As a young girl, I knew very early on that God had gifted me in some very special ways and that He would use me to share the Gospel with others. As I get older and grow in Him, I discover more and more of what He has given me. What I’ve recently discovered about myself is that I’m most effective as a witness and disciple when I am being extremely intimate with my Lord, Jesus Christ.
When coming up with strategic ways to share Jesus with others, it is so easy to limit our actual interaction with Jesus. We can spend a lot of time talking about Him, but little time talking with Him. It’s scary to think of how much satan must enjoy this. We load ourselves up with great things to do to the point where we are weak and susceptible to his attacks. I always wonder, why do we take the complicated route instead of allowing ourselves to become utterly consumed with Christ to the point that He effortlessly oozes out of our being?
This makes me think of some things I’ve recently learned about fatherhood. A Christian biologist by the name of Dr. John Medina has spent quite a bit of time researching the answer to the question,”what’s the most important thing I can do as a father?” After much searching, his answer to this question is simple: go home and love your wife. The advice is so simple, yet so profound. He didn’t say buy every new parenting book that is published, take classes, go to conferences or anything extra. He simply said love your wife, implying that if a man does that, the love that he has for her will drive him to love his children well and benefit them. I happen to think that ministry works the same way. Sometimes we look for magical solutions to growing our churches and increasing the spirituality of the people we minister to, when it could all be so simple.
What if the best way to minister is to others is to cultivate a red hot love affair with Jesus ourselves?
Think about marketing. Experts say that the best advertisement for any product is a happy customer. If stores have an excellent product, they don’t have to spend billions on advertising. One of my favorite restaurants know all about this. They have no commercials and I’ve never seen a coupon, yet when I visit the restaurant the line often starts outside the door. The restaurant is Chipotle. From the second I tasted it, I was absolutely hooked. The rice, the beans, the cheese, the guacamole…everything about it was perfect. It satisfied me. It filled me. It was delicious and I wanted more. And if you know anyone who loves Chipotle like me, they’ve probably had a similar conversation with you about how obsessed they are about it. You see, when something is amazing, it doesn’t need major strategies and big gimmicks. The news of it spreads like wild fire because it actually lives up to its name. Jesus is like this, but he’s so much greater than a burrito.
I honestly believe that if those of us who feel called to share Jesus would dedicate more time with Him instead of strategizing about how to present Him to others, I have no doubt that we would see more people crazy in love with Him and in intimate relationship with Him. Why can’t reading the Word, fasting and praying be enough for us? Why do we have to add so much to it? This week, I spent some time reading and watching a video of the book of Acts. What blew my mind was that anytime the body of believers was mentioned, they were praying together. Whenever there was a decision to be made, whenever Peter or Paul went to prison, whenever the body of believers was being persecuted, the small but faithful group prayed fervently.
I know that in our western, American Christian culture, we think that we need so much. Churches now have to stream and archive services, update Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, share the sermon notes in PDF form, add lots of gimmicks and bring in attractions to get people to church. Although I think technology, special programs and other tools can be awesome, I truly think that a lot of what we we do is done to distract us from the reality that we don’t have a consistent, intimate or real personal relationship with God. We can’t lay hands on the sick and heal them. We can’t cast out demons. We can’t perform miracles. And the reason that we can’t do these things is because we’re not consistently tapping into the vine.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” – John 15:5-6 NKJV
If we would just allow ourselves to be consumed by Jesus, the fire that we have would attract others and they too, would want to be consumed by Him as well. The things that we do for God will only be as great as our personal relationship with Him. God is not impressed with titles, positions or numbers; He craves intimacy. Until we give that to Him, our efforts in ministry will be in vain.