How to Let God's Love Flow through You
- Monday, January 22, 2007
* Evangelize wisely. Acknowledge the negative experiences many people have had with evangelization efforts that come across as pushy, rude, arrogant, or disrespectful. Make sure the people you’re trying to reach with the Gospel know that you care about them as people – not just potential converts. Ask God to help you see people as He does. Pray for God’s love to flow through you into the lives of people you encounter. Make time to build genuine relationships with them. Remember that they need to know that you care before they care what you know. Consider what specific ways you can naturally let God’s love flow into the everyday activities you do with your family and friends. Think and pray about what acts of kindness you can do to communicate God’s love to them. Always be prepared to answer spiritual questions people ask, but do so with gentleness and respect. Remember that most people are loved into God’s kingdom rather than argued into it. Don’t feel undue pressure, as if you’re the only one responsible for bringing a loved one to Christ. Understand that God wants you to do your part, but that ultimately He is the one who works in that person’s heart to draw him or her into a saving relationship with Him. Remember that God loves your family and friends even more than you do, and, unlike you, God isn’t limited in His efforts to reach them.
* Listen well. Let people know you care about them enough to truly listen to the thoughts and feelings they express. Lay aside your own agenda in conversations and give people a chance to control the direction and pace of the conversation so they can fully express themselves. Know that doing so will tell people that you genuinely care, and will often lead them to share more openly with you about their spirituality. Be slow to speak, but quick to listen. Ask God to help you avoid becoming angry, defensive, or controlling when those you love say something with which you disagree. Ask people open-ended, non-threatening questions to help get them wondering about spiritual issues and begin exploring the issues more themselves. Pray for the Holy Spirit to get your mind off whatever might be distracting you and onto God’s purposes as you converse with other people.
* Reach out to your community. Whenever you’re out in public in your local area, ask God to give you His perspective on the people you meet so you can see them as He views them. Ask Him to help you have genuine compassion for acquaintances and strangers in your community. Pour out generous words and kind actions whenever you have opportunities to do so. Make it your goal to have every person you encounter experience some of God’s love through you. Notice people around you who seem to need more peace, and pray for them silently or even approach them to start up conversations with them. Make a habit of going to same stores and restaurants so the employees there will come to know you personally and you can share God’s love regularly with them. Get involved in what’s happening in your area by volunteering and serving in visible ways locally – not just through your church, but also through other groups like an animal rescue group or park conservation board . Take local adult education classes, join the Chamber of Commerce, or join a sports team to meet other people in your area. Consider kind acts like paying for the meal of the person in line behind you at a fast food drive-through, or tipping extra generously at a restaurant. Once strangers become your friends and you engage in deeper conversations, don’t hesitate to invite them to come to your home for a meal, attend an event like a sports game or concert with you, or come to church with you. Be sure that you’re reaching out to everyone you meet – even people who might make you feel uncomfortable, such as the disabled, terminally ill, or people struggling with addictions or poverty. Let God push you out of your comfort zones. Ask Him to replace your fear with faith, and help you love people unconditionally, as He does. Intentionally go to places where you’ll likely come into contact with people who have different values than you do – such as bars – and get to know someone there with whom you can build a genuine friendship. Recognize that God wants to use your efforts to reach out to help not only other people, but also you, by helping you mature through your relationships with them. Ask God to help you learn all He wants you to learn from the people you meet. Pray for God to reveal His vision for your community, and help you understand specific ways you can help fulfill that vision. Be willing to take risks. Remember that the point of reaching out isn’t to get more members for your local church, but to help people reconcile with God, no matter where they end up going to church. Look at a map of your community and pray for people in various neighborhoods. Consider walking through those neighborhoods as you pray.
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