By David Leavell
President Of The Tennessee Baptist Convention / Senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Millington
The devil doesn’t want you to share Jesus! You can take that to the bank! The devil is opposed to anything that represents the Kingdom of God, and that includes you! The Bible says in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.” Sometimes, Baptists don’t understand or sense the spiritual opposition we face in our families, churches and even at work. When we begin to understand our enemies’ tactics, we can “put up the good fight of the faith.” This certainly includes, but is not limited to, sharing the John 3:16 Challenge. The 3:16 Challenge is to share John 3:16, once a week with a lost person with the intention of leading the individual to personal faith in Jesus Christ.
How does the enemy attack? I’ve known the enemy to attack me with doubt, defeat, discouragement, division and diversion. He is a relentless foe. I believe this is due to the limited time he has to attack. You see, our enemy is a defeated foe. When Jesus rose from the grave, our adversary was dealt a death blow from which he will never recover! For the believer, that means WE WIN!! Heaven is our home — a place where there is no more sin or suffering or satanic attack.
Until then, he will seek to keep us from being all that God desires us to be. He will stifle our spiritual progress and sidetrack us into worthless pursuits. How does the enemy attack?
First, the devil attacks by telling us evangelism is a knowledge game and we don’t know enough. Admit it, if you have been concerned with sharing Christ with others you have thought, “What if they ask me a question that I cannot answer?” Truthfully, that wouldn’t be that hard to do. While we have various degrees of spiritual maturity, none of us have ALL spiritual knowledge. And we never will! A big burden was lifted from my shoulders when I realized I didn’t have to know everything to share Christ with others. It is okay to admit you don’t know something. It is also acceptable to tell the person that you will study their question or ask someone who is further along in the Christian journey and get back with them. It doesn’t reflect negatively on God (or you!). It actually has a transparency and a vulnerability that is attractive to someone truly seeking to understand the love of Christ.
Second, the devil attacks by telling us we can’t evangelize because of what we have done or are doing. He wants to remind you of everything you have ever done that was embarrassing or disobedient to God’s plan for your life. This is an attempt to discourage you from obeying the Lord in personal discipleship. Many times, we are complicit by looping in our minds and repeating those sinful things that we have done. While the enemy is a historian, God is a lover and a forgiver. He puts our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Our spiritual growth point becomes seeing ourselves as God sees us through the redemption of Christ (Ephesians 1:7). Recognize that God can use you for His purposes today! The lesson is simple: share Jesus now!
The devil also attacks telling we can’t evangelize because we can’t speak well or we are too introverted. Moses did this with God. Read the excuses Moses made in Exodus 4. This sounds like some Baptists I know. God gives us specific instructions and all we do is make excuses as to why we are unable to do what God said do, such as tithe, sharing Christ with others, growing in our life as a disciple of Christ, and not more regular in our worship attendance and Bible study. This passage teaches us that our excuses don’t hold water with God! At salvation, He forgives and places the Holy Spirit in us to empower us to live an obedient Christian life. Godly folks don’t allow excuses to become an impenetrable barrier to obedience in Christ.
Finally, the devil attacks telling us we can’t evangelize because of what other people might think. We really do care about what other people think of us. We don’t want to attract others’ attention especially if it might be considered negative attention. I call this narcissistic Christianity. We follow Christ as long as there is a perceived personal benefit. When we are asked to “take up our cross daily,” we get timid. When this happens, we just get too much of ourselves in the process of sharing Christ with others. We become too me centered. We think, what will happen if people think I’m a “holy roller?” What will happen if someone thinks ill of me? Have you thought about this? They may think you are a Christian! Christians tells the good news!
God calls us to “live for an audience of One.” Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you as well.” We have an enemy. Don’t allow him to cause doubt or discourage, defeat, divide or divert your attention. Live for an audience of One! Take the 3:16 Challenge. Share John 3:16 with someone this week. It could make an eternal difference in someone’s life. B&R