As I write, it’s Sunday night and in our Bible class this morning we focused on evangelism. We talked specifically about the reasons we sometimes don’t tell others about the Lord. Our reluctance to share Him is not because we question His power to save. It’s not that we don’t know any lost people or that we don’t have the resources (time, transportation, study materials) to get the job done. It’s really not any of the externals—things that depend on circumstances or other people or on God, Himself. All of the reasons for our hesitancies lie within us. It’s that we often let the devil get inside our hearts and make them start skipping a beat when we think of studying with someone. We let him get into our stomachs and give us butterflies. We let him into our knees to make them feel weak or even start knocking together. We let him into our mouths and he makes them dry and he makes them talk about everything but the Lord. But the reason he affects all of these parts of our bodies is that we let him into our minds. Now we know from II Timothy 1:7 that it is certainly not God that puts fear into our minds. (Not hard to guess who loves for us to be fearful!)
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
See, conversely God gives us a spirit of power–the antithesis of weak knees and dry mouths. He gives us a spirit of love–the overcomer of butterflies and fearful heart failure –and He gives us a spirit of a sound mind. There you go. It’s the mind thing again. If we can just keep our minds sound or healthy, the rest of our bodies will follow suit.
Sometimes therapy is the best way to make your body regain loss of strength or mobility. My dad broke his wrist recently and I carried him to several sessions of therapy. I noticed that every single thing they made him do to rebuild wrist mobility was the very thing that hurt the most. It was excruciating and not a single thing they listed on his take-home assignments were activities that he would have done had they not been on that sheet. I also noticed that the intensity of the activities as well as the number of repetitions increased as time went by.It was really hard for him to discipline himself to do that list of painful things every day, especially at first, but he did it. He kept the desired result in his mind and he’s using that wrist now as if nothing ever happened to it.
Mind therapy works that way, too. If I want to gain the power to evangelize without fear, I’ve got to discipline myself to do some things that are somewhat excruciating. I’ve got to see the end result: me, being evangelistic without fear. I’ve got to force myself to regularly do what feels the most difficult. I’ve got to take a loaf of bread and a tract to my neighbor, find the visitors at our services and ask them to study, invite the other moms at practice to the gospel meeting and bring the Lord up in everyday conversation with my non-Christian friends. I’ve got to be disciplined and relentless in the pursuit of my goal.
Here’s one therapeutic exercise with which you can begin. I recently ordered these calling cards from www.123print.com. You can order similar ones from lots of different companies or even make your own. I give these to the clerk at Walmart, to the Subway drive-through worker, to the waitress at the restaurant or the girl who cuts my hair. They are great for leaving with the drive-through attendant for the person in the car behind you at Burger King when you pay for her hamburger. Imagine her surprise when she follows you through the line and realizes that her meal has already been purchased. She may look twice at that card and she may want to come and meet you. The card is great for putting in the envelope when you write a small thank you to your sanitation workers or your mail-carrier. They are really good if you bake bread for your neighbors during the holidays. You get the point.Mind therapy works that way, too. If I want to gain the power to evangelize without fear, I’ve got to discipline myself to do some things that are somewhat excruciating. I’ve got to see the end result: me, being evangelistic without fear. I’ve got to force myself to regularly do what feels the most difficult. I’ve got to take a loaf of bread and a tract to my neighbor, find the visitors at our services and ask them to study, invite the other moms at practice to the gospel meeting and bring the Lord up in everyday conversation with my non-Christian friends. I’ve got to be disciplined and relentless in the pursuit of my goal.
This simple and inexpensive card distribution could just be number one on your list of mind therapy exercises. At first you will be a little nervous when you hand the card to your cashier and say, “I just want to invite you to worship. Hope you can come.” But soon, you will find it’s getting easier. Before long, you will be doing it without pain and you will be moving on to tougher activities. Remember God wants you to have a powerful spirit characterized by a sound mind and directed by love. God bless us all as we take on the challenge of evangelism fitness.