In the OT God would display His greatness through events and a select few prophets. After Jesus rose from the dead, believers are now filled with the Holy Spirit and get to declare His message of freedom for captives. Instead of seeing God's workings as a spectator, we are privledged to be used in the great drama to be a vessel of sharing a life changing, God glorifying message.
Sometimes I think sharing the gospel with someone doesn't seem as dramatic and spectacular as parting the red sea. Why? I think it's because I dont always see things in terms of the eternal.
The Israelites saw God do amazing wonders like parting the red sea. They saw, they forgot. An outward display of God's greatness is awesome, but seeing something happen doesn't normally equal lasting life change. But when something happens inside of us, it seems to last and can be seen by others.
I want to share a great conversation published in Postcards to Corinth called Learning, The Lost Art of Making People Feel Stupid that took place between Will Walker and a couple college guys.
“Yeah, we all know too much,” I said. “I had a group of pledges one year that grew up in a really good church, but what they knew and what they experienced were two different worlds. I told them at our first meeting that I thought they were all full of crap. Let me ask you what I asked them.”
I continued. “If Jesus were here physically and were your discipler this semester instead of me, do you think you
would have a better shot at growing spiritually than you do now with me as your discipler and His Spirit living inside you?” Casey smirked and asked, “What do you mean ‘here physically’”? “I mean here, physically. He could be right by your side as much as you wanted him to be.” “Well, then I’d take that,” said Casey. “Why?” “Because he would be straight with me, you know. He could see into my heart and just tell it like it is. There wouldn’t be any question about what I’m supposed to do.” “So this seems like a no-brainer to you?” I asked. “I guess,” responded Casey, confident but suspicious. I turned to Michael, “What about you?” “Well, I know the right answer is the Holy Spirit but since that is what I have had all along, and that hasn’t worked out so well, I would honestly say Jesus just to try something new.”
They chose the same answer but for different reasons. Michael knew the “right answer.” Casey was left wondering why his answer was “wrong” and wishing he hadn’t been so sure of himself. Someone was going to look stupid, and nothing creates tension like the potential of looking stupid.
What people know does not impress me anymore. I want to know what they want. In this case, they wanted Jesus as their discipler instead of me, but at the expense of having His Spirit inside them. This scenario has its apparent advantages, but it reveals something about them at the level of their desires. I already knew at this point what it says about them, but again, what I know will very rarely change anyone. They have to discover it. So we continued:
I asked both of them, “If you would be better off having Jesus with you instead of in you, why didn’t God establish life that way?” I got blank stares. So I continued. “I mean, the disciples wanted Jesus to stay and he told them at least twice that it was better for them if He left.” Casey, probably sensing that he might be the one to look stupid, questioned, “When did He say that?” I showed him the verses. “So why is it better?” (ie Why were you wrong?)
More blank stares.
Let’s review. I could have explained all this to them on the front end and avoided hurting anyone’s self-esteem. They would know having the Holy Spirit is better, but it would only be head knowledge. Instead, I asked two simple
questions and it surfaced that deep down they really just wanted Christianity to be easier.
“Okay, Casey, you said you would like it because Jesus would shoot straight with you. He could look in your heart and tell you that you are full of crap. Then what would you do about it?” “What do you mean?” Casey asked. “Think about it this way. If Lebron James was your personal coach in basketball, could you play in the NBA?” “No.” “Why not? You would have one of the best players in the world teaching you.” “But that doesn’t mean I could play like him.” “What if somehow LeBron could live inside you and play through you? Then could you play in the NBA?”Casey gets an epiphany, “I get it. If I didn’t have His Spirit in me, I couldn’t do what he tells me I need to do. It wouldn’t matter that Jesus was here telling me to do it.”
If we are trusting Jesus as our only way to stand innocent before the Father, we have the Holy Spirit. How incredible! We have the opportunity to do greater things than parting the red sea, yet it seems we don't want to put down ___________ long enough to see the eternally spectacular.
Are you serious about the mission God has given you? Are you taking initative in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the gospel, leaving the results up to God? If not, will you talk to God about it and let Him have your heart and do what He pleases with it?
If you'd like some resources to help, check out the Life on Mission Tab.
In light of this, continuing my markings toward One Thousand Gifts...
#46 Beautiful Frisco, CO and Abbey's coffee with free wi-fi
#47 The boys getting old enough to have conversations.
#48 Asher's courage to call out a twenty-something on his language.
#49 The hope of life without constant discipline
#50 The reminder from Rocky Mountain Bible Church that God's goal in life is not to make us happy and comfortable.
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