I’m having a hard time understanding why we are making this so complicated. I have seen so much on social media over the weekend concerning big issues that people feel so strongly about that they are turning into crazy people. I get that you are passionate about your beliefs and that’s awesome, but look at yourselves! Jesus didn’t do crazy, and neither should you.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2
Yes, God has set us apart, but that does not mean we are to physically set ourselves apart from the world. You know who did that? The Pharisees. And last time I checked, Jesus called them hypocrites on more than one occasion.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” -Matthew 23:25-26
I think it starts with our heart. I think if we were all honest with ourselves, we would agree that sometimes we act like modern day Pharisees. We spend so much time thinking about how we look, what others think of us, and how we are viewed on the outside, that we sometimes abandon what is on the inside. What really matters. Our hearts. Jesus told the Pharisees to first clean the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will also be clean. He is speaking to us there, too.
So what is faith? If your faith is just fancy theological talk, that is not real faith.
“A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” -Matthew 7:20
You know what? I don’t think God intended for all of this to be so complicated. Jesus made it seem so simple to me. So why are we making this so hard? Just try to be more like Jesus…right?
We say that we want to reach non-believers. We say that we want to bring people to know Jesus. I think Jesus taught in the coolest way, to all types of people.
“With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.” -Mark 4:33-34
In this passage, Jesus was teaching to the “crowd” by the lake. From this passage, I am under the impression there were a lot of non-believers present. Jesus did not speak in fancy theological words. He simply told stories and illustrated His words so people would be intrigued and listen. It explains to us here in Mark, that Jesus would always take His disciples back after speaking and explain things to them. He didn’t go into depth with the crowd.
I think we can learn a lot from what Jesus did here. If we really want to reach people, I think we have to be more like Jesus. I think we have to do more than just bring people to church. I think if we really want to reach people like Jesus did, we have to go to them. Meet them where they are. Develop real, true relationships with people. Tell stories. Be real. Show love and empathy. Pray for them. And maybe one day, they will ask questions about our faith. In the meantime, I think we need to know exactly what our faith is. Really spend time reading God’s word every day. Pray every day. Ask God to work through you and provide with words and situations to do His work.
We spend so much time emphasizing the whole, “bring someone to church” thing and while I totally get that and I think that is important, I don’t think that is where we are going reach the majority of the lost. I think we go to church to have community with other believers, to suit up in God’s armor, and then it’s our job to turn around and be the hands and feet of the church. Go out – reach out. Be like Jesus.
Obviously it is going to take a lot to reach non-believers. The only way I feel like we can do this, is to live like Jesus did. Love like Jesus did. And reach like Jesus did. I don’t think Jesus got caught up in the mess. You believe or you don’t. He kept loving, kept believing, and kept going. And so should we.