There was a time, a few years ago, that I was more...fervent? More...excited about my faith? Maybe what I'm trying to say is that I was very willing and ready to talk about Jesus.
Here's the history: I had just recovered from a short, albeit, deep depression. Crying all day? check. Mentally cloudy? check. Reclusive? check. With this depression, came the conviction that I had been ignoring the God of the universe. I had gone to church, yes. And I had frequently talked about God on an intellectual level. But, I wasn't reading his Word like it was my daily sustenance. I wasn't praying like he was my dearest friend and highest king. I didn't cherish God in the quiet of my heart or in my thoughts. Actually, this conviction was happening way before I was brought down low into depression. I remember telling a friend (who clearly saw the signs of depression, based on her advice that I seek counseling and/or medication) something like, "Well, I just don't think I've got my priorities in order. I don't really spend much time reading the Bible or praying." So, basically, I felt conviction for a long while, but ignored it almost completely.
So, friends, I was brought down low. I was as helpless as a sheep stuck on its back. Through uncontrollable tears, I finally immersed myself in the Bible. I read the Psalms mainly. I cried out to God all my waking hours asking him to make my heart right. This went on for only a few weeks before I was restored. I had deep joy and satisfaction in God. My life was revived. And I just wanted to talk to Jesus and I wanted to talk about Jesus who rescued me from the pit of despair...and from hell. And, then I noticed something...
People. Christian people. They didn't feel the same way that I did. Not every Christian responded negatively. But there were enough. And they did not want to talk about Jesus. They didn't want to hear about Jesus. I'd ask deeper-ish questions and it would completely kill conversation. I remember one time finding out that a man from my church had just become a Christian a few years earlier and I asked him to tell me what it was like. I asked, "Aren't you excited to tell people about God's love and His salvation???" And his response? "I was at first. But, then you chill out."
I remember hearing this a lot: "You don't have to tell people the gospel. People will see how you're different and they'll wonder what's so different about you. And then you can tell them."
Seriously??? Seriously. I know, I know. There's that famous quote, "Preach the gospel wherever you go, and if necessary, use words..." or something. But, please. Isn't this often a free pass for us chickens to not mention offensive things like, SIN, JESUS, HEAVEN, HELL, CREATOR?
Basically, months and months of discouragement progressed and I, too, succumbed to "chilling out". But, there's a stirring in my soul and I'm seeking God in his Word daily again. Praise the LORD!!!
So, do you want to know the catalyst for this post???
My friend Holly asked her mother-in-law if she could practice sharing the gospel with her using "the Bridge Illustration". Her mother-in-law is totally into crystals and transcendental thinking. Basically, she believes that God is a leaf or a fish or whatever and everything is God and God is everything. So, she agreed to listening to the gospel message, but first said this in a sweet voice:
"Holly, you don't have to tell people what you believe. The way you live your life is already a witness."
This is so similar to what I've heard so many Christians say. And it came from someone who calls on spirits to heal people, someone who does not revere Jesus as any kind of Saviour.
Don't buy the lie, my Christian friends. And don't sell it either. Let's not rely on merely our good works and outward appearances to win the lost. Let's not rely on merely a well-kept lawn and tucked-in shirts. Let's not rely on merely our smiles and work ethic. Let's not rely on ourselves and, instead, let's rely very much on the actual message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.