"Be still and know that I am God." God ~ Psalm 46:10

Monday, March 28, 2011

Complacency vs the Great Commission

Photo of Church This is part 3 of a 3-part blog on complacency. In Part 1, we looked at how being complacent keeps us from having a closer walk with Jesus. In Part 2, we found out what happens if we are complacent in our tithing. In Part 3, we will look at reasons for complacency in bringing others to know God.

In the Bible, it is written:  “He (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 15-16 This verse describes what is referred to as the “Great Commission”.

Still, it can be a bit scary to stick out our necks for God, especially if we are unsure of another’s view on the subject. We don’t want to appear as a “Jesus Freak”, being a freak in the worst use of that term. I know what that feels like. When I was a teen,
there was a Jesus Freak movement, and I, searching for answers to my questions about Christianity, explored what this could mean for me. As a result, I was ridiculed, sometimes by the people closest to me. Many thought of this movement as a passing phase, and I suppose for me it was. I didn’t do so well with it. I was embarrassed, finally, into silence. Thankfully, God was not so eager to let go of me, and I found my way back to him ~ but that’s another blog. J

I’m much older now (sigh), and much more confident in who I am. And still, I often struggle with pursuing someone for the Lord. Or pursing them because I love them and want them to know salvation. I have friends and family who either don’t believe in God at all, or say they believe, but do not want to get any closer to him ~ content I suppose with what they’ve decided is the appropriate place to be in their faith. (See Part 1 on complacency) They fear the changes they might have to make to have a bigger commitment to God, so they don’t want to learn anymore about what it means to be a Christian. They don’t want to read the Bible because that will give them knowledge, and knowledge may require changes, of which they don’t want to make. Kind of a vicious cycle, I know.

So how do we do as Jesus has asked? How do we reach out to others and lead them to God? If we are complacent in this, some of the people that we love may perish.

I think it is well-confirmed that most people have started going to church because someone invited them to theirs. At my church, Servant of Christ, Pastor Eric has asked for a show of hands for those who found their way to God because someone invited them to church. As I said, it is well-confirmed. So often people are seeking, feeling empty and not knowing why, but have no idea how to get past that. Perhaps they had no spiritual direction as a child, and they wonder what so many people know that they don’t about Christianity. For this type of person, I say we should reach out, test the waters, in a no-pressure, nonpreachy fashion, and invite them to church.

They might resist at first, for fear of what it might mean (Can you just about here their thoughts: I might be sucked into something that would require change and asked to give half of my belongings away to the church before they I get out of the first service.). I like to reassure them that my church is a loving, welcoming church, and nothing will be required or requested of them. They can just come and see. Maybe they won’t come the first time you ask. Pray about it and ask them again, or invite them to a church event and let them get to know others in the church. Let others help to draw them in with their love.

But what about people who say that God does nothing for them, and they don’t want to talk about it. I think the first thing to have in mind is that we should not argue about it with them. Do not condemn them in any way for their beliefs. Instead, pray for guidance, pray for an opportunity, pray for the right example that might nudge them to God. We may be only one cog on the wheel that gets them there. Perhaps there will come a time when they will accept an invitation to church.

It’s easy to be complacent about sharing your faith. There may be other reasons, but the fear of not being accepted for our beliefs can be overwhelming. This is when we have to be brave enough, faithful enough to stand up for God, knowing that in the big picture, it is the right, saving, thing to do. And know that God will bless you for it.

Also, a fear of not being able to say the right words often gets in the way. Here is what we know about that: God will give us the words if we have a willing spirit. And, we may be only a small aspect of God’s bigger picture. There may be others, whose example, invitations, love and guidance, combined with yours, will complete God’s plan for them.

I’d love to know what you do to carry out God’s Great Commission. Please leave me a comment sharing your ideas on how to bring others to God. I’d love to hear from you!
This is Part 2 of a 3-part series on Complacency in Faith. Click here to read Part 1: Complacency ~ How it Hampers Faith, And here for Part 2: Complacency in Giving


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