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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Heart of Evangelism

I've been reflecting on this reading lately as it relates to the Christ-follower's call to make His name known to all people:

"True holiness is a witness that cannot be ignored. Real sainthood is a phenomenon to which even the worldling pays tribute. The power of a life, where Christ is exalted, would arrest and subdue those who are bored to tears by our thin version of Christianity and wholly uninterested in mere churchmanship...We must recover for ourselves the significance and the necessity of the spiritual disciplines. Without them we shall continue to be impotent witnesses for Christ."
-Albert Edward Day, Discipline and Discovery

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the "going" nature of faith that we can supplant true spirituality with mere activity. We're so concerned with what we're doing on behalf of Christ that we lose sight of who we are in Christ. And this is a crucial mistake, because true evangelism is the overflow of our sincere devotion to Christ. If you had to pick between spending time in prayer and spending time in "evangelism" (as if it were an activity we could segregate into time allotment) I would say pick prayer every time. For if our heart is developed in Christ through prayer, we can't help but become evangelists.

In Eugene Peterson's The Message paraphrase of the Bible, he translates I Peter 2:11 to say, "Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul." At first glance, we might not think of this verse as having much to do with evangelism at all. But in this letter, the apostle Peter goes on in the very next sentence to say that when we live in this manner of holiness- where our soul-care is of utmost importance- the result is that the ungodly will see Christ in us! We can never sacrifice eternal and unchangeable realities for the fleeting moments of pride and self-gratification so prevalent around us. What seems appealing and pleasant to us now may be seen as a great abomination when we see it from eternity's viewpoint. Have in mind the things of God- things that will last, that will grow and enrich your soul- and not the things of man, things that we grasp and strive for but that leave us empty. All the praise in the world and the highest pulpit to preach from won't mean a thing if it's "us" and ego-driven. Our souls are in His hands, and so we trust Him with all that we have.

And when we live in this way, we can't help but proclaim the truth of our Savior to people everywhere, both in word and in deed.

May your soul be His alone as you continue this journey.

Nick

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