One of the best gifts we have been given in this world is the ability to form relationships. I am a firm believer in the Lord putting the right people in our life at the right time. Whether those people stay for a moment, a week, a year, or our entire lifetime each person that enters our life has the ability to help us grow and become better versions of ourselves. The best part about a two way relationship is, the same holds true in the other individuals life as well, you make an impact. It’s ultimately your decision whether that impact will be one of love or hate, if it will lead others closer to Jesus or turn them away from him, or if you will be a friend or enemy.
Relationships are everything when you are a follower of Jesus. We are called to be in relationship and fellowship with those around us as we point each other to Him. Friends please hear me out, people come to Christ through relationship NOT strong-arm evangelism. People don’t want you to shove Jesus down their throat, they just need you to love them. That is all we’re called to do is love and let Jesus do the rest.
Inviting people to get to know Jesus will involve work, genuine care for the individual, time, and intentionality. Sure, tell them about your personal experiences and who Jesus is to you but people don’t like to be told what to do or believe. You are probably going to have to admit that the church and every single Christian human being has flaws. We’re man made, the furthest thing from perfect but pursuing a perfect heavenly father. Through many hard conversations in the past few years I have learned the sad reality that people aren’t avoiding Christianity because they don’t necessarily believe God could be real but rather they see the judgement and hypocrisy of Christians around them and therefore want nothing to do with the church. It’s a relationship problem. To add to that, understanding the concepts of Christianity doesn’t happen overnight and often it goes against everything our culture says. For people that have never been in the church it goes against everything they have ever known. When you become a Christian, everything changes and the people in your life start to see you differently. For most people this is utterly terrifying.
For these reasons, going to church is scary for some people but the good news is you were called to be the church. You don’t need to save the world just start with one person. Pray for them, love them, and don’t judge them because their path to Christ is different than yours. In my life this looked like praying for one friend every day for almost a decade until she came to know the Lord. You don’t need to be Pope Francis to show the people you are in relationship with Jesus, you just need to be a friend. Start a simple conversation with them over coffee. Support and pray for them through the highs and lows of life. If they are open to it start praying with them. If you want to really answer their questions start reading the gospels with them and let Jesus speak for himself. Don’t push it just love relentlessly, never stop praying, and let God do the work.
In John 15 Jesus is talking to his friends about the vine and branches. He is the vine we are his branches. But this can only happen if we are in the right mindset with God. John 15: 16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” This has been my theme verse for this summer because it holds so much truth. I encourage you to practice bearing fruit in the relationships of your life that need a little more Jesus.
Let me put it this way, for the sake of the non-Christian relationships in your life do you want them around for the next 20 years or to live together in paradise for eternity? Be a friend. Practice fruitful relationships. Let Jesus speak through your actions. When the opportunity for a conversation about Jesus comes up, take it.