There can never be a satisfying definition of love. I must admit those given by Merriam-Webster, Oxford, and others ran fall short of this wonderful virtue that I am feeling inside. It speaks of an array of facets that are so pleasing to be spoken of.
True love is always sacrificial. It is willing to think of the good of others first, before the self, and in fact delights in doing it. And, most often, to some extent it is willing to give good things to others even at the expense of hurting the self.
Genuine love is selfless. It is a selfish-less act. It is an emotion that could only be satisfied by seeing that the highest need and desire of others are met even if the self loses everything. It is like being sacrificial at the highest degree.
Candid love delights in the truth. If you love someone, you are willing to give him or her the truth – and it includes the kind of truth that hurts. The truth that corrects and rebukes, the powerful truth that exposes the painful reality.
Superb love has great tolerance and patience. It is able to forgive – without limits, to the good sense. Not just seven times, but seventy times seven times.
The list of the good qualities of love can go on and on and fill the pages of an entire book. And all of it leads to the Superb kind of Love – the love that is willing to give life for the others. The kind of love that is exemplified by Jesus Christ, when He gave up His life in ransom of the sinful.
Personal evangelism, or the act of sharing Jesus and the Gospel has always been a source of joy in my life, and a pool from which challenges provide training for the ministry.
Last October 12, Friday, my friend and I went to the city plaza to do some personal evangelism. Both of us reminisced our individual experiences of doing evangelism years before – and felt that we should have done this ministry regularly as a lifestyle. We believe it should be a lifestyle for every Christian.
It was hard at first. We were hesitant and nervous to approach strangers, in fact, for the first hour we had not approach anyone. We felt really awkward as we tried to approach highschool students but failed, and noticed that these students somehow felt that we had something for them – and yet we were not courageous enough.
Good thing is that God led us to first two people whom we can share Christ – one of them formerly attends a Christian Church, yet salvation was still unclear to her. That was our first couple, and the first time I ever tried to use the so-called ‘Shotgun Evangelism’, by frankly asking, ‘If you die now, are you sure you’re going to heaven?’
God allowed us also to share the Gospel to a policeman, and from him we understand that many people are hesitant or afraid to believe in Christ because of personal vices and some other sins – either they are not ready to forsake them or afraid they will fail in forsaking them. So we led him to a prayer not to accept Christ, but to let God take a hold of his life little by little. And, we reminded him that not all of his life he could have a chance to believe in Christ – tomorrow maybe too late, our life is not in our hands.
College students. Most are Catholics, and one belongs to Iglesia ni Cristo. My friend shared the Gospel for too long, around 30 minutes, thus losing their interest. One student believed in reincarnation, so we had to do some clear explanation.
We tried to share also to a foreigner, but he cut our conversation.
The greatest test of character for us was when a female prostitute challenged us to share the Bible to them. It was a test of integrity and respect on our part. Yes we shared the Gospel, and we exchanged mutual respect, they respected us and the Gospel, and we respected them as beings who are sinful yet not beyond the mercy and forgiveness of our Loving God.
That night was very fulfilling for us. We have realised some things, learnings that led us to the conclusion that if we dare to bring others to Christ, we ourselves shall draw near to God first.
Evangelism requires the heart of the Heavenly Father. Unless we have the kind of heart that cares for the lost, evangelism would only be a burden, a Pharisaic Religiosity, a dead act of legalism. A task that follows the act of God in saving sinners should certainly include a heart that cares and values pitiful souls.
Evangelism requires wisdom. The heart matters, but not at the expense of having wisdom – that is, adequate wisdom of the Word in areas of salvation and some general knowledge of the world. Evangelism brings us to different sorts of people, coming from different backgrounds, beliefs, and orientation. Surely along the way some would ask hard questions regarding the Bible and our faith – though we must avoid any debate, nonetheless we should be able to answer the important ones that could bring them to Christ. And also some general knowledge, for how could we relate and face questions regarding science, politics, psychology, myths, and the like, if all that we know is Scripture? By knowing other things as well, then we will have the capacity to use the Bible as to how it relates to and answers these other knowledge.
Evangelism requires proper etiquette. It requires that we act not as professionals, but individuals that could be respected, and, of course, that we respect others also.
Evangelism requires boldness and courage. It is never easy to approach strangers, much more to ask for their valuable time listening to a ‘common’ message.
Again, evangelism requires wisdom, now in a different sense. There are places where evangelism could be a good ground for the devil to trap us into temptations, we should know how to avoid them and stand firm on our conviction as Christians who live out the message we share..
And, above all, fruitful and true evangelism depends on the Power and Grace of God. This truth should bring the Christian to his knees in prayer and humble dependence.
Please pray with us, we really like to do this evangelism weekly.