Communicating Christ With Confidence
June 2, 2010
We have the rest of our life to help point people to Jesus.
By Ron Hutchcraft
Most of the time, my gloves lie by the front door, limp and useless. But when a need arises, I quickly put them into action, lifting a shovel, carrying heavy bags of groceries or making and throwing snowballs.
The secret? When I put my hand in the powerless glove, that glove can do things it otherwise could never do.Here’s some exciting news: God isn’t asking you to be His hand. He’s asking you to be His glove—letting Him put His hand into the “glove” of your life to do things you otherwise could never do.
Like telling people you know about Jesus, so they can change their eternal address from hell to Heaven. In a sense, we’re all like Moses at the burning bush. God approached Moses and said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them” (Exodus 3:7-8).
God has also seen the hurt and heartache of the lost people you know. He has heard the cries from their lonely times, their brokenness and their futile attempts to find love and meaning. And He knows the awful eternity they’re headed toward.God has come down to rescue them. His Son Jesus came “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Because of Jesus, they no longer have to be “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12), and “shut out from the presence of the Lord” forever (2 Thessalonians 1:9).Moses must have been thrilled to hear that God Himself would rescue His people—until God said, “Now, go. I am sending you” (Exodus 3:10).
God was summoning Moses to join Him in His spiritual rescue mission. Today, He is summoning you and me. God is inviting us to be His glove in leading someone we know to be in Heaven with us someday—to “snatch others from the fire and save them” (Jude 23).
And just like Moses, we think of all the excuses and reasons we can’t do it. “Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? … I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 3:11, 4:10).
Sounds way too familiar.
“And God said, ‘I will be with you. … Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say’” (Exodus 3:12, 4:12). Moses asks, “Who am I, God?” and God responds, “Wrong question. Who am I, Moses?”
Why can you be a spiritual rescuer for the spiritually dying people around you? Because spiritual rescue is not about who you are. It’s all about who God is. He’s the hand. You’re just the glove, doing things that are way beyond you. “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).
There have been far too many times when I could have—when I should have—shared with someone what Jesus did on the cross for them. To my lasting shame, some have died without me telling them.
What held me back? What always holds us back? Fear. Fear of what they’d think of me. Fear of them rejecting me. Fear of them ridiculing me. Fear of me messing up. There’s one thing all those fears have in common. They’re all about me.
Rescue takes my eyes off myself and focuses them on others. For example, a first responder’s singular concern is for the person trapped in the rubble of an earthquake or the inferno of a burning house. A rescuer has a greater fear than what will happen to him if he goes in. It’s what will happen to that dying person if he doesn’t go in.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the disregard of it.The antidote to the fear that keeps us silent about Jesus is the confidence that spiritual rescue is completely a God thing. This is all about God and not about you and me. Even the Apostle Paul came with weakness and fear. But that didn’t stop him.
He said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4). Paul’s fear, like yours and mine, simply sets the stage for the Holy Spirit to take over and work through us. You and I can’t relive the rescue opportunities we missed in the past. But we do have the rest of our lives to help point people to Jesus so they can enjoy eternity in Heaven with Him.Let’s “make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5), with the confidence that God is totally in control from beginning to end.
You are where you are by God’s assignment.
God’s Word elevates what you do every day by announcing the significant role that you play—“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Years ago, I heard about a pastor who met one of the women of his church at the door one Sunday. When he asked her what she did, she said, “Actually, I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ, cleverly disguised as a machine operator.” She nailed it! She is where she is, doing what she does, by divine assignment.
If you belong to Jesus, so are you. Why do you work where you work, play where you play, go to school where you go to school, live where you live? God Himself put you there so that those people you rub shoulders with can hear about His Son! God credentials you to represent Jesus where you are.
You are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Your whole life has given you credentials to tell others about Jesus within your circle of influence. Your background, your interests, your battles, your pain—God has plans to use all of that to give people reasons to listen to you and to show where you found the Answer.
God will supernaturally open the doors for you to talk about your relationship with Jesus.
Paul testified that “[God] had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). His great prayer request was “that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:3-4).
And God doesn’t just open doors. He also opens hearts. When Paul led Lydia, his first European convert, to Christ, “the Lord opened her heart to respond” (Acts 16:14). I’ve found that amazing things happen when I pray what I call the “3-Open Prayer.”
First, “Lord, open a door.” A door is a natural opportunity to talk about my relationship with Jesus. When a man on a plane talked about his struggles as a parent, God opened a door for me to explain how Jesus changed the kind of dad I am. When a tow truck driver rescued us from our stalled car on a dangerous road, God provided an opening for me to tell him that he reminded me of Jesus—because Jesus is in the rescue business, and He rescued me from a situation I could never have rescued myself from.
If you ask Him, God will open up natural opportunities for you to talk about His Son.
Then pray, “Lord, open their heart.” You can count on God to go ahead of you and prepare that person to hear what you’re going to share.
Finally, pray, “Lord, open my mouth.” You can rely upon Him to do what He did for Moses—to “help you speak” and “teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12).Recently, a Manhattan businessman told me: “I decided to start praying that 3-Open Prayer this week. Suddenly, I’ve had the opportunity to give away five Bibles and have three spiritual conversations in my office. Now, when people walk into my office, I’m thinking, ‘Lord, is this another opportunity?’”
If you’ll make yourself available, God will provide the way.
God will do the persuading; you just do the presenting.
Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). He promised that the Counselor (the Holy Spirit) “will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
What a relief! You don’t have to talk anybody into giving their heart to Christ. You can’t. That’s totally God’s job. Your job is to give them the opportunity by explaining what Jesus did on the cross for them.Because every rescue is a work of God, prayer becomes your primary method of bringing people to Jesus.
Prayer declares your dependence on God as the rescuer and prepares both you and the person God sends you to. As S.D. Gordon said, “Prayer strikes the winning blow. Service is simply picking up the results.”With confidence, we can join Jesus in the rescue mission for which He died. We can own the life-or-death responsibility God has placed in our hands—to “rescue those being led away to death” (Proverbs 24:11).
We can awaken each new day and say, “I am someone’s chance at Jesus—at Heaven.”President Ronald Reagan’s death followed the growing darkness of 10 years with Alzheimer’s. It’s been said that as the disease progressed, President Reagan lost the memory of more and more pieces of his life.
First, he forgot he had ever been a movie star. Then, his awareness of being governor of California slipped away. Finally, even the memory of his eventful years as president of the United States was gone.
But one part of his life was reportedly with him almost until the end. On his office wall was a photograph of a river. When people asked about it, he would smile and say, “Oh, that’s the Rock River in Illinois, where I was a lifeguard when I was 17 years old.” And then he would recall, “That’s where I saved 77 lives!”
After the movies were gone, the years as governor, the accomplishments as president, one legacy remained: the lives he had saved. When all the titles and achievements of our years on Earth have faded, one thing will matter: the lives He saved through us. Because “those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever” (Cf. Daniel 12:3).