Persuasion is far better than pressure
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Let’s not consider ourselves as better than others, but rather as fellow travellers along life with them. They may be further ahead of us or we may be further ahead in some areas than they are; but we are on a journey called life and plenty of other people are on earth traveling their own journey. Sometimes I consider myself to be like an ant: Ants travel from their nest to the food supply and back home to their nest. The trail of ant has half of them going to food and half going home. On the way they have a very brief ‘chat’ with each other. They pause for a very brief time and then go on their way. I do not know what the ants are saying to each other during these brief chats, but here is what I speculate:
- Ant A says to ant B “This way to food, and there is plenty of it.”
- Ant B says to ant A “This way to home, and they need the food for the young ones.”
- Whatever ants may say, it is my role to say to other people: “This way for (spiritual) food and this way to an absolutely wonderful and loving home”.
Present God as a loving Father
Present God as a loving Father rather than a cosmic policemen waiting for them to do something wrong so He can pounce on them with His great truncheon. God loves, you and me, God loves the people we are talking with immensely and intensely. He loves us all relentlessly. Thank you Lord.
Teach that prayer leads to the peace of God
Many people are restless or upset or angry or hurting inside and lack peace in the inner person. Inner turmoil is quite common, even if it doesn’t show on the surface. Prayer is the best cure for this.
“Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 PHILLIPS
“Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 TPT
“Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:7 TLB
“You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.” 1 Peter 5:7 PHILLIPS
And that obedience leads to the God of peace.
“Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-7 PHILLIPS
Teach that forgiveness is readily available
“But if we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and he will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 TPT
“But if we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God utterly reliable and straightforward—he forgives our sins and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil.” 1 John 1:9 PHILLIPS
“’Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NIV
Teach that wanting to follow God is a natural response to experiencing forgiveness
Once we are forgiven the natural response is that we want to live with God and to do as He guides us – in gratitude for the new life He has given us.
“Christ’s resurrection is your resurrection too. This is why we are to yearn for all that is above, for that’s where Christ sits enthroned at the place of all power, honor, and authority![a] 2 Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.” Colossians 3:1-2 TPT
“Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvellous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Romans 12:1-2 TPT
“Restore joy to your loving servant once again, for all I am is yours, O God.” Psalm 86:4 TPT
How much do we teach before someone becomes a Christian and how much after?
That depends on the person and the conversations we are having with them. In the same way
that it takes months for a baby to get ready for physical birth it takes time for a person to get
ready for a spiritual birth. My suggestion is that we continue to teach…