In our winsome relevant way, we need to be careful we don’t soften the delivery of the gospel’s message. The medium of our words, plus human ethos, makes a difference in our converse with others. Yet, when we share the essence of the gospel, we know our lips are not adequate for such brilliance to pass from them. It gives us pause, and helps us surrender our will to His Spirit, so that His message reaches the heart of another where our words cannot. God has entrusted to us the message, so we can’t afford as the saying goes, ‘to be soft as a sneaker full of puppy poop.’
The human heart has erected it’s battlements, and there must come a time when we lob truth into the bunker to release that heart; perhaps afraid, confused and full of questions, in order for the face of Christ Jesus to emerge from the rubble of failed philosophies, rationales and lesser ignoble pursuits, inviting them to relationship.
Yesterday I approached three young people on the train platform by the school. I was technically ‘off the clock,’ on my way home, pretty spent from a long week in the trenches. But something about these two young ladies and their young male friend intrigued me. So, I blundered up to them and excused my intrusion. “I don’t want to crash your party, but I’d like to ask you a question.” I smiled, but they didn’t return the gesture. “Do you have questions about God that you feel are not easily answered?” You should have seen them light up! The question had suddenly released an avalanche of interest, and they all started to talk at once. This led to a pretty serious debate about heaven and hell. “If you fell into the train coming right now and died, do you think you’d go to heaven, or…” The young man finished my sentence. “Hell,” he said. He was sure as the nose on his face he was heading there. “How can you know if you’re on your way to heaven,” one of them asked? Her friend answered, “you need God in your life, He’s the only way to get there.” It dawned on me that her friend was not ashamed of the gospel, but boldly spoke what she knew in her heart to be true. No sneaker full there.
God fills our heart to fill the mouth, in order to shorten the distance between us, and someone seeking. Our generous words must get to the message of surrender. Nobody likes that word. A Christian of forty years, or a person understanding the nature of the gospel for the first time has that in common. Our lower nature wants independence, yet it’s a fragile mysterious space we sojourn that hasn’t first given all to God. For that reason, we must approach others with a certain chutzpah, a daring nerve to speak without fear, and to trust God for every breath in doing so.
The conversation with the three teenagers reminds me that in order to bring truth to a person, at the right time, gracious grenades need to be lobbed to dismantle long embraced fortifications. In the spirit of relevance, and relational bonding, it’s easy to forget that Jesus is still the only way, the only truth, and the only life worth surrendering to.