Soul Training Exercise:
This week begin to ask God to help you see opportunities to not only proclaim the gospel but also to invite them to respond by trusting Jesus as their way forward in whatever life situation they are experiencing. Remember, as we do this we are inviting someone to trust Jesus in the way you have come trust Jesus This is where “I believe” statements come in. These kind of statements, when authentic, help us avoid the temptation to tell people what do or what to believe which only prevents us from being present with them. It will be important that, when you speak these words, it is done in humility being careful not to speak from a desire to dominate or manipulate or convince. We are free from the impossible task of convincing others. God has assumed that one for us! “I believe” statements are declarations born out of our own confidence in Jesus. They are not strategies or methods. Their purpose is not to coerce but rather to inspire. When you say “I believe…” you are announcing you confidence in the kingdom of God to break through in their life as it has in yours.
Two examples of possible scenarios we could experience.
Over the course of a couple conversations with your neighbor they have expressed worry and fear about the amount of money they owe for taxes this year. You have listened attentively, asked questions and made statements in response showing your concern and willingness to be present with them in this challenging time. An opportunity may come up in this conversation or in a conversation two months from now. You don’t have to force anything. When you do sense God leading you to say something you can begin with something like this: “Susan, I understand how troubling this kind of thing can be. I have struggled with financial stress too. But I believe God is present in this situation you are facing and that He cares about you and how it’s impacting you. I believe He is at work here making a way forward for you and your family. There is great peace in knowing that. Can you believe that with me? I will do my best to pray about this with you and I am available anytime you need someone to listen and care.”
You have an extended family member that you stay in touch with who, as far as you know, has not come to trust Jesus yet. Over the course of several recent phone calls they share with you how worried they are about their relationship with their son. The son has been acting out and making really poor choices at school and, in turn, the dad has lost his temper a couple times and said things that were hurtful and damaging to their relationship. When you sense God opening up a space for the gospel, you could say something like, “Joe, I believe God loves you and your son. He is working here to restore this relationship and He has a way forward for both of you. Would you be willing to trust Him with me to show you and your son what steps to take next?”
Remember, this all begins with what is real in your life regarding the kingdom of God and your confidence in Jesus personally. We must speak from the basis of what is profoundly true and real. If we will ever be used by God to inspire confidence in Jesus in another, our confidence in Jesus must be true.