Every mature Christ-follower has a wish list. First, we want every man, woman, and child to drink from the fountain of life. We want all our friends, family members – even strangers to know Jesus. As the psalmist says, “For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.” Those of us who genuinely love Jesus do not want to keep all the good stuff to ourselves. Many of us feel a responsibility to share this profound treasure with the world. The Bible even says God’s children should use their words and actions to share this good news generously. How we share the good news varies, because our logical brain wants answers and information while our relational brain wants joy.
It’s difficult for Christ-followers to understand how any person with air in his or her lungs could miss out on a relationship with the God who sees, hears, loves, understands, forgives, and invites us into His family. This heartfelt desire is expressed in countless individuals and organizations sharing the Gospel far and wide. When this longing is genuine, Jesus’ followers go out of their way to testify that God welcomes us into a relationship with Him. Sadly, all-too-often our immaturity, unprocessed pain, and inability to feel shame hinder our testimony. I remember the first time I wanted to tell someone about Jesus.
I was in college and hit an all-time low. I received my second DUI in a year. This was painful. My recklessness caught up with me. I was broken. I felt humiliated. Honestly, I believed my life was over. Done. Finished. Because my identity was enmeshed with my behavior, I felt like my reason for living disappeared along with my driver’s license. I felt like a failure to my family. Worse, I felt like a failure to God.
After walking out of the jail that dreadful evening with my head hung low, I looked up to see my friends waiting for me in the parking lot. What surprised me about this scene was that someone else was waiting as well. In my mind, I saw an image of Jesus standing before me. Here, in my lowest place, Jesus stood with outstretched arms, inviting me to come to Him. In my thoughts, I sensed Him saying, “Chris, stop fighting me. Why are you running? All I want to do is love you.” This watershed moment changed my life because I was not alone. Someone was with me. This reality sparked a fire that would burn and motivate me to pursue the God who loves me.
You see, I had incorrectly assumed God was angry, disappointed, and disgusted in me because I messed up. Here, at this moment, I discovered just the opposite. As a father would open his arms to hug his son, Jesus wanted me to come to Him. I was the prodigal son returning home. My life was never the same. I picked up and started reading my Bible. I told my friends about Jesus. I wanted everyone to know Jesus is alive.
The other item on the wish list is to be found faithful and finish well. Who doesn’t want to stand before Jesus one day and hear the words, “Well done My good and faithful servant!” We will stand before our heavenly Judge and give an account of our life. “What did you do with what I gave you?” This question used to frighten me because I lacked maturity and was still learning to care for myself. I didn’t know how to care for others, and I was worried I had been given an assignment that I could not carry out. I felt clueless about the steps I should take to get a good grade on my heavenly report card. It felt like trying to write a speech in Mandarin when I lacked the understanding to speak a single word of this language!
While I still feel a certain responsibility to use what God has given me, I now feel excited to stand before Jesus. I long to see the smile on His face. I believe this process (and passage in Scripture) is more about being relational and reflecting who God made us to be rather than simply checking off items on our holy To-Do list. Do you feel excited or fearful to stand before the King of Kings? Maybe you need to ask Immanuel about this, and I pray you find some peace and hope.
While the two items I mention are not an exhaustive list, and you probably have more thoughts on this topic, I encourage you to make a wise investment and pursue relational skills. I know of no more effective approach to life and relationships than living an Immanuel Lifestyle (Skill 13) and using relational skills to express the life of Christ. How well we love other people speaks volumes.
Increase your skills to better love others by reviewing the list of relational skills, read more on relational skills, and practice relational skills with your spouse or friends. Life is short. I pray for every one of you to sense God’s delight and discover meaningful opportunities to share God’s joy one relationship at a time.