Why do we tip waitresses in restaurants? Because our Christianity affects our whole being, not just what we do. It is not ‘what’ we know, but it is ‘who’ we know. It is not about being ‘right’ but about being ‘made right’ with God. If we are selfish people, (and we all are) we will not be grateful to God or to others. It will reflect on our attitude about generosity and how we treat other people.
The Bible tells us to ‘love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength’. It also tells us to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves’. We justify this by saying that we express our love for our neighbor by sharing the Gospel. While that is admirable, in one respect, would we still love that neighbor and serve that neighbor with the strength God gives us in other areas?
I think back on Nicky Cruz, a child born into a family who practiced witchcraft and violence. Somehow, in God’s mysterious ways of working, Nicky ended up in NYC and encountered David Wilkerson, who showed God’s patient love toward this man. Nicky came to know the Lord eventually and has a wonderful testimony of God’s power and grace. http://blip.tv/bibletruth-ministries/the-nicky-cruz-testimony-3683317
I’m concerned for us today, as I read things people write on Facebook and blogs. We have people who call out ‘repentance’ on the streets. Many of these people come down hard on people who are in sin. When those people come into our church buildings, we turn them away and call them ‘false converts’ because they haven’t truly ‘repented’.
First, do people need to repent? Yes, the Bible is very clear on this. But people who are stuck in sin can’t repent, that is, unless there is someone to walk them through the process of being freed from their sins. Until we learn to love and accept people as human beings, we won’t stick with them until they repent. We will be like the Pharisee Jesus talked about in Luke 18.
Our love for God is demonstrated in the way we love other people. If we don’t really love other people, we can’t really say we love God. It’s as simple as that.
So, if you really want to reach people for Christ, you really have to love God first, then you will be filled with the love of Christ, and then people will have genuine conversions.
I will write more on this later….