We Have A Hope Within Us
But Do We Force It On Others
by Jim Gordon
As followers of Jesus, we have a hope within us that is positive. We have a hope of living in fellowship with God, living within the Kingdom of God now and in the future. Because we have this hope, we are often times told we have to share this with others. Have you ever felt guilty because you did not say something to someone about Christ? Do you feel obligated to speak your mind about sin and forgiveness? Do you feel it is your duty as a Christian to force every opportunity into a chance to tell someone about salvation?
Quite frankly, I disagree that we are required to force any conversation or any friendship into a time of evangelism. I agree that some people have the gift of evangelism and should be using that gift to the fullest, all under the guidance of the Spirit. I also feel that not all of us need to be forcing the issue with those we come in contact each day.
As Christians, we are told to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love others as ourselves. When we live our lives each day under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love of God, the way we act will be a witness to God’s love, much more than any words we can speak out.
Anyone can speak words…words of condemnation, words of how we should live for God, words against particular sins, but words themselves have no strength. It is the daily life we live allowing the love of God to show through that makes a difference. When we consistently live what we believe, it has more impact than thousands of words.
We need to remember that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and draws people to God. It is not our job to be condemning people and trying to prove to them that they are sinning against God.
It is written in the Bible that we should live a quiet life, work with our hands and be ready to give an account of the hope that is within us.
1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12 — Do all you can to live a peaceful life. Take care of your own business, and do your own work as we have already told you. If you do, then people who are not believers will respect you, and you will not have to depend on others for what you need. (New Century Version).
1 Peter 3:15 — Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you are living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy (The Message).
Notice we are told to be ready to speak up when asked. Go about your daily routine, minding your business, living a peaceful life, but be ready at all times to give an answer about salvation and God’s love when someone asks. Only when the Holy Spirit is leading the opportunity and the words will it make an impact on people.
By living in this way, and not forcing our views on others, the words we say will have more meaning to those who are curious enough to ask what the hope is that we have within us.
Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org