“It’s not about setting goals, but about how your love has grown”, said the author of the book called Irresistible Influence. This book has challenged my thinking as how to build bridges into the community that connect people to the real living and breathing Jesus. The foundations of the bridges we build are proven by our good works. When the watching world sees the church’s selfless and radical sacrifices, it is the best proof to professed faith in Christ.
How deep is your love?
There’s an immediate problem with that. You just can’t go quantifying love. Even if you could, the results would be highly subjective. You also can’t count, or quantify, Christ-likeness. The vision of my church, Abundant Life in Lee’s Summit Missouri, is to be living proof of a loving God to watching world. I love that. Someone took time crafting that statement through prayer, personal experience, and a heart for reaching this city. In order to tell people the truth of God’s love for them, they’ve got to see the proof.
I guess there’s a difference between a truth teller and a proof teller. Don’t get me wrong, telling the truth is not only good, it is necessary. It’s just that the truth needs to be communicated in such a way that the source of the truth is completely good and trustworthy.
How do we best prove the love of God to watching world? Many well-meaning Christian brothers and sisters lean heavily on apologetics as the method of reaching people intellectually, but that has its limitations. There’s no denying the Apostle Peter his plea to be ready to give any man a reason for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15), but this only reaches a certain group of people geared towards academia and intellection.
Truth unsolicited, even solid eternal truth, never falls on favorable ears.
Zig says that “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” So HOW do we get them to care? Good works. Random acts of kindness and common calculated care are always in order, AND so is sacrificial extravagant gifts of unexplainable love.
Those kinds of gifts rattle the reasons rationals have railed against the redeemed.
Jesus says in John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus qualifies that command two chapters later by describing the nature of our relationship to God through Himself. John 15:15 states “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus calls us his friends. Imagine that. The most high God could’ve chosen any other title, but he chose to call us “friends”. Servants serve because they have to. Friends serve because they want to! Friends serve because they love others. Let’s make no mistake on the source of this love. 1 John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us.”
So go and get truth. Get it real good. But let it drive us to our knees when the broad blade of God’s truth severs us from the pride ribboned deep in our hearts. Let the great equalizer of good works, brought by God’s love in us, prove the love of God to a watching world!