Reflecting on the moment that we became Christians can envoke powerful feelings for many of us. As we learn in scripture God doesn’t want us to stay in that moment. He wants us to disciple others so that more people will know the truth. At times that can be a daunting task that we may feel unprepared for.
What does the Bible say?
In John 21:15-25 Jesus tells Peter, “feed my sheep” and he doesn’t just say it one time. He says it three times and if the Lord has placed a call on your life, he invites you to follow him and he also gives us purpose by telling us how important love is and how we should treat others. Here in this scripture Jesus is calling us to feed his sheep. That means we don’t love others when we think they are worthy enough. We simply obey Jesus’ instructions to care for his sheep. Jesus is not asking if we love certain people enough to “feed” them, instead he is asking Peter if he loves him (Jesus) enough to feed them. That is the question we must ask ourselves. Do we love Jesus enough to talk to others about the hope that we have in Jesus?
Embracing Our Titles
When we become a Christian we inherit more than the title of “Christian”. We also are called to be a missionary and a disciple. A disciple of truth! This means we are to speak about the hope that we have in Jesus, just as 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be prepared with an answer (or defense) for the faith.
We are also called to live boldly for our Savior. That also means speaking boldly about him. To be a Christian Defender means that you share about the hope of Jesus Christ to the ones without hope. While there are different aspects to Christian defending such as science, moral reasoning, experiential, etc. it all points to the same person, Jesus. It is our job to speak his truth and it is his job to soften the hearts and minds of the people you speak to.
God just asks for us to speak his life giving words to others.
I’ve been a Christian for just over 15 years I know that I can produce all sorts of physical evidence available but that may not open the eyes of an unbeliever. I have to trust that the Lord has already made a way for the person I’m speaking to, to hear the truth. Because it’s not what we do or how spiritually gifted we are if we don’t trust in the power of God.
When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior into our life we are not operating in your own strength or our own abilities any longer because we are a new creation. Once we have the holy spirit abiding in us, we are gifted with new abilities. What was not possible before is now possible because we are operating with the holy spirit.
Sadly, our culture today teaches us two things:
1) You can do anything you want, anytime you want.
2) You have to prove your ability first before people will believe you.
Notice here these two teachings start with “you”. Our culture is great at entertaining our ego and doesn’t focus on others. Jesus calls us to feed his sheep and when we want to question God about the way he has called us to serve we are questioning his love and will. There was a time in my early 20’s when I was homeless. I will never forget the way people looked at me and I could tell they didn’t think I was worth much because I was living at a park. At night when it got dark I would hide in the park inside a kids slide. I was alone, afraid, and hopeless.
People without hope are just like this…alone, afraid, and hopeless. Hoping to see some tiny thread of hope to hang onto because without hope you are riddled with fear of what may happen to you. Every person has a story and even if you do happen to pass by a homeless person I pray that you can see that they too have a story. There is a reason they seek to indulge in addictions and I pray God uses you to feed his sheep and speak hope into the weary and the lost.
As Christians we are called to be defenders not because we get a degree that says so but because we love God and his commandments. He loves his creation and we should also. We love people because we have been made new by the power of God. That love is the strongest force on earth, so today let’s speak truth to others by sharing with them the hope that is found only in Jesus Christ.
“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. But do this with gentleness and respect.” -1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)