Whenever I hear the term “evangelize” I get the image of a preacher up at the pulpit exclaiming God’s Word with a vengeance. You know the guy who says, “Praise the Lord and AMEN” to everything. It is not a bad image, but I never can fit myself into that picture. I am not a get in your face kind of woman. It is hard for me to talk about my journey with God because I am afraid that people will judge me as a “holy roller.” I just want people to understand that everyone can feel God’s presence. You don’t have to be a preacher or a preacher’s wife to have it. Anyone can experience God’s love. So when I started to find ways that I evangelize my faith (mostly without even realizing it), I was in awe of how God works. You see, I spend most of my day writing about God and trying to get all of you to read my blogs. It is like extreme marketing. Since my degree is in marketing, it gives me joy to FINALLY use some of my schooling especially for God. Anyway, I sit at my computer and come up with topics that will entice everyday people to realize THEY NEED GOD. I give so much of myself and my life experiences so people will see I am allowing myself to be vulnerable for God. It can be frustrating and even a bit exhausting. My day dwindles away and I think, “What did I do today?” In my bible study, “Revealing Faith: Learning to Place God First in Your Life” I have expressed why we don’t evangelize our faith. I have come to the realization that many of us (me included) have decided faith is what we make it. We have set up the guidelines for evangelization on our own without even consulting God. We make the decisions when it comes to how people perceive us. But God has other plans for us and if we allow Him in our hearts, we will evangelize our faith without even knowing it. This is what happened with me when I started writing. God showed me that evangelization doesn’t have to look like the preacher at the pulpit. For some people it can look very different, but in order to truly exclaim God’s Word we must understand why we hold back from God. Why do we hold back how we truly feel about our relationship with God when talking to friends, family and strangers? Do we hold back because our faith is only lukewarm?
(Excerpt from “Revealing Faith: Learning to Place God First In Your Life)
Revelations 3:15-17 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
Ouch. Those words are not beating around the bush. Those verses say it plainly. Don’t be wish-washy in your faith or God will rebuke you. Don’t be a hypocrite about your faith either. Admit you are desperate for God, and then find the richness of your faith, not your wealth.
People with lukewarm belief or no belief for God are all around us. They are in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our work places and in our families. They may profess to believe in God, but do not practice it. I am talking about those that do not know the true meaning of sacrifice and servant hood.
These people are desperate for something in their lives that will make them feel special, blessed and wanted. Looking for instantaneous pleasure may start to grow old. Their search will continue in every corner except the corner with God because God makes them admit their mistakes and sins before He will work on their souls. God makes them think deeply about what commitment truly means. God makes them see their true selves, not the one they want people to see. God corners them, and they run off. I know this because I was a lukewarm believer during part of my life.
During that time in my life, I stayed as far away from church as I could because church was just a confrontation with God. Church was an inconvenience to my schedule. Church can be seen on TV, why do I need to go to church? There are plenty of excuses. I would have done anything to avoid a relationship with God. Actually, I just wanted to avoid God seeing all my sins up close and personal. One of my favorite scapegoats to help explain my non-church affiliation was to focus on the people who go to church every Sunday that were hypocrites and liars. Here is the thing with that; those hypocrites are willing to listen each week to God trying to talk to their souls, and I wasn’t. At least they were making an effort. The thought of how prideful I allowed my heart to get during this time in my life makes me cringe just writing this down. I had no idea what I was missing by placing myself first in life instead of placing God first.
You see, during this time in my life I only let a few people see my true love of God (basically me and God). My outside self was very different than my inside self. My relationship with God was hurt because of this. Having two personalities never does us any good. I finally realized that the two lives I was living needed to combine to one. I let God take over. So people might perceive that this “new” Anne came out of nowhere, but she didn’t. I was the same old Anne that God always knew; I just finally let others see her too. Evangelization was born.
I didn’t come out with a grand, “Praise the Lord.” I didn’t necessarily want to scare people off from God. I did want everyone to understand that God is within us and we can show that to others if we just let go of fear. Fear that someone might think we are strange. Fear that someone might disagree with what we are saying. Fear that someone might reject us because of our belief. Remember that fear is false expectations appearing real. Evangelizing can be buying a friend a coffee and listening to her problems. Evangelizing can be reaching out to someone who needs help. Evangelizing can be smiling at someone who just seems like they need a little something extra that day. Evangelizing can be thanking someone who helps you. It doesn’t have to be flamboyant to be evangelization. The only key to evangelization is that your relationship with God is not just lukewarm, but on FIRE! So spend some time with God today and find that flame to ignite the Holy Spirit within you!
How do you Evangelize your relationship with God to others? Do you have two different personalities like me? Are you happy with that situation?