A post from Jessica Winter, Communications Director for The Moody Center.
Escaping the bubble
I grew up in the church, went to a Christian college, and I work for this Christian non-profit. It takes more effort than I thought to get outside of the pervasive Christian bubble. The legacy of D.L. Moody has challenged me though, and I do not want to discard the opportunities God does give me.
It’s not about me
By nature, I am an achiever, so once I got into this mission mindset, I was determined to make things happen. I gritted my teeth and by golly, I was going to get people to Jesus no matter what. I’d be the most loving, the most articulate, the best version of Christianity anyone would ever meet.
There may not have been anything wrong with my intentions, but after a few futile weeks, I knew I was missing a piece still.
In His gentle kindness, the Lord pointed out that He just has been trying to love me along. I was frustrated by doing all these actions to win people to Jesus, but they were blowing it off. I realized that was my attitude with Christ- He just wants my whole heart, but I was ignoring all the little, everyday signs of His love. I was living my strength, my attempt at self-confidence, rather than the freedom of His love.
Evangelism is an overflow of the love Christ has lavished on us. When I have the eyes to see and a heart of gratitude for how my Heavenly Father has graciously loved me, it is only natural for this to pour out to others. Evangelism has nothing to do with my abilities; it is God’s love at work.
I realized all God really is asking me to do is to soak up His kindness. He will take care of the rest.
There was a particular individual I felt called to reach, but our conversations never seemed to progress, and I was always worrying over having perfectly prepared truths. However, with my new clarity from God, I felt this terrifying call to stop preparing. I will not forget sitting in my car, waiting to go in to talk with this person, and on the radio, the broadcaster began to read from 1 Corinthians 13, a few passages I have included below.
“If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day,.. but I don’t love, I am nothing… So no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I am bankrupt without love. Love doesn’t force itself on others… doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth… always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”
Love shows up
Tears came to my eyes as I listened to this beautiful passage but heard it in a different way for the first time. I realize that as someone fully loved by God, all I need to do is show up. Be loved and be love. That is real evangelism- love showing up. It has no agenda, no shifty tactics to sneak in the gospel somehow, no grandiose plans. Love just shows up and makes itself available for the Lord’s use.
A love that shows up when there is great brokenness and pain will be far more remembered and appreciated than any eloquent words I could preach. It models Jesus’ life. He showed up, spent life with the people who were discarded by society, and He gave his life.
While I may not be asked to die for someone, I can lay down my life daily to surrender my selfishness, and get out of the way so that the Lord’s love shines brightest to become fiercely attractive to all the souls who are so desperately searching for that loving place to come home at last.
Oh that we would keep ourselves down in the dust, and everyone of us get out of the way, and let God work! -DL Moody