My 16 yo is learning to drive. The other day, I gave him feedback about his driving. He has a bad habit of getting out of the car without first turning off the car and removing the keys. I shared my observation with him and pointed out that he has done this on multiple occasions. He looked at me surprised and said:
“Wait, you have to turn the car off before you get out? Why?”
I replied (very emphatically and matching his shock):
“YES!!! …. because that’s the way it’s done!!!”
He was confused. Since he puts his emergency brake on and then places the car in park, he has technically “safely parked the car.” His “master plan” is to turn the car off and remove the keys after he gets out the car. To an experienced driver, this seems odd, backwards, and physically awkward (especially for my small frame.) But to a boy approaching 6 feet tall with long, lurchy arms and an “anything goes” mentality, it makes perfect sense.
As I clumsily fumbled out several excuses of why (global warming was one, I must admit), I had to actually stop and think: why is it so important to turn the car off and remove the key before you get out? I realized sometimes we get stuck in the rut of “because that’s just the way it’s done.” I know it’s right … but not sure why…. Essentially our “truth” becomes a partially adopted philosophy, not really our own.
I guess my point is you really have to know things for yourself – resolve it in your mind – before you go preaching that sermon to others. If not, someone may come along who is much different than you with a totally different perspective. They will challenge and question your position. You’ll need to explain why you believe in a such a way. And if you’re just spouting the same ole’ crusty gospel you heard and were programmed to recite, you won’t be able to effectively vocalize the beauty and passion behind your beliefs. Maybe there is no beauty and passion behind your beliefs and it’s just a hand-me-down, “matter of fact” doctrine. That’s not cool. Your beliefs have to be real, rooted, and personal to you. It has to be “true …. love.”
Let’s be specific. I’m not talking about just any old love. I’m talking about Jesus love. If you love Him, you love his Word. Cuz …. He IS the Word. It’s like if you love banana splits, then you have to love ice cream! Cuz …. banana splits IS ice cream.
So if you say Jesus is the Way, The Truth, and the Life, you should love His Word and manifest it in your life. Your life should be transformed and conformed to His Word. We must come to know Him and develop a deep, intimate relationship with Him. Do you really know Him? I’m not talking about know of Him (like you know of a famous celebrity constantly in the spotlight). I mean, really K N O W HIM. Can you make others fall in love with Him based on your love walk? Remember, your walk (not so much your talk) is really your personal introduction of Him to others. It’s like when you tell someone of a new restaurant that just opened nearby where the food is unbelievably amazing. Through your descriptions, you use hand gestures – your face and body are animated with excitement. You easily convey your adoration and awe. Your energetic enthusiasm makes the person want to go solely based on the delicious images you painted in their minds. Are you making your descriptions of Jesus, Salvation, and Christianity delicious? Because crusty and stale just ain’t appetizing to a “seeker.”
When deciding how “flavorful”you are, be bravely honest with your assessment of yourself. Look at your relationship with Him a little bit closer. Cuz a tree without deep roots will easily fall…
When someone asks you about your faith, that’s a great time to introduce them to the person who changed your life (our Lord and Savior). And don’t introduce Him like someone answering phones in a busy office – robotic and scripted. Don’t be a doom and gloom sidewalk preacher screaming, ‘Repent or Burn in Hell!!!’ What does that even mean to someone with no religious background? For a lot of people today, “unchurched” is their reality. So personalize your introduction with truth tempered with love.
To really balance truth and love, your answers to the questions below should be the ones in BOLD print:
1. How well do you really know Him? Is He: Associate, Friend, or BFF (BestFriendForever)?
2. Why do you love Him? Because I’m supposed to or because I just can’t stop loving Him?
3. How will knowing Him change someone’s life? I dunno but I need to get my “new recruit sales commission” in heaven or He rocked my world, He wants to do the same for you!
Take time to contemplate those questions and dig for the answers. Don’t come to the surface until you have dived deep enough to get real substance! Once you’ve arrived at the right answers and planted deep roots – start making introductions! The best method is not in words but in deeds and actions:
Being the hands, feet, arms, and heart of Jesus is the best and most effective way to introduce Him to an unfamiliar soul…..
Jesus is a people person – He absolutely luvs people. He would literally die for them! Well …. actually, He already did!! Bringing “Lost Sheep” into the fold is one of His greatest desires!!! As His official Ambassador on earth, that should be your greatest goal too! 💕