“God never wanted converts, church attenders, prisoners, or parishioners.” That’s a quote from Hugh Halter’s book, “Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth”. It’s probably something we all know deep inside, but it’s not the way we act. I was brought up in an environment where an extraordinary focus was placed on ‘winning others to Christ’. I was taught that my primary job in the universe was to create converts, and my secondary job was to make sure I was in church whenever the doors were open. You could certainly argue there are far worse ideals that could be instituted into a young mind. The problem is this kind of teaching doesn’t do much to create people who look like Jesus.
I take comfort in the dichotomy of my own life because Jesus seemed to experience much of the same. He was humble and gentle, yet He never missed an opportunity to be outspoken for the truth and He certainly flashed moments of all-consuming zeal. Through it all, Jesus attracted those who needed Him most. When they came to Him, He didn’t burden them with a heavy load of rules. His teaching never contained a religious list of “do’s and don’ts”. He simply said to love God, and love others in the same way that you love yourself. And then He lived out those commands perfectly and in plain view of everyone.
It’s interesting that He came to seek the lost (Luke 19:10), but in reality, the lost sought Him out. His very being called out to them. He never set up a tent and held week long meetings to draw people to His teaching. He didn’t spend His time knocking on the doors in His neighborhood hoping to get to tell someone why He came. Instead, He simply walked among the people, teaching them with His every word and action. Nothing else was required. He wasn’t building a church, starting rebellion, or seeking to head up a new movement. He simply was who He was, and that was enough.
Our objective should not be to win converts, increase church attendance, or enslave and confuse people with the rules of any religion. Our sole mission is to love others as Jesus loves them. Our job is to live in such a way that people are drawn to the hope of Jesus by the way we reflect His holy light and love. God requires nothing of us except to love His Son and to demonstrate that love with every word we speak and act we do.
Have you been putting more effort into doing things you think you should do than simply showing love to others? We were created to love and to be relational. There is no more certain way to be in the will of God than to always be demonstrating your love of others through building relationships with them. The more you look like Jesus, the more present His Kingdom becomes on earth. Love God. Love people. It’s simple and it is all that is required.