When you got that grade you never thought would be possible? You worked so hard all semester long, hoping and praying to just pass the class. And then, miracle of miracles, you earned a B! You’re excited, elated, ecstatic; all your hard work actually paid off, and you can’t help doing a dance for joy—even though everyone in the library is watching.
When you open your locker to find it filled with balloons, a teddy bear, and an obnoxiously large handwritten note from your long-term crush asking you—yes, you!—to the prom? You let out a delighted squeal and bowl over two freshmen (oops!) as you rush to tell your best friend! She’s not going to believe it! Or (for you guys out there) when that beautiful girl in your physics class, the girl you’ve liked since she moved to town in sixth grade, says she’d love to go to the Homecoming dance with you? You want to do a cartwheel down the hallway, but instead play it off and simply ask, “Pick you up at 6?”
When it’s Christmas morning and you’ve been up since 4 a.m. counting down the minutes until your parents wake up. You rush to the tree and—lo, and behold!—the gift you’ve been wanting since the day after last Christmas, the one you’ve thought about every day since then, is sitting there with your name on it. You dash across the room, snatch it up, and jump around in circles, unable to contain your excitement. Oh, and your family definitely got it all on video.
Remember that moment. Even if you’ve never experienced one of the moments I just described, my guess is that you’ve had at least one of “those moments.” Those moments when the world suddenly looks different, all the colors become brighter, and your joy literally flows out of you. No matter how hard you try, you can’t keep your excitement inside, but it doesn’t matter because you don’t want to keep it bottled up. No, you want the whole world—or at least everyone in your five-foot radius—to know about it. Because it’s that amazing.
Those moments are both incredible and incredibly rare. Their rarity makes us appreciate them even more; however, it also leaves us longing. If only we could bottle up that feeling and save it for a rainy day. If only it would last just a little longer. If only, if only. But alas, that’s impossible. Or so I thought.
Pause for a subject change. But don’t worry; we’ll come back.
This week at the Kanakuk Institute, we learned about evangelism. In case you don’t speak “Christianese,” let me translate for you. Evangelism simply means telling others about Jesus and sharing the Gospel (to be explained later.) In multiple places in the New Testament, Christians are commanded to go and share the Gospel. It’s not optional; rather, it’s arguably the most important thing we are each called to do as believers. Having said that, I should be great at evangelizing. I should love to share my faith with others. I should be chomping at the figurative bit for opportunities, right?
Wrong… At least until last Thursday.
You see, I never wanted to share my faith because, well, I wasn’t enjoying it. Yes, I knew on a cerebral level that God is good and faithful; I’d even experienced it several times. Yes, I knew I would spend eternity with Him and that this would be awesome. I understood theoretically that Christianity was the answer to all of my—and the world’s—problems, but my reality didn’t seem to line up. Although I knew Jesus and had Him as my Savior, I still felt lost, like I was missing something, but I had no idea how to find it… or even what it was. And if I, as a Christian, wasn’t experiencing freedom, wasn’t full of joy and peace and contentment, if I wasn’t “feeling it,” so to speak, why would anyone else want to become a Christian? And why would I want to share my faith? It’d be like trying to sell a product that I had never used or with which I wasn’t fully satisfied. Simply put, it would have felt like a lie. So instead, I kept my faith to myself, trying desperately to get my life on track in the vain hope that one day, if I tried long enough, if I worked hard enough, if I was good enough, I would find what I was looking for. And maybe I wouldn’t feel so empty anymore. Hopefully.
So now we’re going back to where we left off with “those moments.” When I was in 8th grade, I had the most important “that moment” of my life. I understood the truth of the Gospel—that Jesus loves me, He died for me, and His grace saves me—and it was incredible, like passing a test, getting asked out, and Christmas morning all rolled into one and then times infinity! I felt joy, peace, excitement, contentment; all of a sudden I was alive. And it was AWESOME! I loved Jesus and wanted everyone to know about Him.
But then something changed. I started to grow in my faith, but as I did, I began to believe that my faith was dependent on things I did rather than what Christ did for me. I needed to “make God happy” by how I lived my life rather than by simply giving Him my life. I got sucked into the trap of religion and, as a result, misplaced the relationship. As Revelation 2:4 says, I had forgotten my “first love” and, what’s worse, I didn’t know what to do about it.
Cut to last Thursday night. When I rediscovered the Gospel.
You’re a mess. You can’t fix yourself. But even though you’re a mess, Jesus loves you. Jesus died to save you. Only He can fix you. His grace alone can save you.
So what does this have to do with evangelism? And why does this matter? Well, it has everything to do with evangelism. And it’s the only thing that matters.
You see, God created us for a relationship with Him. His greatest desire is that we would desire Him. But we are sinners and not capable of a relationship with God on our own. So God sent Jesus who brought the Gospel. Jesus loves us, He died for us, and we are saved and brought into a right relationship with God though His grace alone. That’s not just the “Good News;” it’s the best news ever. And because it’s the best news, and because God desires a relationship with everyone, we shouldn’t just keep it to ourselves. On the contrary, we need to tell everyone all the time!
Now we return once more to “that moment.” If you’ve never experienced “that moment” with Jesus, if you’ve never taken hold of the Gospel and received this grace Jesus offers, then I encourage you—nay, implore you with all I am—don’t miss this! Ask Him to be your Savior and give your life to Him. It will be the BEST decision you ever make. Guaranteed.
And if you have experienced “that moment” but, like me, have lost sight of it, then run to Him; run back to His Gospel. Ask Him to make it new to you again. And then (I know this sounds crazy, but believe me that it’s awesome), go share it with someone.
You can’t fix yourself. But Jesus loves you. And Jesus died for you. You are saved by His grace alone. Not just for “that moment” or “this moment,” but for every single moment of every day for eternity. And in case you were wondering, that’s a lot of moments. 😉