Can I trust my heart when evangelizing?

(Ann Ruvindi Nimna Jayakody) #1

Since we talk a lot about questions …

Curiosity killed the cat - « being inquisitive about other people’s affairs may get you into trouble » - Oxford Dictionary

When we are evangelizing to others , we know that God is a personal God and seeks to be answering our personal questions yet we also know that he does not want us to interfere in his plan and purpose because the Holy Spirit is at work and he will use us ‘ broken vessel’ to preach his good news and we cannot bring in our own feelings yet we are called to be emphathatic.
How do we maintain the fine balance ? Thoughts ? Scripture ? Evidence ?

(SeanO) #2

@RuviJ Thanks you for your question. Could you give an example situation? What exactly do you mean by “He does no want us to interfere in His plan”? What do you mean by “we cannot bring in our own feelings”? In what way could curiosity in evangelism be harmful?

Thank you for clarifying.

(Ann Ruvindi Nimna Jayakody) #3

Example situation : Perhaps you are discussing your beliefs with a friend

He does not want to interfere in his own plan - God’s plan is perfect , his timing is perfect ,
And our interference can be from our own heart , for it is deceitful above all else - ( feelings ) yet we are also asked to love one another , to love the man but hate the sin , to understand their situation and put ourselves in their shoes

So let’s say I know some background with regards to my friend

How do I trust my heart when it is deceitful …but use my heart to help others ( encourage , show kindness , love ) and glorify God because of his perfect time and purpose ?

Is this when the supernatural - God’s everlasting love and Holy Spirit come into the picture ?

(SeanO) #4

@RuviJ Hopefully I am answering your question. Let me know if not - the question I am hearing is - “Can I trust my heart when evangelizing?” Here are a few thoughts that I hope are helpful. The Lord bless you as you reach out to your friends.

Jesus Gives Us a New Heart

In Christ, we have a new heart. And when we walk in the fullness of the Spirit, we can walk in love and truth just as Jesus did - He empowers us to live our life in a whole new way. Our new heart is just that - it’s new! By the power of God’s Spirit, we can walk in humility and joy and peace as we share Jesus.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

We Should Reflect on Our Motives

When evangelizing with friends where we know their history, perhaps we should ask ourselves a few questions about our motivies:

  • Am I doing this out of love or in a competitive spirit?
  • Am I being fair to my friend’s view of the world? Am I trying my best to understand them?
  • Am I praying for my friend that God may open their heart?

Share Christ with Gentleness and Respect

As it says in Peter, we are to share the truth in gentleness and respect. This article from Biola discusses the importance of humility in our evangelism. I think humility is key to communicating the truth in word and deed.

I Peter 3:15-16 - But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

“So for someone to come to see God as good, they need an experience of goodness associated with God. Often the primary (in some cases the only) tangible experience people have with Christianity is contact with Christians. If their experience with Christians is bad, it becomes very difficult for them to see the Christian story—and God himself—as good. This is why moral objections to Christianity, warranted or not, can be so devastating. On the other hand, when Christians exhibit goodness, it points to God’s worth—as Jesus affirmed in the Sermon on the Mount: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)”

(Jimmy Sellers) #5

Your post reminds me of a similar concern people have when they have been ask to pray for a need in a fellow believers life with no particular details about the burden(s). Unless detailed information is volunteered we pray knowing only that there is a need. I know that my friend and God are in conversation about this burden and this is reason enough to petition the Lord on their behalf.

As this applies to the lost, as a believer we know that all men have a need to know Jesus and I believe that God is at work in this world today and we can with assurance minister to, befriend and make ourselves available as the Lord sees fit without ever being intrusive.

Jesus said as he ascended to heaven " It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when* the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth.” (Ac 1:7–8)
I hope this makes sense.

(Ann Ruvindi Nimna Jayakody) #6

Yes it does
Thank you :sunny:

(Ann Ruvindi Nimna Jayakody) #7

Yes it is answering
Thank you
I think I will need some time to process :sweat_smile:
But it’s very helpful :blush:

(Kathleen) #8

Hi, @RuviJ! Thanks for posting this great question, and after reading through this thread, I wanted to ask you a quick follow-up question: Do you believe that you can somehow mess up God’s plan and purpose with your ‘interference’?

(Ann Ruvindi Nimna Jayakody) #9

No I don’t think we can ultimately interfere in God’s plan.
I should have written in a different way
Us ‘interfering’ is down to our own perception. I think it’s slightly because of pride , we like to ( maybe ) think that because of our mistake we have botched up God’s plan but that is assuming that God makes mistakes and that is not true. Nothing is a surprise to God. He is omniscient and therefore nothing we can do can interfere in his plans.

However we can make a mistake and on the path we are taking , we might take the long way so perhaps I should have written we cannot interfere in God’s plan but we can interfere and blunder on our own.

Interfere is too much a strong word I suppose , because some synonyms would be meddle , frustrate , get in the way
That is not the nature of God , thé Holy Spirit is a gentle spirit , he does not purposefully blunder us or make us make mistakes. We make them on our own , from our own choices and God in his mercy and love will intervene when we ask and even before we ask he sent Jesus down for us.

Thanks for your question, it was very thought provoking and allowed me to fine tune my words. :blush:

(Kathleen) #10

I appreciate the honest and thoughtful answer to my question, @RuviJ! Your initial question about trusting your heart is one that resonates deeply with me, as that’s something that I’ve been wrestling with for a while now as well, so it was just something that I wanted to respond to. To me, it sounds a bit like you’re asking the question…

Can I trust my intuitions/feelings? And how can I trust that if I act on them, I am not hindering the work of the Spirit?

Is that an accurate rewording on my part? I have a couple of thoughts on that topic, but I didn’t want to lob them at you if it wasn’t the question you were asking! :slight_smile:

(Ann Ruvindi Nimna Jayakody) #11

Thank you , I wouldn’t mind if you share your thoughts as well because the way you have phrased the question , it is very relevant.:blush:

(Kathleen) #12

Hello again, @RuviJ! Sorry it’s taken me a bit to get back with you…

First off, I generally tend to operate on a ‘trust but verify’ basis…meaning, yes, I generally trust that I have an intuition for a reason (and trust that it’s somewhat accurate), but that I then need to go through a process of clarifying/verifying why I’ve been given an insight/feeling and what God wants me to do with it. It’s all depends very much on the situation, but I know that I have to go to God with it all. Some questions I ask Him and myself…

  • Why am I feeling this? What is it pointing to? What am I discerning?
  • Is what I intuit an accurate reading of the whole situation, or is it just my own emotional reaction to something?
  • What does God want me to do with this intuition/feeling? Do I need to repent of a sin? Do I need to share my intuition with another?

By this process, I enter into the work of the Spirit not just in my life, but, perhaps, in the life of another as well. And by entering into, I find that I am less likely to feel like I am getting in the way. It maybe helps to see the situation holistically. That is, you are present in a situation for a reason. You are not outside of it, butting in; you’re a part of it. And, through it all, the Spirit is working on you, transforming you (and maybe another) into the likeness of Jesus.

So really, this whole matter relies on cultivation of your relationship with God and knowing how He communicates with you best and learning how to listen to him. It grows your prayer life, and God wants nothing more than to have you enter into what He is doing. :slight_smile: