Monday, September 8, 2014

Sharing Christ with The Unsaved

                Most of us, as Christians, have unsaved family members. Our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, cousins, etc, someone we know is not a Christian, and it breaks our hearts to know that they do not have the hope of heaven in their lives. During my trip back to Iowa, one of my desires and prayers was to plant seeds of faith in the hearts of my unsaved family members. There were moments when I could say a word, and then there were moments when I knew it was best not to say anything at all, rather just be an example. Through the years of being a Christian I have had the opportunity to share Christ with many different people along the way. The first one that I shared Christ with was my husband. He was not a believer and he wasn’t about to become one anytime soon as far as he was concerned. But, the Lord, in His unwavering faithfulness gave me strength to press forward and be the Jesus my husband needed to see. (You can read this testimony in my book “Winning Him without a Word; Learning to love and live with an unbelieving husband- link at bottom of page)
            The same principles the Lord gave me in regards to living out my faith before my husband are the same principles He has given me to live out my faith to the unbelieving world that is around me. After five years of living with an unbelieving husband, I learned some very important lessons in regards to sharing my faith with my unsaved family. This included my mother, who at one time thought I had joined a cult and gone off the deep end with this whole Jesus thing. But, even in the midst of all the turmoil, my mother too came to know the Lord before He took her home to be with Him. The same principles the Lord taught me with my husband, are the same principles we can use today to share Jesus with our unsaved world. 

   “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chase conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward- arranging of the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel- rather, let it be the hidden person of the heart with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:1-4
                Peter addresses this chapter to wives who are living with unbelieving husbands. As I stated before, however, these biblical principles apply to anyone who is ministering to an unsaved family member, friend, co-worker, or who just wants to share Jesus with the world. The first biblical principle that the Lord showed me was that I need to be living Jesus. I need to be living as Christ before them. How we live and walk before the unsaved world speaks louder than any words we could ever preach. It is through our behavior and our conduct that Jesus is seen. You can tell someone all day long that you are a Christian, but your behavior and your conduct will speak louder to them than your words.
                Peter says that if they do not obey the word, then we must win them without a word. This seems contrary to us because for us, without preaching we would not know the word. But for those who don’t want to know Jesus, for those who do not have hearts ready to receive Jesus, the last thing they want to listen to is our preaching at them. The more we preach the less they listen. I know, because I used to do it to my mom and husband- and all it did was create more turmoil and more misunderstandings between us. My preaching only drove a deeper wedge, when all I wanted to do was draw them closer to the cross. That is why Peter tells us to win them without a word. It is not our words that speak to the unsaved; it is how we live our lives before them that speak the loudest. It is not what we say, it is how we behave that makes the most impact.
                The unbelieving world is looking for a way to prove that God is not God. They don’t want to believe. They are constantly looking for ways to point out to you that God is not real, because they do not want to turn from their sins unto the living God. But our conduct and the way we live in the world should not be the excuse they need to prove their points. Our behaviors and our conduct, what we do and how we live before them will do more to their hearts than anything we could ever say. This includes social media sites, and other areas where we display who we are to the world around us.

                The next point that Peter brings up is that it needs to be the hidden person of our hearts that is seen, not the outward appearances. I have met people through my fourteen years of life with Jesus that tell me they are Christians. They go to church every week, sometimes two and three times a week, they serve in their churches, they are on this board and that board, head of this ministry and that ministry- but when I start to dig into their hearts, I find nothing but the world. From the outward they look the part, but on the inward, the hidden person of their heart- they are far from God. Let this not be said of us. If we want to share Jesus with others, then Jesus needs to be the One that has our hearts. How can you share something if you do not first possess it?
                Luke 6:45 tells us that out of the abundance of our hearts the mouth speaks. What is your heart speaking? You can know what is in your heart by taking the time to listen to what comes out of your mouth. What was your latest post on Facebook? What was that thing you said to your husband when you thought no one was listening? What we put into our hearts is what will come out of our mouths. If we put in the world, then the world will come out. If we put in Christ, then Christ will come out. Peter is showing us that we must put Christ into our hearts. “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) If we put in His Word before we put in anything else, then what the unsaved world will hear is His Word. And we know that His Word never returns void, but always accomplishes what He pleases. (Isaiah 55:11) Who is the hidden person of your heart? What does the unsaved world hear when they listen to your heart?
                Lastly, Peter points out that we are to be a gentle and quiet spirit. When the Lord first showed me this, I think I may have laughed out loud. Me, quiet? Me, Gentle? Did He not know who He was talking to? The last thing on earth that I am is quiet. I have always been a talker. As a child one of my nicknames was “Chatter Box” because all I ever did was talk. I still talk too much. But, that is not what the Lord is referring to here in this passage. (Thankfully!) The word quiet actually refers to a peaceful state of being. There is a peace that is within each and every one of us that believes in Jesus. There is a peace with God, there is a peace in the midst of storms and trials, and there is a peace that surpasses all understanding that dwells in our hearts. (Philippians 4:7)  This is that quietness, that gentleness that Peter is referring to.
                The world is always at war. The unsaved are always in turmoil, even if they do not freely admit it openly. But we know that there is no peace without God in our lives. We know because we too have all been there, we have all lived in a place of constant struggle and battle. But then God came and showed us the peace of His gospel, the gentleness of His grace and we no longer struggled under the weight of sin, but found the peace of God that surpassed all our understanding. The unsaved world needs to see this peace.  If you have peace with God through Jesus Christ, then show that to the world. The peace that is within us in the midst of storms, trials, struggles, and pain will attract more unsaved family members than anything we could ever do or say. The peace that resides in us is a deep desire that all long for, it is nestled in the hearts of all people whom God ever created. If they see it, they will come to you and ask you why you have hope when no one else does? (1 Peter 3:15)

              The unsaved world, our unsaved family members need to see Jesus. I say this all the time, because it is true in every form, “You may be the only Jesus that person ever sees”. I want to encourage you all today to not give up on those unsaved family members, co-workers, loved ones that you have been praying for. I want to encourage you to keep living Jesus before them. If it wasn’t for the seeds planted in my heart all those years ago by faithful loving Christians, who knows where I would be today. It was not their preaching that drew me to Christ, it was their lives and how they lived before me that impacted me the most. The world needs to see Jesus, and you may be the only one that ever lives it before them. So live Christ, and let God do the rest. Amen?

Winning Him Without A Word: