On your marks. Get set. Ready. Evangelize!
As with every good news, sharing the good news of the gospel of peace should come out naturally from us. In our conversations and in our daily life. We engage people as friends and share what has worked for us with them and they are usually quite pleased to at least hear us out. However, we know that this is not always the case. We are often shy, afraid or even ashamed sometimes to share our faith even when we proclaim that it is the best thing that has ever happened to us. We hear of laws barring us from sharing our faith, Christians all over the world being persecuted and even slaughtered for not just sharing their faith but even for just being Christians. Why is this so?
Clearly, it is naive, for us to act like sharing the good news about grace through Jesus Christ is received in the same manner as say an announcement of our new baby arrival. In fact, quite the opposite, what we often find is that almost anything is acceptable until you mention the name of Jesus.
The truth is that there is more than meets the eye to the message of Jesus Christ, there is the spiritual opposition which manifests itself in the rejection of the message and sometimes even violent rejection. We understand from the scriptures that "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan has an active interest (and constantly devises strategies and schemes) to make sure that men and women are not reconciled to God but end up with the same fate as he and his demons, which is eternal damnation. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and he is not slow either, he does this as a prowling lion seeking whom to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
What does this mean for evangelism? Both personally and as a church or Christian organisations. We believe that it means that we must be very intentional and deliberate about sharing our faith. Whether we are just speaking to that one colleague at work or orchestrating a massive crusade, we must understand that evangelism is not so much just sharing our good news but engaging a raging war, a raging battle to save lives from the clutches of the enemy! Think about this for a moment.
War requires courage.
War requires planning and strategy.
War requires combat training.
War requires comrades.
War requires understanding the enemy.
War requires defensive and offensive armoury.
In war, some lives are taken to save others.
War is serious business.
We don't have a choice. All Christians have been conscripted into the army of the Lord, some are at the battlefront and others perhaps in reserves others yet are at home, taking care of the children and the estate. When Jesus said "Preach the Gospel", He effectively said, "Go and save lives". He deploys us on a rescue mission, as foot soldiers to go right into the enemy's camp and recover illegally captive souls for whom He has already purchased freedom through the shedding of His blood on the cross of Calvary. He hasn't minced His words either, doesn't our hearts skip a beat when we hear him say "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves"? But the same one who said this also said: "..behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age".
What I am saying is this, when you feel nervous, or shy, or afraid; to share the gospel even in the most seemingly receptive, amiable environment. Don't beat down on yourself too much. This is the nature of the terrain. You may be picking up on the invisible war around you, the opposing forces, the menacing growling of approaching wolves. Of course, it is frightening. However, know that all you need is courage. Remember the promise of the Lord that He is with you ALWAYS, remember that you are a soldier, undertaking the noblest of tasks, which is to save another's life at the risk of yours.
Be intentional about sharing your faith. Take the power out of the enemy's hands and take charge. Visualise, plan, prepare, pray., Knowing that "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.." (1 John 4:4)
On your marks, get set, ready, Evangelize!