“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
Two years ago, God revealed a rather painful truth about the condition of my heart… about my love for Him. Up until that point, one thing was undeniably certain: I did church REALLY well. I served on committees; sang on the worship team; taught preschool; attended small groups. I never suffered from a reluctance to serve Jesus… but the same could not be said about my willingness to share Him with others. And, through His infinite supply of humor and grace, God revealed this morsel of truth to me through an unassuming Groupon.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Groupon phenomenon, it’s a “deal-of the day” coupon that local businesses use to expand their customer base. On this particular day, the Groupon was for a local day-spa. As soon as I saw the advertisement, I immediately called my neighbor, knowing she would be interested in snatching up the deal. But somewhere between the time she said, “Hello,” and my ability to explain the details of this great deal, it hit me like a brick: I was more willing to share the news of a Groupon than I was to share The Gospel. For all the years we’d known each other, I never actually presented her with The Gospel. She knew my faith was important to me; she saw me live it out with my family. I had even invited her to church. But, I never once told her about Jesus… that He is the only way to the Father… that He wants a better life for her. Immediately I began to think about all of the possible reasons why: a fear of rejection; an inability to defend my faith; or, the possibility that my faith was merely a reflection of my heritage and not my true belief in Jesus.
In the weeks that followed, God continued to reveal things in my life that were placed above Jesus; obstacles that severely limited my ability to be an effective disciple for His Kingdom. These realizations marked the beginning of a journey that helped me find a love for the Savior that has consumed my heart, and consequently, my life. (Something I never thought was possible… because the concept of falling in love with Jesus seemed so abstract, and quite frankly, weird.) Yet, I’ve come to realize that loving Jesus is anything but weird… and that having a relationship with Him isn’t theoretical symbolism. But, it requires more than attending church and reading your Bible. It requires placing Jesus above all else… and, sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the idols in our lives, of the sin that drives a wedge between us and the Father. Other times, we’re very much aware of its existence, we’re just not willing to let it go.
Spend some time thinking about the things in your life that take precedence over Jesus. Does your time (how you spend your time) reflect your love for the Savior… or does it more accurately reflect a greater love for something else? Ask God to reveal a stronghold that might exist (i.e., a fear, an idol, an insecurity)…an obstacle that prevents you from introducing Jesus to your friends and family. If you’re doing this challenge as a family, spend time discussing this question together and then praying for God to reveal those things you placed before Jesus.