It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that our world is hostile to the Gospel. In fact, Jesus told us during his earthly ministry to expect this hostility. Sometimes, however, this opposition to the Gospel can make it difficult or impossible for Christians to do anything in a society, let alone share the Gospel.
Take the scenario described in this Our Daily Bread devotional, for example: Christians in a particularly anti-Gospel city struggled to make their message heard, running into opposition not just from competing religious trends but from the city council itself. But then they decided to shift tactics… and the results were incredible:
It was such a challenging environment for churches that they struggled to get building permits from the city council. And there was a lot of “woe is me” talk among church leaders. Until a group of pastors began to meet to pray regularly and then decided to take the love of Jesus into their city. They started a ministry to the homeless, to those suffering with AIDS, to teens at risk. Faithfully and intentionally they brought the love of Jesus to the needs of hurting people. Before long, the city agencies started calling on them for help. Better yet, the churches started growing as people responded to the gospel in action.
Which proves the point: Sometimes you’ve got to “show up” before you speak up. No one really wants to hear what we have to say about the love of Jesus until they’ve seen it in our lives.
It’s easy for self-pity and bitterness to set in when we run into obstacles in our neighborhoods and communities. But the appropriate response is incredibly simple: live a Jesus-shaped life.
Are you running into a wall right now in your city or community? Is it possible that the answer is to simply go forth and live out Christlike love and grace, and trust that the rest will follow?