I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
—Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.
—John 6:66-69 (NLT)
This week we have been reflecting on the topic of boldness in our life of faith, doing whatever it takes to reach others with the light and truth and grace of Christ.
While many of us associate boldness with being strong and in control, I’d like to challenge us to see the boldness made possible by letting go. I don’t mean giving up, sinking into apathy, or falling into a life of robotic Christian platitudes. But for many of us, our nature wants us to have control. We want to control outcomes, control people. We want things to work out in a way that is according to our will. A life of bold faith requires us to pull together the courage to let go. You may pour yourself into a ministry or a relationship or your work for years, all the while doing your best for the glory of God—and then it all falls apart or goes unappreciated.
Can I share something with you? I have been following Jesus with my whole heart for most of my life. I have shared the truth of Jesus with non-believers as often as I could and have prayed for friends and neighbors to come to know Jesus. I served as a missionary for four years and grew up as a missionary kid.
Do you know how many people I have personally led to Jesus in twenty-six years? None.
One of my closest friends is not a follower of Jesus and I have been praying for her since we became friends at age eleven. I have given her Bibles and books about Jesus, I have tried my best to explain Jesus to her, to show Jesus to her, and yet she has never wanted to take that step. While it is amazing and beautiful to celebrate stories of those who come to faith in Jesus Christ through the witness of believers, I want us to realize that we must share Jesus with open hands. We can't control the outcome.
Jesus shared the good news of the Kingdom during His life. Since Jesus is perfect, He shared the good news perfectly. He accomplished perfect evangelism. And yet, at the end of His life, just as He was about to be crucified, many of His followers left! They said His teaching was too hard, when push came to shove.
By modern day standards, we would have considered that a huge failure.
To evangelize boldly, let us throw our idea of "success" completely out the window. Instead, let us focus our eyes only on Jesus.
Questions for reflection and discussion: Do you struggle with the desire to control? Do you hold back from sharing Jesus with others because you are afraid of what the outcome will be? Ask God for His help to release you from your need to control outcomes and for the freedom to live in His love and power.
This week's devotions were written by Rachelle Wistrand. Rachelle attends Wheaton Bible Church with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Sora. The Wistrands love being part of the local impact ministries and reaching out to their neighbors.