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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Opening Minds

Yesterday I asked the question that if someone’s world view made the gospel irrational to them, what could we do to open their mind.  I suggested, “Not much.”  That does not solve our challenge.  We are still are expected to share the gospel, even to those who consider it irrational.  2 Corinthians 5:14 – 21 describes that responsibility as begging folks to be reconciled to God.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we are to conduct our lives in such a way that those who do have a different world view are intrigued and ask what is going on with us; Philippians 2:1 – 5 seems to describe that type of behavior.  Certainly prayer plays a part.  Paul asks for prayer in both Ephesians 6:19 and Colossians 3:3 – 6 not only for boldness and the words to say, but for openness to the gospel.
So if it is God's domain to open people's minds to the gospel, what is our responsibility?
The data seems to tell us at least three things:
  1. It is God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that changes, opens minds to the gospel ultimately drawing them to Him – not our job.  
  2. We are to live in a manner that attracts people to the gospel, praying for those around us, while speaking the truth of the gospel to them – our job.  
  3. We do not know on whom the Holy Spirit is working but we know that He is working, so we should do 2 with all in our sphere of influence – also our job.
At a training session for counselors for a Billy Graham film several years ago, like 40, the man conducting the training said that our job was to share the gospel joyfully and leave the results to God.  Based on the data in the Bible, his advice was very good.

1 comment:

  1. Two excellent, relevant meditations. At this time in my life I find myself focusing on Internationals who are not really rejecting Truth and "blind" is about the best description I can think of. They are resistant, but not for rational reasons. It's just a largely foreign concept to them. At various levels we do have the opportunity to live some measure of life among them, and this often leads to conversations of various significance. It is usually a rather long and slow process. Your thoughts were helpfully relevant, Mike.

    I wonder if there's not one other thing we can do, though. It seems there are probably numerous exhortations and encouragements in Scripture for us to ask God to do the hard things that we can't. I think of Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell (KJV says, "show" as I recall) great and might things...."

    What about the so-called "Lord's Prayer," "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Matt.6:10.

    I think I see the balance in my own life. I used to think that it was the clarity, the rationality of my Gospel presentation that was the key. If I was clear enough, people would respond. It took me longer than I wish to realize that wasn't the case. I do need to share, and I need to communicate as clearly as I can. My friends now are not especially drawn or even can they comprehend my "logical" approaches. They think differently. So God must both help me communicate correctly, and give the light of understanding. I think otherwise our task is utterly hopeless. I need to acknowledge that in my own case, many years ago, when I trusted Christ it was of God. And I know many were praying. Others around me were in the same general circumstances, heard the same things, and didn't respond. I was truly God's work.

    I pray this sort of prayer often; I am compelled in my spirit to pray so. If not theologically accurate, I hope the Lord will forgive me....

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