Don’t worry; if you’re spending Valentine’s Day dateless, I’m not here to rub salt in the wound. While our culture places a very high value on romantic relationships, there are all kinds of love. Some of the most important relationships we can pursue are with people who haven’t yet come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart, some amazing things happen in your life. Even though your problems don’t magically disappear, you should start to experience a joy and a peace that you haven’t known before. You also get the benefit of knowing that you are going to be spending eternity in God’s presence. You should want those same amazing things to happen in the lives of your friends and family as well. Unfortunately, most of us are scared to death to witness to the people around us. In this week’s challenge, we’re going to start working on that.
Love Them Until They Ask Why
I don’t like most witnessing plans, because they all seem to revolve around an agenda. Sure, it sounds good when you say you’re working to introduce your neighbor to Christ. But sometimes it comes out sounding more like you’re only spending time with your neighbor so that you can do your Christian duty or so you can boost your Christian stats. No matter how pure your intentions are, people don’t like it when they feel like they’re a means to an end.
Many people who could be accused of this would vehemently deny that there is any truth to it. They would insist that they really do love their neighbor. And that may very well be true. But it doesn’t really matter if your neighbor still feels like he is being used.
One way around this is to not try so hard to force the conversation around to spiritual matters. When it comes naturally, let it come. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. If you’ve ever walked away from a conversation feeling like you wasted your time because you didn’t get to say what you really wanted to, you might need to reevaluate your motives.
If you are embodying sacrificial love in your everyday life, people will notice without you having to draw attention to the fact. Once that happens, they will want to know what enables you to live so differently than the way most people do. When they ask why, tell them God helps you love like that. But don’t try to force the issue. Just focus on enjoying your relationship. God will take care of the rest.
Pray for Them
Speaking of God taking care of things, we can never save anybody. God has to prepare their heart and then do the actual saving work. We just sow the seeds. While we’re waiting for them to sprout, one of the most powerful things we can do is pray for those we know who are lost.
Ask God to awaken a spiritual hunger in them. Pray for them to recognize their need for God. Also pray for opportunities to get to know them better. Remember- this can be a long process. Every time you make contact you are witnessing, whether or not you ever talk about God.
Be sure to pray for other Christians to enter their life as well. Don’t feel like you have to be their only connection to God. The more times they encounter Christians living out their faith genuinely, the more likely they are to realize how attractive such a life can be.
Pray for Yourself
Another important step is praying for ourselves. Pray that we become more aware of those in our lives who need Christ. Ask God to give us more opportunities to share the gospel. Also pray for the courage to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise.
One of the most important things we can pray for is our own silent testimony. Do your neighbors see Christ in you? Do they know that you are a Christian? And if they do, do you make the Christian life look attractive? They’ll never ask why if we don’t give them something to question.
Finally, don’t forget to pray for God to put genuine love for others into your heart. A word of caution here, though: God will do this if you ask him to. He’ll gladly help you see others through His eyes. And once you do, it’s that much harder to ignore people’s needs or write them off as a lost cause. Once you really love other people, you won’t be able to stop yourself from reaching out to them. And that’s when God’s power really goes to work in and through you.