Top Ten Evangelism Mistakes, Number One
Not putting others first
Two weeks ago I was struck by this printed message on my sales receipt. Yes, I know the clerk is not the Messiah, but the implication is there—Jesus came to give his life for us.
Jesus physically left the earth 2000 years ago, but not before charging us to make disciples of unbelievers. We are called to be ambassadors of Christ by being Jesus to others. This means putting the spiritual needs of others first.
Think about it. We are the link between an unbeliever and the cross. This gives us an incredible burden and responsibility for the spiritual welfare of others.
How do we put the spiritual needs of others first? At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, I will suggest three ways.
- By being transformed into the image of Christ. This is not natural. It takes consistent training in the spiritual disciplines to develop an intimacy with Jesus. Faith is not static; it is a dynamic process, and it can be grown. When we focus on our own spiritual growth, we will become more like Jesus every day. We will be transformed from the inside out; and, as a result, our character and actions will reflect his glory. As we become true disciples of Jesus, we will not only be like him, but we will become him. Our reflection of Jesus will attract unbelievers and lead them into relationship with him.
- By serving others. Recently, some friends of ours were traveling and their car broke down. When they called us, it was getting late and the car repair shops were already closed. We happened to know some people who lived in a nearby town, so we contacted them to ask if they could help. They responded by saying that they would be happy to feed our friends and put them up for the night. When we thanked our gracious friends for their help, they replied, “Thank you for the opportunity.” Just as Jesus came to serve us, we have opportunities every day to put others first by serving them.
- By trusting in the leading of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 12:12, Jesus said, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” We are human, and do not have limitless wisdom or knowledge. This is why we need allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we interact with unbelievers. He will show us what to say and when to say it. Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our hands and feet requires us to sacrifice our pride and to subject ourselves to his will—where ever that may lead. Trusting the Holy Spirit may yank us from our comfortable lives, but it will certainly allow God to use us to meet the spiritual needs of others.
If we desire to spiritually impact unbelievers, we must put them first. It’s not about us; it’s about being instruments for God’s glory.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Be dangerous like Jesus!