships becomes.
November OakLeaf Articles:
The State of the World by Scott Boerckel
Three Priorities to Shape Evangelism by Jim Boerckel
Genuine Curiosity in Gospel Conversations by Matt Kent
A Life Worth Living by Robert J. Morgan
The Message the World Needs to Hear by RD
Nurturing a Love for the Lost by Larry Van Gundy
The Gospel Is Life Itself by Jim Simmons
Participating in the Disciple Making Process by Ron Miller