Friday, August 8, 2008

Spreading the Word...


Lately I've been thinking about my responsibility to share the Gospel. I recently read the following passage from Matthew (the Great Commission):

"Then Jesus came near and said to them, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'"
Now, like most of you, I've heard those verses over, and over, and over, and over...but they usually just bounce in one ear and out the other! The last time I read them, however, I read my Bible's footnote about those verses. It said:

"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. This is the meaning of the statement 'Jesus is Lord.' Since there is no power greater than His (Rom. 8:38-39; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:15-20) there is no other loyalty to which His disciples can give their absolute allegiance."

I looked up the above mentioned verses; here they are:
Romans 8:38-39: "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"
Philippians 2:9-11: "For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him
the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow--of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the
earth--and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
the glory of God the Father."

Colossians 1:15-20: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross--whether things on earth or things in heaven."

Christ is supreme. He is Ruler of all. No circumstances, earthly rulers, physical health conditions...nothing has the power to separate us from His love! Not only that, but God the Father Himself exalted Christ to a position that is higher than any other in the universe. Whoa! I owe Him all of my worship and allegiance and awe! That last passage is especially amazing. It states that Christ is "the image" of God, the "firstborn over all creation." This passage also says that "all things have been created through Him and for Him."

I have been created "for Him." My whole goal in life should be to direct glory and attention to Him. I should live life with Him as my central focus.
Like the footnote in my Bible said, His absolute power and authority demand my complete allegiance...this includes the commitment to spread His glory to everyone and anyone that I can. One way I spread the Gospel is through my personal testimony; sometimes actions speak more loudly than words. But I shouldn't shy away from spreading the Gospel verbally, either. Personally, I am not good in this area. I have no excuse; I know I have had opportunities come my way.

Last summer, I worked for my dad during the summer sports camps that he runs; I was his "administrative assistant." :-) I also helped set up lunch every morning, along with several other junior counselors who were around my age. Several of these kids were Catholic in name, but they obviously did not understand who Christ was. This was evident by the questions they asked me about my faith. I remember one day when one of the young girls asked me, "So, what do you believe?" I proceeded to explain that I believed Christ had died on the cross, thereby redeeming us from sin, and then rose again on the third day. I kind of laughed to myself when, as another junior counselor walked in, this young lady told him cheerfully, "I've been finding out about her religion!" It was strange to have someone call Christianity a "religion," even though I know that's the way the world sees faith in Christ's redemption. Isn't is it tragic that this young girl, and millions like her, see this incredible personal relationship with Christ as "just another religion"?

Unfortunately, I did not let this feeling drive me to fearlessly share why my faith was not just another religion. I shared what I believed, but I "tippy-toed" in sharing...I didn't want to freak them out!Even though I shared the gospel, I could feel myself (then and throughout the week) shying away from being really bold in proclaiming the gospel. I didn't want to offend them. I didn't want them to think I was "weird" or "super conservative."

It's kind of funny, but when I'm out of that kind of that situation, I come up with the eloquent speeches and responses that I will give when someone asks me about my faith. I seem to think that it's sometimes "easy" to share the gospel. But it's not...for me! I don't like to initiate those kinds of conversations!

But after my QT the other day, I realized that I don't have any reason not to share the gospel! In fact, I owe it to Christ to share His glory! He is all-powerful...and yet so often I dare to ignore that power, shrugging off the responsibility to witness!

Something else I've been challenged with lately is that I can "witness" to other believers. I can and should be an example to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Like my story above demonstrates, I struggle with being a "people-pleaser" rather than a "God-pleaser." I'm like a chameleon at times; I try to blend into the crowd around me, even if "blending in" equals "compromising." But Christ expects more out of me...His child for whom He gave His life. The child who He loves with a love which cannot be weakened. Ever. I must strive to live up to His expectations, not the expectations of those around me.

Another thing: Christ experienced many, many "uncomfortable situations"...and He persevered through the most uncomfortable of them all: excruciating death on a cross. He also suffered betrayal by close friends, mockery...I mean, for crying out loud, He was spit on!! If He went through all that "uncomfortableness" for me, shouldn't I be willing to experience discomfort for His sake, so that I can in some way repay Him for all that He's done for me?

I just came across a video on Kaysie's blog, "Cross-Eyed", that happened to deal with how to share Christ despite our fears. I encourage you to check it out.

OK, so I've typed my head off and shared all this stuff...now I've got to go out and practice it!

7 comments:

O "Monstro" das Tapadas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sharon said...

Hey Brianna!

I'm exactly the same. I remember one opportunity God gave me this year. It was really miraculous . . . and I messed it up. You did better than me in your story. But the Lord has been teaching me and helping me not to care what other people think of me, but only what Jesus thinks.

Thanks for linking to me. I didn't enable comments because I wanted it to be less of a blog and more of a website. I did put an email address there where I can be reached. But I'm open to suggestions. Do you think I should enable comments?

Julia said...

Amen! And that's me as well...I am not very bold in declaring my faith. Sometimes I even have trouble stating my convictions about dressing modestly, wanting to be a stay-at-home mom someday, and other things. :) Glad to hear I'm not quite alone. Let's hope we all get better at sharing the truth! :)
Julia

Miss Eyebright said...

I feel that I am a chameleon sometimes too. I act different when I with this person, and then I move on and be different again when I am with another person.

My problem is, is that the people around me either think they are Christians, or don't think they have any problems and don't want to discuss it. My problem is that nobody brings up the topic, and so I would have to start it myself, which I always find awkward, if I think of it at all.

I really appriciate this post, and your honesty.
Have a very bright, very cheerful day!
Miss Eyebright

alabasterboxblog said...

Brianna,

This was an amazing post. A great reminder for me. I loved all the verses you added... really pricked my heart. Thank you.

Oh, and I LOVE your new blog layout! It is stunning! Great job. Also, thank you for the link to Cross-Eyed. That was kind of you. God bless you, Brianna.

Kaysie

Liz :) said...

Hi Brianna! :)

This post Really encouraged me! I loved all of the verses you posted! Thanks so much for posting this, and for your honesty! :)

I hope you have a Wonderful week! :)

Love your Friend,
Liz

lori said...

Hey there!
I just stopped by to tell you what a great pic of you and your dad!!:)
I LOVE it!
I saw it first on your mom's site!

AND I love the new look!!
It's so pretty!

AND this was a fabulous post!
I've been catching up....
I'll send Maddie over too!

What a heart you have girl!
peace
Ms. Lori