Saturday, August 2, 2008

Encouragements

I told you I was going to give an update on previous posts where I had shared my conviction about the need to be building relationships with nonbelievers and do what I can to influence more people to come to Christ. It's an area where I've been greatly encouraged by the Lord, and I wanted to share a couple of those encouragements.

First, I've seen where these relationships are not just tasks to be checked off the "Christian to-do list" but rather an outflow of a heart devoted to Christ's cause on this earth. It's a matter of God wanting to create an openness in my heart towards these opportunities and essentially making it a part of my character to want what He wants and to live according to His same priorities. I get that that's the goal. But I realize more and more how little my priorities actually match up with His, and I'm learning that He doesn't wait until we reach perfection to include us in His work. He takes what we give Him, and He mercifully walks us through the baby steps of this life of following Him. I'd think He'd tire of the baby steps, but He is ever so patient. And as I've said before, this relationship-with-nonbelievers thing is not something I've yet grown up to where God desires. Still taking baby steps. But oh my goodness. I have seen that even in our baby steps of growth, He responds. He leads. He acts. He always does His part of the things He has promised. And in this one little area, I've already seen where He has been faithful to bring about relationships, opportunities, and the power to impact the heart of a person who does not yet know Him. What a privilege to be a part! I have one such person in my life now, and you can all say a big "YAY!" about that, and I say thanks to so many of you who have played a part in that journey with your wise words and ongoing conversation about this. So YAY! A relationship is there. And openness is there on the part of the nonbelieving friend. And several things have happened that absolutely confirm to me that the Holy Spirit is definitely at work in this person's life! I'm praying. I'm just thankful for God's precious reminder to me that He asks something from us in regard to this one area because He is already at work and will always finish what He's started!

The other thing about all this that has encouraged me greatly is that I've seen how much of a team effort it can be. In this one particular relationship, a friend of mine met this person and started her own relationship with her. My friend began the investing. And then through introducing us, she included some others of us in this process. And we've all played a different part. My friend is doing an amazing job investing in this relationship and the Holy Spirit has given her beautiful words to share about Christ, and her genuine love has so validated her words. I've played a small part. To share in that love, to ask intentional questions to get her thinking about Christ and to come alongside with words that speak of who Christ is. To pray. To encourage others are witnessing as well. And I just am so refreshed by the fact that God often uses a community of people to reach one lost person. I know that should have been more obvious to me, but I guess one of the ways Satan discouraged me in this area is by making me feel like I had to play all the parts in helping someone come to Christ. Sounds so silly! But I guess he's had success with that since pride is ever an issue in my life. And I finally have felt the freedom of playing whatever role God has for me. Sometimes I will be the initiator and someone else will play the coming-alongside role and other roles, and other times, like this one, I'll be in the supportive role. And the roles may change even within the same relationship! Whatever God has planned. But I think I had to take this pressure off myself to play all the roles and just follow God's specific leading for particular situations. That is encouraging, my friends! I love seeing God at work in these things, and I still can't get over the fact that He uses us in them.

What are some of the encouragements God has given you in the area of living "on mission" for the gospel?

3 comments:

Kate said...

Love this post. Thanks for sharing your heart and for your encouraging words.

Christa said...

I think the main thing I have learned lately is that God desires me to be available to Him to use me when and how He desires to use me. I don't have to figure it all out on my own I just need to walk where He leads. He will lead me to the right places if I remain available to Him.

Christa said...

Sorry...I forgot to say that I am excited for you and the community of believers that is praying and loving together! It is encouraging (not just to ya'll) to see God work, but also to me and others. Thanks for seeking Him and sharing where He is leading.