I remember accepting God at an early age and wanting to share Him with everyone. I was hungry to know Him, so I tried to learn as much as I could. These are good things; however, I had a hidden issue I was unaware of. I worshipped my knowledge of God. I felt that Sunday school made me an expert on Him. I felt that my private time with God made me stand out as a star. I felt doing things for God such as volunteering, praying, and reading my Bible made me superior. I had no clue that focusing on “my efforts” to build a relationship with God was self-serving.
Religion is humanly driven.
Religion focuses on how well we follow the rules.
Religion celebrates our knowledge.
Any of us can fall into this trap if we are not careful. God does not give us gold stars if we attend church each Sunday. He will not give us extra blessings for reading our Bibles. He is concerned with us. He wants to know us and He wants to deal with who we are. As I continue to grow, I am more sensitive to how my attitude could have been a poor witness of God. Who wants to communicate with a God that is aloof or narcissistic?
A reason the Church has been unsuccessful in reaching the lost is because of our pretense. We ask people to look at us and they can see the “rod in our eyes.” We are blinded by our goodness and they are repelled. It is time for us to look at the depth of our relationship with God.
Remember our discussion last week? Most of us know the discomfort of speaking about someone we do not know. We feel uneasy and we leave others perplexed. It is easier to talk about who and what we know. Our relationship with God is a tell-tale sign of how we present Him to others. If we do not understand why we believe in God nor build our relationship with God we cannot share with conviction.
What else makes it difficult for us to speak about God with others?
- We do not share the simplicity of God. We focus on theology before presenting a relationship with God. Why should others believe God loves them? Why should they pursue God? How does our testimony encourage others to seek God? We learn and grow in stages. A new believer may not understand how to grasp the fullness of God. Show people how God is present in their daily lives. Ask God for His wisdom to clarify the message. Also, ask God for these experiences in your own life.
- We talk too much. We don’t allow other people to respond. If we allow others to speak, we invite conversation. We can share thoughts and gain feedback as we talk with other people. When we defend our views and preserve our egos we confront other people. The gospel is a direct message without our assistance. Ask God for wisdom to speak and listen.
- We make assumptions about other people. Ask others what they believe. Ask others what their experience is with God. Ask what they know about God. We should not assume people are ignorant of God. They may know He exists, but not know He wants to be a part of their lives. Each person is valuable to God and He approaches the CEO and the thief without bias. Who are we to determine who “knows God” and who is “lost.” When we assume things about other people it can be misleading.
God wants others to know His reach is beyond Sunday morning. Our lives matter to God.
God does not want people to believe in Him just to avoid hell. He wants others to experience His life.
Are you encouraging others to pursue a relationship or religion?
Are you pursing a relationship with God that is worth sharing? Or are you saying what you have heard others talk about?