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Friday, February 9, 2007

"Proclaiming" the Gospel

Last week during a discussion about sex in one of my classes the consensus seemed to be that we should be more open about sex in the media. The very last comment before class let out was by a student who reminded everyone of the value and sacredness of sex. She didn't actually use that word or even get religious at all, but it was a very refreshing and encouraging note to end on. Now that's proclaiming the Gospel! "Why didn't I do that?" I thought. I don't even know if this girl was a Christian (though I have a hunch she was) but to share such a perspective on sex with a hundred other classmates qualifies as proclaiming the Gospel in my mind.
To "proclaim the Gospel" requires us to share our faith in our actions as well as with our words.
The way we live is perhaps the most effective way to proclaim the Gospel. If we are the most eloquent speaker but our actions contradict what we say, no one will really pay attention. When that joy and peace that comes only from the Lord is seen by others in us, that is perhaps the best witness to the Gospel. If we are doing things right, others will notice that there's something different about us. They will recognize that we are not focused on ourselves but rather the well being of others. The Gospel lived is an attractive thing when we are able to stay out of the way of God and let him shine through us.
"Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Matt 5:16)

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Anonymous said...

thank you

Matt said...

(PART 2)
At times, however, actions alone are not enough. We are often called on to share what we believe with others. I'm afraid that many of these opportunities pass us by. God often crosses two people's paths so that one my encourage the other and help direct the other closer to Christ and we either don't recognize the opportunity, or are too scared to talk to someone about our faith. We ought to be excited for the chance to be used by God and always keep an eye out for these situations. We may not have all the fancy words but that doesn't really matter. Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will say (Matt 10:19). When we are genuine, people can tell. We don't really do the work anyways - that's God's job. He tell us that some may plant the seed of faith in other's hearts and some may water, but God is the one who causes the growth (1 Cor 3:7). This takes a lot of pressure off of us. We just need to make ourselves available, and the Lord will allow that person to come away from the conversation having heard and understood what they needed to. We should not be afraid to take a chance every once in a while and the more we do this, the easier it will become. In fact, one good way of proclaiming the Gospel would be by praying with others as was mentioned a few days ago. I also try to say a quick silent prayer at the beginning of the conversation calling on the Holy Spirit to give me the words to say and the wisdom of how to best deal with the situation. (Here I am, Lord. Use me. May your will be done here.)

"Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope." (1 Peter 3:15)