The reason I ask this question is because I was challenged with it personally as I was reading in John 3.
Jesus absolutely lays out the gospel, the purpose for what He did, right there. It is amazing.
But what struck me is that most everyone has just seen or heard John 3:16 – it’s the go-to gospel verse. Even people who haven’t given their lives to Jesus have likely heard it.
And it’s easy to whip verses like this out for unbelievers. We sort of hope that if we know the right verse we can pull it out and bam – people will see the truth and follow Jesus.
I don’t mean to try to assume intentions, disparage, or cast anything at all on fellow believers.
There are many passionate believers who just want to share Jesus.
But a single verse can be memorized and repeated and still, people still don’t see Jesus.
So why is this? Sometimes there is a lack of humility, where we can do it in a my-Bible-verse-trumps-your-sin kind of argumentative/confrontational way.
I know I am guilty of doing that.
Maybe it’s a result of not being in the Word – so we rely on the few we’ve known since childhood.
Or maybe it’s something worse.
Maybe we aren’t really living completely for the Lord, so these verses really are the depth of our relationship and knowledge of Jesus.
Whatever it is, it is naturally easier to see the sin others lives than in our own. And it’s easy to know a couple verses and throw them out when we come to disagreement or something we think isn’t biblical.
And it’s easy to be quick to judge or point fingers when we are lukewarm after the Lord.
But when I’m daily in the Word, daily in prayer and surrendering my life, seeking to do what Jesus calls me to do: to love as He did – my judgement, selfishness, conceit, that all begins to burn away.
To see how dependent I am on the Lord – for my very breath. To see what Jesus did to make me free from my sin and death.
From that place, I am finding that I see myself and the world in humility – and Jesus in His glory.
As I read John 3:16 and thought about this challenge I thought about how Jesus calls us to be fishers of men.
Jesus finds Peter and Andrew who were fishermen and he calls them: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” – Matthew 4:18
It struck me how sometimes when we approach sharing Jesus, we do it like we are fishing with dynamite – rather than throwing out lines whenever we can. (the apostles used nets, but for the sake of analogy, haha)
When fishermen use dynamite, they drop it in the lake and whatever fish are in the water die and float to the top. Not particularly pretty.
On the other hand, fishing with a pole and line, you put a worm or something tasty on the hook and draw in fish.
Whether it’s the lack of humility in the heart, or just poor presentation, the dynamite approach tries to take out a whole bunch at once.
It’s not all that good for the Kingdom. Whether it’s legalism, lack of surrendering, lack of humility, whatever the reason is…just like dynamite, there is destruction: people get turned off from Jesus.
Instead, it’s cool how Jesus calls us to fish. Lines are like the relationships we build in our everyday lives. Just by living for Jesus, those lines are cast to others in our life.
As we live humbly for the Lord, people are drawn to us and they see Jesus. And there might be tons of people who are drawn in (like with the nets!).
But the position of the heart is different than if we try to do things on our own.
I love this picture of living life, casting lines to the people around me, building them up, and letting the Jesus work through me was inspiring.