“Do you think there was something amiss with the way the gospel message was introduced to us?”. This was a question from a friend as we sat in a meeting waiting for quorum so that we could start. The meeting was not of a religious kind and so the question was unexpected, but I was interested.
Knowing this brother as one who’s been a Christian for a long time, I was curious to know the thoughts behind the question. “Why do you ask that?” , I asked him (talk of answering a question with another). He went on to say that according to his observation, there are many (I suspected including himself) who even after many years of being in salvation, still seem to be chasing something they’re not getting hold of.
He further gave examples of ‘the pursuit of purpose’ where many begin projects believing they’re led of God but neither seem to succeed or settle successfully in one, causing one to question whether they’re still led of God. In the end he summarized his observation by saying that many come to Jesus after being promised that their natural circumstances will change for the better, but many years down the line, no changes and sometimes if any for the worse.
It was at this point I almost shook his hand (I restrained myself) for he spoke the same thoughts I had been having around the same season. We did not get a lot of time to explore a little more since the meeting soon kicked off, but I had the opportunity to at least agree with the possibility of truth in his observation. My personal take on my friend’s observation is that the way the gospel message is delivered/communicated to a person when he’s making the decision is very important as it forms the foundation of their faith.
Jesus in explaining this to Nicodemus said to him,
“…..You must be born again..”(John 3:1-8).
The new birth is a completely new start and is the ground of our relationship with Jesus. It does not necessarily mean the change of our physical circumstances. As a matter of fact they might become worse before becoming better. The children of Israel had to first depart from the ‘comforts’ of Egypt, into the wilderness, before entering the promised land where the land flowed with milk and honey.
If one comes to Jesus thinking primarily of his/her natural circumstances, and not allow Jesus to identify and deal with the root need first, they may be disappointed and frustrated. It is so important to lay the right foundation Jesus did not make a seeker friendly presentation to those that sought to know what it takes to follow Him;
“…..“One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me…” (Mark 10:21)
“….He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.…”(John 12:25.)
“….If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. …”(Luke 14:26)
“….. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, …” (Luke 14)
I think that it is prudent for those that seek to make converts for Jesus to communicate the truth as it is rest the recipients receive the truth for what it is not. The journey begins on resurrection ground and for there to be resurrection, there has to be death first, death of the old and resurrection of the new.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.“(2Cor 5:17)
That said, our Lord has some pretty reassuring words,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world..” (John 16:33)
Peace in Him,