(Today's post by Keith Senator)
I read a book about 20 years ago where a missionary went to some people group to share the gospel, they ate him. Well, the book was not so concise. But when I finished, I was deeply moved by the guy's conviction and desire to carry the gospel at tremendous risks to himself. But he simply understood the big picture. But I always thought, was that the best way to approach it. Seriously?
Conceptually I get it, knowing that we were created by and for God and everyone else needs to know Him too. That is easy to understand, right up to the point where I am inconvenienced, or it costs me something.
In I Peter 3:13-4:6, we see our model, Christ himself, showing how to do this life. Amazing to see His resolve through the crucifixion. I mean it seems impossible. Would I be able to stand in the face of adversity, knowing who my God is, knowing there is nothing anything or anyone can do to me beyond the grave? I don't know. Well I do a little.
In verse 15, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. ”
This shows us that we have a story, it is a real live story, not a religious talk. Give an answer to everyone, the reason for the hope, wow. In the past, I was challenged…if you were asked in a group setting, Keith are you a Christian, what would you say?
My response was very interesting and yet very telling.
Initially I was like, Yes, I am a Christian and proud of it. Then I thought for a second, do they know what a Christian is really? How do I know my definition is the same as theirs? Then I was thinking, what if they are operating under a bad or messed up definition? If I were sharply ridiculed, would I have a voice to share my story later? Is it possible that I need more information before answering the question? Mmm?
Then I think about Christ, look at how he had the best out that anyone could have, he was completely innocent, yet he did not try to get around it. He did not attempt to minimize his torture. It is clear to me that Christ fully understood the big picture, he knew it was a spiritual battle, not a physical battle. They took Christ's physical life, but they never touched him. He is still very much alive.
Now back to the book I read many years ago. His family (the guy who was eaten) ended up going back to the same people group (who ate their dad and husband) and eventually converted them to Christianity. It was the seed in the ground, thought dead, that gave them the opportunity to move the needle in that culture. Was it part of God's plan all along (that is a slippery slope question). But to address it, God uses all things, even bad decisions by others, to accomplish his will. God was able to show himself to those people because somebody was willing to go. And then somebody else was required to go when the first was taken out.
It is one thing to be at the point of death and telling your story about how Christ changed your life, but what about every day? What about when people are talking about a raunchy movie or a crude joke? Is it the same? Or not so much?