Does Your Gospel Walk Repel or Attract?
Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
Years ago, prior to becoming a Christian, I had a friend who converted to Christianity. We were very close before her conversion, however, afterwards she and I drifted apart. She was a nightmare to be around. She was judgemental. Everything I said or did she found offense with. I would hear from her no less than once a week about something else I had done wrong. At the same time she was constantly trying to convert me by telling me I was a sinner and should accept Christ as my Savior…Um yeah.
I had no desire to ever attend church or get to know Jesus Christ because of her. But I actually did convert to Christianity a few years later, through a different experience – and guess what? I was the same way; a judgemental, no-it-all, self-righteous Christian.
Titus 3:1-2 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable, and considerate and gentle toward everyone.”
Does your gospel walk resemble that of beauty? Do you attract people to Jesus Christ? I can tell you first hand, my gospel walk as a new Christian attracted no one. I felt it was my personal duty to point fingers at everyone not living for Christ.
I began taking a Bible study class. I was a one-year Christian. The speaker, a much older pastor, shared how his wife had become best-friends with their new neighbor. They did everything together. However, their neighbor was not a Christian.
– Let’s stop for a moment.
I was actually listening to this story thinking, “How on earth can they be friends?” His wife had been a Christian for over 40 years and the woman she’s now friends with is not. It made no sense to me. As far as I was concerned if someone wanted to be friends with me they had to convert right there, or – see you later. Well needless-to-say, his wife ended up converting her new best-friend to Christ. As the pastor went on to share, that friendship had developed for months before the woman accepted Christ, yet his wife did nothing but love her. She did not judge her. And it wasn’t a plan to convert her, they were simply – friends.
Titus 3:3 “At one time we were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. “
You might think this verse is speaking to us before becoming believers. But how many of us are Christians today living this way? Hated and hating one another? You see, Jesus wasn’t hated because he treated people mean. He was hated because His presence convicted them of their sins. If someone comes into your presence, do they leave your presence in tears, sad, and hurt by your behavior? Our presence should make people want to know more about Jesus Christ. Our gospel walk is either doing one or the other; attracting people or repelling people. There’s no in between.
Titus 3:4 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. “
How many times have you seen a product demonstration at a store and after watching the demonstration you were sold on the product? Do you present a good demonstration of the gospel? Is your gospel walk beautiful from afar, yet tainted up close? Or are people sold on Christianity because of you?
Speaking for myself, as an early Christian I liked the idea of being a Christian. I liked the idea of having my sins forgiven. I like the idea of Jesus Christ loving me. I was thriving simply off the idea of Christianity. However, I had no understanding of the sacrifice involved walking with Christ. I did not understand that the more time I spent in fellowship with God the more I would resemble His image. And the more I resembled Jesus Christ – the more my gospel walk would represent that of beauty.
Fast-forward a few years and I was finally starting to understand the love of Jesus Christ. I was doing research for a paper and I got a few books from the library. I found a book from an unknown author. His titled grabbed me. He wrote a book about how disappointed he was with the Christian community and the treatment he’s received from them his entire life because of his life choices. He was adamant God approved of his lifestyle and that God loved him. I felt compelled to email him. I explained to him how much I enjoyed reading his perspective and that he wrote a very interesting book. I went on to say I was sure God did not agree with his lifestyle, but he was right – God does in fact love him. I completely forgot I had sent him the email. A few days later he responded. He thanked me for my very sweet email and appreciated me reading his book. He also said it’s okay that we disagree. But he went on to say that I was the first Christian to ever tell him that God loves him. I couldn’t believe it. I had only been a Christian a few years. He was in his mid-to-late 30’s. I was the first Christian to ever tell him God loves him even though God disagrees with his lifestyle? Well, had that been a few years earlier – I might have been one of the Christians he referred to in his book. The ones who lambasted him.
Everybody’s walk with Jesus Christ is different, yet we are the same in terms of the love we extend. If we are not extending pure love, we misrepresent the gospel. It then becomes our responsibility to evaluate our Christianity. We should step back and allow ourselves to be discipled longer. We should actively spend more time in the Word, prayer, and at a Bible-based church. God hates sin, but He LOVES the sinner – and wants us all saved. Beauty is attracting – period. Your gospel walk is beautiful when you can love the way Jesus loved. You attract people to Jesus Christ when the beauty of the gospel flows freely from your life. Christianity in itself isn’t always a beautiful thing, so please do not misunderstand my point. However, if we are to beautify Him, He must first beautify us. When we live in constant touch with Him, and communion with His Spirit, then beauty shall radiate from us and the glory of the Lord will change us from the inside – and, therefore, the beauty of the gospel will illuminate to the multitudes – and expand the kingdom of God.