* Sorry about yesterday. I accidentally posted Tuesday’s devotion with the wrong date (12-12) so yesterday’s devotion (also labeled 12-12) got posted underneath it instead of at the top of the page. Hope everybody found it!
READ: Psalm 66
THINK: Over the course of my lifetime I have been exposed to more methods of evangelism than I care to count. I’ve seen countless tracts – and used some of them – designed to make the gospel simple and easy to understand. I’ve led people through the 4 Spiritual Laws, the Romans Road and more. I even went to a retreat once where the speaker showed us 4 different ways to lead people to Christ by drawing stuff on a napkin at a restaurant. None of those things are bad. In fact, though I’ve found some printed tracts to be kitschy and too ridiculous to use, I really love most of those evangelism strategies as ways of explaining truth. I just don’t love them as evangelism strategies.
Let me explain: I think that there is a level of cognition and assent – understanding and acceptance – that is an essential part of coming to know Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord. And many of these packaged evangelism methods are geared towards helping people come to an understanding of the basic tenets of Christianity. They are designed to cover the major points. And that is important. And it’s stuff that we ought to be communicating to an unbelieving world in ways that they understand. But I think very few people are drawn in to relationship with God through a list of facts. Unbelievers are no more likely to find intimacy with Christ through a simple list of Christian beliefs than you or I would be to suddenly find intimacy, meaning, and relationship with another god after hearing a lecture on the content of Mormon, Islamic, Buddhist, or Hindu belief. The facts are critical but often not compelling.
So what is compelling? And what makes Christianity compelling in a way that is unique and significant – a way that blows all of those other religions out of the water because they can’t match it or offer anything like it? A personal relationship with the Creator of the universe! Being a Christ-follower isn’t about a cognitive assent to propositional truth. It is about being transformed by his love and his sacrifice and allowing him to radically work in and through your life. It’s become cliché but it’s no less true: this is a relationship, not a religion.
That’s what the song we know as Psalm 66 is all about! It is a description of the incredible ways that a living God worked and moved in the life of the author – and the entire nation of Israel. It is a shout for joy at his great works. It is a call to remember his miraculous intervention – one of no less than 8 different Psalms that recall God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt. It is even a powerful testimony to God’s presence and provision during times of difficulty and trail, and a witness to the fact that life in him always leads ultimately to a place of abundance. Psalm 66 is a testimony to what a real relationship with God looks like in the life of a human being. And that kind of testimony is the most effective, undeniable, influential, and mighty type of witness anyone can offer. It is one that those who have seen God’s transformation in their lives ought to feel compelled to offer. That’s why the Psalmist declares, “Come and hear…I will tell of what He has done for my soul.”
So many of us get caught up, when we think about sharing our faith, with the question of “how?” and we often use it as an excuse not to share at all. We don’t tell people about the gospel message of a God who loved them so much that he gave his own life because we’re worried we don’t have all the right words and the right methods. We fear that we’ll miss one step along the Romans Road or forget one of the 4 Spiritual Laws and that it will be our inefficient or incomplete walkthrough that inhibits our audience from finding God. I want to encourage you today not to ignore truth or intentionally forget the story but to start in a different place. Begin, as the Psalmist did, by allowing God’s goodness to burst forth and shine through you. Tell people about the incredible things that he has done in your life. Tell them what a relationship with Jesus means to you and how he sustains you. That is an evangelism strategy for changing lives. And it’s one that you can do. Without the fear of forgetting part of messing up. Today! 🙂
PRAY: As we approach the end of the year, spend some time reflecting on what God has done for you this year. Think about what he has taught you and how he has provided. Then just worship him for it. Shout for joy to the Lord for his greatness in your life. And then go tell somebody about it.