Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Speak up, I can't hear you! (xpost)

Also posted at http://1extraordinarylifetime.blogspot.com/

“Preach the Gospel to every nation and if necessary, use words.”  This has become a very commonly-heard quote in the Christian world today. It was a wise thing for St Francis of Assisi to say, but I wonder if he ever realized how detrimental it would become to Christianity. Rather than being a call to live out what you believe, it has become a sort of scapegoat for complacency. People take it as a reason to be silent about their faith. They say “oh, I’ll just preach by the way I live and people will come to know God.” But is that true? Where is that found in the Bible? I highly doubt you would ever see Jesus take on that sort of attitude. Or could you imagine Peter saying that?  Oh how quickly the fire of the gospel would have gone out, had the early church leaders taken on that sort of attitude.
As I posted earlier, words are extremely important in communication. It would be very true to say that actions and body language are extremely important in communication as well¾the saying “actions speak louder than words” is very true. HOWEVER, that does not negate the power and importance of words. There are some people in the world who, from the outside, may appear to be very happy, wise, generous, loving, or a thousand other virtues… What’s to distinguish them from those who live such lives genuinely through Christ? Their words do! Those who are living a virtuous life because they are allowing CHRIST to live through them are going to be telling people the real reason for their joy etc.  Human eyes are all-too-easily deceived. How are they to see the real Christ in you if they don’t know what the real Christ looks like? It is up to you to tell them!
How could anyone be silent after receiving so great a gift as salvation? As Jesus said, that’s like lightning a candle and putting it under a basket. Or nowadays he might say that’s like turning on your lamp and then putting it into a box where nobody can see it. What good is it to anybody? If we have a light fixture, we’re going to put it out where it sheds light for everybody so they can see where they’re going! In practical application that means you go out and teach people the truth¾you show them that on their own they are going to hell. You don’t be rude or condemning about it, you merely shine the light of truth on the facts that are present. 
You know why more people don’t do that? It is out of fear. Nobody likes to be disliked and when you present truth, it hurts like a bright light being turned on after pitch darkness and unfortunately a lot of times that makes people dislike you. But why should fear of being disliked keep you from saving lives? Why should that fear steal the joy that a life in Christ gives you? Unfortunately it is true that some people will hate you. In fact, no matter what you do some people will hate you. Hello, Jesus promised people would hate you! So why should that stop you from doing what He told you to do? Let us not forget it is also true that some people will love you for taking the time to love them and show them the error of their ways and help them to be healed and turned toward the Son.
Don’t let complacency or fear get in the way of the furtherance of the Kingdom. Yes, do go and preach the gospel to every nation and use words when necessary. But never forget, words ARE necessary. Always.


Andrea said...

Blessings and prayers,

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Amen, my friend! Although it is a balancing act. Sometimes certain people need to see you live before they can hear your words.
It's a matter of being sensitive to the Spirit and courageous when the time comes!