Igniting a passion for evangelism

As A Passion for Life re-launches, we asked Jeremy Marshall - Co-Chair, to share his thoughts on what the “Passion” in A Passion for Life means to him and how to ignite it!

What are you passionate about?

What makes your blood tingle and your heart beat fast? What do you look forward to more than anything? What do you love to talk about with friends and family? How about….evangelism? Well at least for me I can assure you that’s not the case! And I suspect it’s the same for many Christians. Where do we find passion in the Bible? How about Psalm 84?

1
How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord Almighty!
2
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

The Psalmist is deeply passionate about…. what? About God. He wants to know and have and experience the Living God. He loves him and he wants more of him. Every atom of his being cries out for God. So passionate is he that his feelings overwhelm him: he is almost unconscious with his passion

Increasing our passion for evangelism

So why aren’t we like that with evangelism? Evangelism only works when it is the outworking of something much deeper – the love of God. What should power us? Love for God. Why are we like a flat battery? Lack of love for God. The more we experience him the more we want to tell others. It’s very natural to say – “I just saw this film and I absolutely loved it, you must see it”. Substitute “God” for film and there we are – or there we should be.

What should power us? Love for God. Why are we like a flat battery?

Now I want to anticipate an objection. “I know that I don’t love God as I should”, I say sadly to myself. So I can’t tell others about him because I can’t “start the car”. It’s hopeless. My battery is flat. If you have a flat battery you will know that one of the best ways to recharge it is to use it. To use it is to charge it. To talk about the Lord is to increase our love for him.

This has been my experience and here is some more of Psalm 84:

6
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

We don’t know anything about the Valley of Baka but we can assume it was a desert. Yet as the pilgrim trudges through the desert he finds it’s suddenly a place of springs. Not by anything he has done but by rains descending from above unbidden. So with evangelism.

God will honour our feeble efforts

As we labour on in this dry land, with all my heart I believe that God will honour our feeble and wretched efforts. Suddenly, despite our cynicism, rain will fall and the desert will bring life. Friends, I have found time and time and time again since I was diagnosed with incurable cancer (the Valley of Baka) that as we take one step of faith, God takes 9999 further.

People we thought would never be interested are open.
Doors we thought closed are unlocked.
And as each such event occurs, our passion to talk about the Lord increases.

“If you love me you will obey my commands”. If we honour God (in all our feebleness and incompetence and sinfulness) God will honour that feeble first step. And as we take more steps our love and our passion will increase. We will go from strength to strength until we meet God face to face.

Start with small steps

Finally one last thing. You want to be passionate but where to start? Start with something small and easy. Want to run a marathon? Run 500m first.

“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10

We are all utterly insignificant. As someone said of preachers – “Preach Christ, die, be forgotten”. To be a doorkeeper is a lowly and humble job. How can you be a doorkeeper? By opening doors! How?

Tell people how amazing Christ is. Be passionate about him however feebly, however weakly you can. For example tell someone, “I could never have got through lockdown without Jesus”. Or, “I found this promise so helpful“, (whatever Bible promise you like – “I will never leave you or forsake you” is a good one). Be enthusiastic! People are drawn to enthusiasm.

Be passionate about your lost friends and family (no time to explore that here! Take a look at my other post). Love them. Ask them some questions. Here are some I love to use:

“Do you mind me asking if you have any particular beliefs?”
“Have you ever looked at the Bible?”
“Would you like to have a chat with me about the Bible?”.

I guarantee you with the authority of scripture that God will honour your feeble steps. Rain will fall. (Rain is not conversions – but opportunities to talk about the Lord). As you see rain falling, your passion for God and that longing for him will grow.

Amen and Amen! May that be so. Lord, help us to love you more and be passionate about you to others.

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