During the Korean War, Marine General Chesty Puller, along with his men of the First Marine Division were surrounded on every side by hoards of invading Chinese troops at Chanqjin Reservoir (November 27, 1950). To his men Puller announced, “The enemy is on every side. They can’t escape!”
Perhaps at times you have felt that the “enemy” has surrounded you, putting you in a defensive, defeatist posture. In fact God may well have placed you behind enemy lines, so to speak, to win them to Christ. Surrounded as you are, you have unique access and opportunity as an “insider.” Following are a few suggestions on how you can bring these “outsiders” to faith in Jesus Christ:+
#1 Take little initiatives: Make an effort to greet your neighbor across the street, or the person on the elevator in your office building. Converse casually with people at the health center, or in the grocery store. In time, get their name. Develop the acquaintance. Cultivate a friendship.
#2 Begin praying for them and responding to them: Now that you have their name, begin praying for them by name. Ask God to give you compassion for them, and also to work in their hearts in giving them a hunger for himself. When you engage them, be sure you are not guilty of answering questions they are not asking, or talking long after they are finished listening. As an “insider fisherman”, learn to bait the fish rather than dynamite them out of the water. That is, restrain your urge to “hit” them with the Gospel. Wait, pray, and practice the principles found in Colossians 4:5,6, and James 1:19: “ Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders [the lost]; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone…Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
#3 Serve them: Isn’t it intriguing that the Good Samaritan felt no pressure to give a “commercial” for Jesus after serving the needs of the injured man? (Lk. 10:25-37) Perhaps he understood the power of love and Jesus’ injunction to let one’s light shine through good deeds (Matt. 5:16). By the way, the Biblical idea of a neighbor has little, if anything to do with geography, but has everything to do with serving those who need us.
#4 Partner with others: In seeking to win the lost, “Lone Rangerism” usually is not the best approach. The Scriptures are replete with the idea that evangelism is primarily a group or team effort: Jesus: “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” (Jn. 4:38) Paul: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (I Cor. 3:6) So involve some of your believing friends in helping you with the planning and execution of your outreach to the lost. You will find strength, courage, and the blending of gifts in a group/team effort.
In next week’s “Facts” we will conclude the discussion with points 5 – 7.
May you experience His grace, peace, and protection this week!
R. Dwight Hill
+Adapted from seed thoughts by Jim Peterson of the Navigators in a series of lectures, 01/’02, Malaysia (Original release date Dec 22nd, 2004)Views: 22