Posted by: pastortomvabeach | February 16, 2016

Thought For The Week February 21, 2016

Pastor Doug forwarded me a blog post written by Pastor Jarrid Wilson who serves in Memphis, Tennessee, that seemed to fit well with what he spoke about on Sunday. Let me share some of it with you.

Pastor Wilson writes, “I love helping people. And I love seeing people changed by the love God. But regardless of how much God decides to use me, I alone cannot change people. This is God’s job, not mine.

“I remember when I first became a believer in Jesus and somehow thought that it was my duty to change people for the sake of advancing the Gospel—which is funny because I myself wasn’t even changed by a man or women, but instead was loved and directed toward the only true source that could bring me change: God.

“I would rejoice when people would find hope in Christ, but would feel like a failure when someone would turn away from wanting to know Jesus as Lord. I took it personally. It was a little discouraging, but that’s because my mindset was completely off. I was focusing way too much on what ‘I’ was doing for God, and not enough on the bigger picture: God’s omnipotent power and preeminent role in the business of life change.

“I believe many of today’s Christians put too much weight on themselves to bring people to Jesus. It’s our job to love people, not change them. And we must understand the reality that only the Holy Spirit has the power and authority to do such a thing. Our calling is to simply share the Gospel in love and truth, showcasing the character of Jesus through our everyday lives. This alone is the calling of a Christian. This alone is a weighty yet fulfilling purpose for each and every person who chooses to pick up their cross daily.

“If we were to scour the Bible, we’d see there is not a single passage that states we are called to change people. Why? Because it’s not our job, and it was never intended to be. We must take a step back and realize that God’s job is to be God, and our job is to lead people toward the door that is hope. Once we’ve done this, we must let go and allow Him who created the world to take care of the rest.  Jesus said: So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. (John 13:34)  Don’t waste your time trying to change people.  Instead, focus on loving well.”

This is such an important concept to grasp. I (Tom) think that many of us, including me, are often reluctant to delve into witnessing to people about Jesus because we think that “we” don’t have the skill, the knowledge, the evangelism gift, the personality, or whatever that will influence them to listen to us and respond to Jesus. We fear that “we” won’t say it right or be able to answer their questions properly. We get the idea that it is about “we” and what “we” can do when, as Jarrid says, it’s not about “we” (or “me”) at all.

All God wants us to do is love others enough to live as Jesus lived in front of them, show them God’s kind of love, and when the opportunity is there, to tell them what Jesus did for us. A witness simply tells what they saw, heard, and experienced.

So I guess the question is what can we do to better love others, especially those we know who are without Christ. One author suggests that we make it our purpose to “bless” at least three people each week, one of which is someone who is not a follower of Christ. How might you bless someone so they know you love them? How might that create an opportunity for you to witness for Jesus? Think about it then do it!

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