This is one of several key attitudes for the evangelistic heart…..
Micah said it best in Micah 3:8, “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord….” Micah was a “minor prophet” and the contemporary of Isaiah and Hosea. He knew that boldness came from the Holy Spirit. Trust me, he needed some big time courage as he confronted the Israelites.
Timothy teaches us in 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “ For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline.” What I call both the Jonah principle and the Peter principle can both be applied here.
When God told Jonah to evangelize to the Ninevite nation, what was Jonah’s initial response? He ran the opposite direction and thought, “How could God want me to interact with those people, they’re the scum of the earth?” (The Ninevites had a reputation of treating their enemies with brutal harshness) Be honest, tell me you have never felt that way before! God convinced Jonah that He loved the Ninevites unconditionally, and Johah finally got down to business. Our tendency is to love people conditionally, that is, to get “a return”.
When Peter had a chance to stand up for Jesus and be accountable for Him, what did he do? He denied Christ…he denied that he knew Jesus. Matthew 26:69-75 (Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:54-65, John 18:25-27) Peter denies knowing Jesus 3 times and the rooster crows. And he wept bitterly, ashamed of his denial, fearful for his own death.
He simply lacked the courage to be bold for Christ. But guess what, Peter later became a solid rock in helping to build the church. Be honest, tell me you have never felt that way before while with a group of nonbelievers! Maybe not that you feared death, but possibly ridicule.
The good news is that God will use us in spite of ourselves!
He wants us to build relationships with people who don’t know Him. In so doing……..
We have to show people that you care for them. You can’t have high expectations on how people should act. After all, they don’t know the Lord!
Try to make people feel comfortable around you. Show them grace, not a bunch of rules. Jesus was a friend to publicans and sinners. He influenced them; and not vice versa. Copy him. Jesus told his disciples, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” This means, take care of the needs of others by serving them. (I John 3:16-18)
Don’t keep your distance from people. Be kind to them. Show them what the “fruits of the Spirit” look like. “Don’t just love those who can love you back. Even tax collectors do that.” Look to build a rapport with those around you.
More on evangelism in the next blog……….