Larry (not his real name) lived across the street during high school. We played on the golf team together, but Larry was a much better golfer. After I trusted Christ, I share the good news with Larry. He called me soon afterward and said, “Mark, I placed my faith in Christ and am so excited. Can I see you?”
I couldn’t wait to see Larry. I lived off campus. Larry knocked on my door, and we talked awhile. “Let’s go to a park and share our faith,” Larry said. “Sounds like a great idea,” I said.
Larry and his father were very close. A few weeks later, Larry called me. “I shared the gospel with my father and he said I’m too fanatical about my faith. Our family doesn’t believe like that. I don’t want my father mad at me!” That’s the last time I heard from Larry.
Sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton wrote in their book, Soul Searching, that many people live what they call, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Faith is reduced to rules for a happy life, religion is a self-help tool, and God is a removed and distant being. This religion won’t offend anyone.
How can we live a life of distinction so we stay consistent in the midst of persecution while drawing non-believers to Christ?
- Exploit God-provided situations
One of the Pharisee leaders watched Jesus closely when He asked, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?" Jesus healed a man suffering from dropsy. He reasoned that you would pull a son or ox out of a well on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-6). Minister to needs that come across your path.
- Humble yourself
Jesus spoke a parable to invited guests after noticing they picked places of honor at the table. Instead, He told them to sit in the last place so the master may say, 'Friend, move up higher', resulting in honor instead of disgrace. "For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:7-11). Humble yourself to be exalted.
- Spend time with the needy
Jesus told the host not to invite his friends, brothers, relatives or rich neighbors, lest they invite him in return. When giving a reception, invite the poor, crippled, lame and blind to be blessed since they can’t repay. Wait for payment at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:12-14). Spend time with the poor, crippled, lame and blind.
- Leave your comfort zone
Jesus shared another parable about a man who invited many to a big dinner. They made various excuses why they couldn't come: oversaw a piece of land, tried out five yoke of oxen, and married a wife. The master told his slave to go immediately into the streets and bring in the poor, crippled, blind and lame. After finding there was still room, the master said to "go out into the highways and along the hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." None invited shall taste of His dinner (Luke 14:15-24). Leave your comfort zone so the poor, crippled, blind and lame can experience a personal relationship with Christ.
- Make Christ your first love
To be a disciple, one’s love for Christ is like hate for family and his own life. Being a disciple involves carrying a cross. Count the cost to become a disciple like building a tower or being strong enough to win in battle. Put possessions in proper perspective. Not paying the price of discipleship results in being tasteless and ineffective (Luke 14:25-35). Make Christ your first love in order to influence others.
- Do I minister to needs that come across my path or walk on the other side to avoid them?
- Am I humble not expecting attention or exalt myself to feel important?
- Do I spend time with the poor, crippled, blind and lame (either physically or spiritually) or only hang out with important and beautiful people?
- Do I leave my comfort zone to help the poor, crippled, blind and lame experience a personal relationship with God or hide away at home, in my office or church building?
- Do I pay the price in loving Christ more than other things or love other things more than Christ?
I will repent of my sin, ask God to change my heart, and obey Him doing what’s listed first in each question.
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