Have you ever felt it challenging to grow in your relationship with Christ? Maybe you have even reached the point where you begin to point fingers at others…your pastor, your Sunday School teacher, your church as a whole…in an effort to make sense of why you seem to be floundering in your walk with Christ. Now track with me here…don’t make assumptions that this is all just to get you to do your daily quiet time with the Lord. That’s a great idea…but that’s not the point here. One of the things that God continually reminds me of is that it’s through my obedience to my God given purpose that God challenges me and grows me. I’m going to step out on a limb here and say that if you’re someone that is struggling to grow in Christ, you’re probably also someone that rarely shares your faith. God’s given us purpose in this life through the Great Commission and it’s my experience that when I take steps to fulfill my purpose, God uses that to challenge me to grow.
I’ll be the first to admit that if I don’t go looking for opportunities to share my faith, I don’t have an abundance of them on a daily basis. That’s based on the assumption that the next time I need to talk to my boss, our Pastor, that I don’t need to share the gospel with him. One of the ways I’ve been able to find opportunity is through app based games I play when I have a little spare time. Recently I’ve connected with a guy that in initial conversation with me it sounded as though we were on a similar page. We both talked about the Bible, referenced Scripture, talked about Jesus etc. There came a point where he wanted to attend my College and Career Sunday School Group remotely via a voice chat app. That was pretty exciting and at the same time a little weird because I’d never had someone want to do that before. Before he would attend the first time, he wanted to chat with me to see if we were of the same “fellowship”. My assumption was he was concerned about denominational distinctives, but boy was I wrong.
When we finally got together to discuss his beliefs, I quickly found out that we were nowhere near the same page. While I still don’t have a good grasp on what he believes, it’s definitely outside the box and definitely caused me to dig into God’s Word to try to address him. In short, he believes that god mentioned in Genesis (Eloheim) is different than god mentioned from the Fall and beyond (Yahweh). Hopefully you and I are already on the same page realizing that’s heresy. His view of Eloheim is as father and loving. His view of Yahweh is evil and violent. He believes in Jesus but his viewpoint is that Jesus came to point people to Eloheim because so many had been deceived by Yahweh. By extension, the church today is deceived and full of Pharisees. This is just a little bit of a tangled web of belief he’s weaved over decades. You can go google it yourself, this guy doesn’t fit in any major religion you’ve ever studied before.
Once I opened this can of worms, I had to figure out how I could minister to him. God had opened the door and I needed to at least do my best to speak the truth of God’s Word in his life knowing that short of a miracle of God, he would not be easily swayed. Knowing that he had quoted Scripture before, I needed to ask what is really a baseline question…do you believe the Bible to be inerrant (without error)? In doing so my hope was to either establish the foundation of the discussion that was to ensue. Unfortunately, after a long conversation it was evident he didn’t believe the Bible was without error. He denied much of the Old Testament and almost anything written by Paul…so not much left right? One thing he does believe is inerrant…Jesus’ words and actions as seen in Scripture. I know what you’re thinking…I thought the same thing…Jesus is the Word. That would have been too easy…he’s a red letter Bible guy…words in red are what are inerrant. Jesus said a lot of really good stuff that is quoted in Scripture…but if that’s all we have to work with…that’s tough.
He’s not turned the corner yet, but I hope you see the challenge God has laid in my lap. With every frustrating conversation I’m forced back into God’s Word. Forced to make sure I understand why I interpret Scripture the way I do, forced to learn and be able to explain the Bible, and forced to trust the Lord because my Words are not near enough. I’m not sure if he’ll ever be saved, I sure hope God works a miracle in his life…but the point is by my obedience to share my faith…God is using that to grow me in ways I could never accomplish hanging out with Christians and studying the Bible. Most of us spend too much time with status quo Christians and not enough time doing exactly what God wants…witnessing to the lost. Go find someone of a different religious background…atheist, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic etc…start sharing your faith, dig into the challenges that come with that, and I can almost guarantee you’ll begin GROWING THROUGH SHARING!