The Great Commandment as a motive for evangelism
I personally believe that the greatest implication of the gospel on one’s life should be a focus on the Great Commandment. Too many of us take lightly, like a Christian cliché, that we should love God and love others. We intellectually assent to the fact that we should do it, but, like James states, we look in the mirror and immediately forget what we look like.
Our head knowledge never moves to the heart. Or, the heart becomes “clouded” or “overwhelmed” with lesser things…things like business, tasks, and the like. In any event, it is easy to lose our heart, our passion for Jesus, as well as for the lost.
For instance, sometimes when I think about ministry, I think about business, deadlines, multiple tasks, and feelings of being overwhelmed. It is really easy to get lost in all that, and it is easy to lose sight of why I do ministry. It is easy to do what I do because it is my role, because I want to help others who are in need of help, because I “have to”…and sometimes because I want to please others or even worse, please myself. In those moments, I have to prayerfully re-shift my focus to the person of Jesus.
Why do I want to share Jesus with others? “For the love of Christ urges us on…” I share the gospel because I am incredibly in love with Jesus! My desire is to please and glorify Him in all I do; I want the things that break His heart to break my heart! Where does this love come from? It comes from the fact that He first loved us. Jesus died for us! Don’t forget how incredible that is!
Because Jesus died for and first loved me, I want to return that love and give Him pleasure…much like we return the love of a child or spouse. I am no longer satisfied in living for myself. My only satisfaction is found in loving and pleasing Him…and sharing Him with others is a natural outflow of that love and pleasure.
My motive for evangelism is simple: I am passionately in love with Jesus and want to please Him. I am grateful that God saved me from my lost state, and I will not get the punishment I deserve. Because of His demonstrated love, I want to be an ambassador of good news to those who are hopeless and to those who don’t have good news.
As you pray and think about Jesus, as applied to sharing the Good News, don’t focus on "stuff"…all the tasks to be done, things to coordinate, the fact that folks might not like me anymore, etc…things that can distract you from why it is that you share. Instead, let your motivation be your love for Him and a desire to please only Him.
Call to action
1. When was the last time you experienced a time of absolute affection for Jesus? What was your life like at that time? What was your evangelism like at that time? Why?
2. Renew Your Passion! The below exercise is from Paul Borthwick’s book Stop Witnessing…and Start Loving.
Pray Psalm 86:11:Pray that Jesus will be your top priority. When He becomes your top priority, evangelism, outreach, and the like will be natural by-products.
Fuel the passion to know Christ by being with other “passionate-to-know-God” people:Intentionally be with others who have a zeal for Jesus and a love for others. If you can’t find any such people, read the biographies or writings of folks like Jim Elliott, Hudson Taylor, C.S. Lewis, Oswald Chambers, or so on.
Don’t waste Your pain (Philippians 3:10):Invite Jesus to use your past, your present, all your “junk” and all your pain to fuel your passion for Him and a deeper passion to see His Kingdom advance in the world.
Fight passion busters: Identify the things in your life that kill your passion to know Christ and then fight against them like crazy! Examples of these include: bitterness, past disappointments, a need for security, materialism, “success,” and pride.
Kris Eldridge lives in Atlanta is the founder of Outreach Ministry Solutions. His focus is consulting with churches to help them reach their communities.
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