For many years I have wondered what the disconnect between sharing the Gospel (doing evangelism) and living out our lives for God's glory was. It always seemed like the two should work together, but when you study evangelism and take classes, it seems like a brand new subject you need to study and then practice. Basically, it doesn't seem natural, and I never knew why.
The answer finally came to me recently. If you look in the Bible, sharing the Gospel and ministering to the lost seems like part of what was happening in the lives of the Apostles. It doesn't look like they had to have classes to teach others how to share the Gospel, and I am not opposed at all to taking classes on evangelism. But it seems like when we take these classes, we are learning something like a foreign language and I am baffled by it. Why is there a disconnect?
Let's see. Perhaps we are not spending enough time with the Lord? I think that is part of it, but it goes much deeper than that. The Bible talks about being 'Spirit-filled' but what does that mean?
Unfortunately, there are some teachings in the body of Christ which will tell you that a person has all of God that he or she will ever have, when the person comes to Christ and is converted. In a sense, this is true because God does give us everything we need for live and Godliness. We don't get more or less of God as time goes on.
But there is another sense that this teaching can be misleading of. The Bible does indicate that there is a depth of our relationship with God that can go way deeper than what we already have. Unfortunately, some of the lively television gang have taken off with this truth and have seemingly lost the whole point of why God saved them in the first place. We need to have a deeper relationship with God. Our relationships with God should be growing and deepening.
Many times, I think we don't grow spiritually or go deeper with the Lord for a variety of reasons. Most churches do not practice Biblical discipleship, or if they do, they do it wrong and give it a bad name, a name people want to avoid because it could lead to danger. People are ignorant of God's presence and they do not understand His power because they are never taught anything concerning this.
We think of God, and our conversion as some kind of mental process. We know we are right and our spirits bear witness to the truth. But are we getting to know the Lord better and are we living in His Power day by day? Or are we just growing in our knowledge of the truth and in our ability to defend the faith better? There is nothing wrong at all with learning the truth, and we do need to grow in our understanding of it, but I think our knowledge of the truth substitutes our relationship with God, many times.
The Bible talks about the 'joy of the Lord' as being our strength. We know we need the joy of the Lord, and sometimes I think, we think we have it, when in reality, we only have the knowledge of it and acknowledgement of it being what we need.
Have we really encountered God? Have we had an encounter like Isaiah did in Isaiah chapter 6? He saw the Lord and was blown away. In the New Testament, the Disciples were blown away quite often. When we truly encounter God, we will be changed, and as we live out our lives for His glory, we will be filled with His Presence. Then we will be like the Disciples who 'turned the world upside down' because the Presence of God was with them, and they had the grace of God, along with the Power of God working with them.
I think the first problem is ignorance. The second reason we don't experience the overflowing Power of God is because of fear. We know that the devil operates in the power of the occult and we know that we can visibly see things the devil does, at times. I think we don't trust God enough to know that God promises to give us good gifts. He will not give us counterfeits. The devil will not sneak in and trade a gift from God for one of his tricks. Not if we are really seeking God. We are afraid of encountering anything supernatural, for different reasons. But God is supernatural and He is way bigger than the devil. God is good and will not let us be tricked by the devil when we receive His gifts to us.
I think though, that a big reason we don't overflow with God's Presence is because we simply don't really want it. Our work and jobs take first priority in our thoughts and plans. Immediate needs come up that have to be taken care of. We are tired. We are prone to unbelief and are vulnerable to sin because we are not guarding our hearts vigilantly. We tend to think we can 'get to God' sometime later in the day, when it is more convenient. This is the reason I struggle with the most, so I am speaking right out of my own everyday experiences.
This, I believe is the reason why evangelism is unnatural for us. It is unnatural because we are not living supernatural lives. We are not living in the Presence and Power of God. God wants to take us deeper and invites us, but do we take the time to go where He wants us to?
What is most important to us? That is the thing we love. As Mark Cahill said, "What you love, you talk about..... If you love sports, you will talk about sports.....If you love Jesus Christ, you will talk about Jesus Christ..."
When we grow in our love for God, we will experience His Presence in our lives. His Power will be there and will enable us to serve Him. We can be filled to overflowing. Out of our mouths, whatever we say, will reveal what is in our hearts.
Many of us are 'overflowing' with the knowledge of God. That is good in itself for is we allow the knowledge of God and the truths of His word to permeate our souls, we will be fed spiritually and will know Him better. But if we just have this knowledge in our minds, and can accurately silence an atheist, we won't necessarily be overflowing in our relationship with God.
God wants to activate His word in our hearts. His Holy Spirit will take the word of God and will activate it in our hearts. Then we respond by acting on His word. God wants His word to be in our hearts, not only in our minds. Faith has to be activated in our hearts, and that comes by hearing God's word.
We can encounter God today, and He will fill us with His love. When that happens, we will be changed and we will desire to share the Gospel and will tell of His wonders. We will love God, and we will love others as well. It will be natural and we will not have any more disconnect from our lives and the Gospel.