Devotions, Retail Ready

You Can’t Even Give It Away!

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Read: Matthew 28:18-20

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

Some people seem to be sent into our lives simply to test us and, on this particular afternoon, I found just such a person standing nearby as I worked to sign people up for our store’s discount card.

After listening to several customers tell me that they weren’t interested, he turned around and declared quite adamantly, “You can’t even give those away!”

I smiled and said that I was giving them away to which he responded with a piteous smile.

After I had been told “no” several more times, he turned and said something to the effect of, “Guess they don’t know what a great deal they’re missing.” (At this point, I could feel myself growing irritated at his mockery.)

No, no, no, no… “So how many hours do you have to do this?” he asked with a delighted grin.

Resisting the urge to let him have it, I relaxed in my seat and continued my work. The truth was, despite his derision, I was ten memberships short of averaging one for every three minutes of the entire six hour period in which I had been working! The results of my efforts had been nothing short of phenomenal and the choice was now mine – to focus on the negative and give up or to see the success which had been achieved and finish the task.

As believers in Christ, we often face very similar situations and it can be difficult to keep our focus, particularly when people are making fun of us or deriding what we believe. And that’s why the Bible tells us to keep our eyes on Christ. Only by making Jesus the center of our lives at all times will we be able to stay on the path He has prepared for us and accomplish the task which He has given us – that of sharing the Gospel with sinners like ourselves!

Challenge: This week, commit to keep your focus on Christ and finish the task!

Evangelism, Evangelist-B-Ware

It’s Still Like Driving a Car

No fear, no problem? Maybe not! The second way in which Christians frequently respond to unbiblical attitudes and actions is to attempt to correct the behaviors that are making us uncomfortable. Since these sinful habits make God “uncomfortable” as well, we stand with great boldness and proclaim to our unsaved audience how they ought not be getting drunk, sleeping around, or filching pens from the company cupboard. With great authority, we quote the Scripture which supports our position, forgetting that not everyone accepts the Bible as the perfect and infallible Word of God. And all in the hope that our unbelieving friends, classmates, and coworkers will clean up their acts just enough to make us comfortable sharing the message that God love us enough to forgive all of our sins.

The difficulty with this approach (aside from the clear logical disconnect between our efforts to “clean up” the behavior of others and the message that God, Alone, is equipped to deal with sin) is that it sees the Believer’s comfort as being more important than the unbeliever’s soul. Again, Satan has successfully drawn our attention away from Christ’s objective.
The Apostle Paul reminds us that:

“… we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:3-5)

Indeed, though it is sometimes difficult or uncomfortable to spend time with those whose lifestyle and upbringing differ from our own, sin is sin. It always has been. It always will be. By permitting Satan to magnify the sins of others and by actively minimizing our own sin, we lose our perspective, our focus, and the opportunity to share the Good News of the Gospel. In short, we lose the battle. And that isn’t what God put us here to do!

I eventually learned to keep my eyes on the road. Today, my driving skill is sufficient to prevent me from causing an accident by unintentionally wandering into the mailboxes which line my path. Likewise, by following the Apostle’s advice to “[fix] our eyes on Jesus” we are guaranteed that both our lives and our Gospel dialogues will stay on track. And that puts us well on our way to accomplishing God’s purpose for us in our homes, our schools, and our places of employment!