As discussed in the previous blog, the Holy Spirit can help us to remain strong in our belief no matter what we encounter. However, that begs an important question. “What about those who don’t already believe?” One must profess belief in Jesus Christ to be gifted with the Holy Spirit, so those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior do not have access to the Holy Spirit in the same way. We, as Believers, are tasked with spreading the Gospel and bringing souls to God, but how do we convince someone who simply does not believe? A story about God taking the form of a man and then coming down to earth living as one of us, dying, and being resurrected to save us all from our sins might be a hard pill for some to swallow. Jesus and his apostles encountered the same problem. They had to convert people who did not believe. Some reading this might immediately point out that they were able to win people by performing miracles. It is true that miracles played an important part in helping people come to belief. Consider the Day of Pentecost as depicted in Chapter 2 of Acts. The Holy Spirit descended on the Disciples with the sound of a mighty rushing wind. Everyone gathered bore witness as the Disciples were able to miraculously communicate with everyone ignoring the language barriers present in the city. Verses 40 and 41 reveal the result of the miracle.
With many other words he [Peter] warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. – Acts 2:40-41
That is a good story, but how does it help us? It’s unlikely any of us will cure a serious disease with a touch, bring someone back from the dead, or cast out an evil spirit. If those that God chose to start the Faith had difficulty combatting disbelief without such miracles, how can we do it? That seems like a fair question, but it misses one important truth. We are the miracles. Jesus dying and coming back from the grave was indeed miraculous, but so is the advent of the Holy Spirit when a person comes to belief.
If we understand the miracle that God worked in our lives when we chose to follow Jesus, then we know we have a tool for winning people over. We just have to make use of that tool, and there are couple ways to do that.
The first is straightforward. We need to talk about how we came to Christ. Testimonies are a common part of the Christian experience. Many people who feel like the Lord has done something for them like to talk about it. We often hear about deliverance from financial hardships, disease, toxic relationships, and a host of other pitfalls. Those types of testimonies are good, but they are most useful for invigorating the faiths of people who already believe. For those still trying to find their way to God, testimonies from Believers about how they found God would be more helpful. Maybe that testimony involves some type of deliverance. Maybe for some walking towards God meant walking away from drugs and alcohol. Maybe for others embracing God meant letting go of people that brought strife to their lives. Those are great testimonies, but so are accounts from people who simply found peace through a developed relationship with God. Or, revelations from others about how they were able to right their moral compasses by learning to adhere to God’s Word. Paul is a good example of the latter category. He often spoke about how he came to follow Jesus, and what that choice could mean for those around him.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:15-17
The Bible shows us that simply telling people about how we were saved opens the door for others to be saved.
The second way we can make use of our belief to help others believe is to simply behave like we believe. This is perhaps the more important of the two ways. This world has no shortage of people willing to pay lip service to what they supposedly believe, but that number decreases when we talk about people who actually put actions to those words. Sadly, this is true even within the Body of Christ. Hypocrisy is rampant. Christianity is supposed to be a religion of love, but sometimes Christians are often anything but loving. Furthermore Christianity is not a mere religion. We have a relationship with God through the finished work of Jesus. What if we always behaved consistently with Jesus’ instruction? What if we always responded to ill treatment from others with a loving attitude? What if we exhibited a joyful faith, not just when things were going well, but also when they were going badly? What if we spent less time judging others for what they do wrong and more time helping them do right? Wouldn’t many non-believers wonder what it was that allowed Believers to act in such a way? If we were able to visibly live our lives doing good even when we are surrounded by bad, wouldn’t many non-believers want to find a way to do the same? Sometimes the best testimonies aren’t the ones people hear from us but instead the ones people see in us. Many people have become accustomed to the corruption and maliciousness in this world. If members of a particular group were able to consistently rise above those ways, stand tall, and continue to follow God, others would likely notice and inquire. Peter certainly believed that simply living righteously would have an effect on those that witnessed.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2:12
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – 1 Peter 2:15
This world has no shortage of people desperate to believe in something. It also has no shortage of forces trying to convince people that Jesus is not worthy of belief. However, as Believers, we have been empowered with everything we need to serve God and bring people to him. Let’s do our best to help them see the value and worth of believing in Jesus. God will do the rest!