Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You Gotta Go!

“Go and make disciples of all nations...teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT).

The usual practice engaged in during the turn of a New Year is that of making resolutions. We resolve to eat better, to work harder, to love deeper...and yet to our shame, when those grand resolves are met with challenge, in many cases, they are outwitted and topple! We had been determined to hold our tongue...but we failed the first opportunity we were given! The problem is with the one who tries our patience, of course, and they seem to be at every turn. “I could better watch my temper if I didn't have to deal with that individual.” Sound familiar? Well, it's an excuse! And excuses come and go—and sadly they take our desire for righteous behavior right with them if we are not careful to confess our inadequacy and try again. Unless we are determined to not give up, we will do just that! Old habits are hard to break! I am thinking of several habits I wish my resolving alone would do away with: lethargy, fear, making the easy choice (not necessarily the right one!)...just to name a few! I am resolved more than ever to “Go into all the world...” (Mark 16:15) and yet that will not happen unless I actually go! Unless I put words, feet, and hands to my resolve it will be forgotten and go stale!

Our resolve is only our admittance to a problem and the desire we have to see it changed, it is not the problem solver. This must be clearly understood or we will never experience revival. If you want to get in shape then you must plan to exercise—your muscles need to be manipulated or they will not be transformed. If you want to hold your tongue then you must have a ready word to any rebuke or irritating comment—without such preparation you will only end up saying the wrong thing...again! And if you want to share Christ to a world lost in sin then you must know what Biblical evangelism is—and you must go about practicing it.

Along with the Word of God, YOU are what God ordained to use in order to tell the world about His redemption. Evangelism does not “just happen”—it involves people—people willing to carry out Jesus’ command to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” It requires feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace and a mouth willing to tell others how they can find that peace. And just like any resolution, YOU must put into action a plan of attack or you will see no fruit. If you desire to effectively do this, you must learn and then follow the example Jesus set while He was here on earth! We are told that Jesus was determined to only do that which His Father bade Him to do. If you are resolving to “Go!” this New Year, then jot down some of the ways Jesus went about it—and apply them! Here are some that I have noted:

Jesus overcame temptation. Satan will come to tempt me as well (when I am discouraged, loaded down with care, filled with doubts, tired, etc) and he will give me reason to dwell there, and in fear or frustration, forsake the command. I must be as ready as my Savior was. Jesus defeated His enemy with the Holy Scripture—I must do the same—for I must believe (and therefore act upon) what I declare to the lost to be true!

Jesus yielded to the Holy Spirit. I must never forget the importance of this deferring act. God will use me to befriend an individual, to declare His truth, and to pray for their salvation, but it will always be the Spirit that arranges the encounter, draws the heart to understand, and answers the prayer by making them a child of God!

Jesus made preaching high priority! I must do the same. Although it is always important to “live out” my Christianity it should never be done as a substitute for “preaching out” my Christianity. I must look for ways to step out of my comfort zone and open my mouth. There must be words to back up any spiritual principle I practice. Whether it is honesty in the work place or holiness in the public square—I should be able to explain why (from a Biblical Worldview) and lead someone to the Scriptures.

Jesus was committed to people and He was committed to prayer! As I read through the Gospels I see our Savior teaching crowds, healing crowds, feeding crowds, walking with crowds, having compassion on crowds (that can wear a person out!!!!). We know that Jesus experienced physical exhaustion...and yet we know He never sinned! Jesus ministered to people, but He also pulled away from them—“getting into a boat and rowing to the other side”—not to take a nap, but in order that He might pray! Jesus was committed to prayer as much as He was committed to people! If people are essential to evangelism…prayer is vital! Jesus not only received His “daily assignments” during times of intercession, He received power and the needed strength that allowed Him to minister so beautifully. I think the two must be in place—or evangelism will not be effective. If I minister without prayer I will become frustrated, impatient, and unloving to those I am trying to win to Christ—for I will be doing it all in my own strength (as if it us up to me!)—and I will fail miserably! Jesus knew that it was His Father that drew men’s hearts, and so, He talked to Him about it constantly.

Jesus called others to help. He said“'Come after me!'...and straightway they forsook their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:17-18). I am not supposed to do this on my own! I need the support and the encouragement from others. And so do you! We need to draw from each other's strengths, lift each other up when we are tired, and be an intricate part of each other's prayer life! If I am resolved to “Go” then I must persuade you to come along with me!

Evangelism is just as necessary today as it was when the Church began. We are not asked to consider making this a priority...we are commanded to carry it out! God desires that none perish but that all come to saving faith—we must passionately desire the same thing! Here is where the church must be resolved—for according to the Word of God, there is only one way that we can carry this out: “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

“Go and make disciples of all nations...teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT).

2 comments:

  1. Deana!
    Today I read some of the first chapters of your book. It's as if you had some sort of premonition about what I'd be going through today when I read them and you wrote them just for me. Thank you for being used of the Lord dear sis.
    You are amazing and I love you.

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  2. Deana,
    I was blessed by your post today! Thanks for sharing.
    It was great to see you last night. I look forward to getting a copy of your book. :-)
    Melanie

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