Perhaps today one of the reasons why we are not more effective in leading more people to Christ is because of the many erroneous ideas we hold about getting decisions. Shockingly, as James puts it, sometimes we do not receive because we don’t even ask! (James 4:2).
Many Christians present the gospel with a blunt “take it or leave it” mentality - they see their job as only sounding the warning, shaking the dust from their shoes upon its rejection and then moving on quickly to new blood.
Some even believe that people are already predestined to accept or reject the gospel, so why waste time trying to persuade them? Consider though for a moment, what if God had used similar methodologies or approaches with us, where would you and I be today? Even as God is never overbearing, He doesn’t give up on us easily! From the very outset, He is always the Initiator: we did not go looking for Him, he came looking for us!
God is constantly trying to get our attention; like a man who is passionately in love (only His love infinitely flows to deeper deeps and extends to higher highs!), he uses a myriad creative ways to try to woo us to Him: He will use people, circumstances, occasions, trials - all in effort to reach us, to get our attention because He yearns greatly to bless us!
His is a stubborn love - it is a love that says, I will never leave you nor forsake you, I will stand just nearby, just outside your personal space hoping that you will answer my call and let me into your heart. No wonder we hear Jesus saying: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20).
We find that influencing people to make a decision for Christ is often times the most difficult part of soul winning, it’s not easy, it’s really hard work! For many, it will prove to be an unpopular choice, out of step with society or threatening to their financial well-being. At its heart, it’s a science whose principles we will have to learn and practice. One practicum of the trade put it this way, “The study of the workers now should be to learn the trade of gathering souls into the gospel net.”
If we truly love people and want to see them saved in God’s Kingdom, then even as they make their objections and excuses (and believe me, they will!), we won’t be daunted or discouraged by them, we will persist with much prayer and supplication for these souls because we love them. Paul writes to the Christians at Corinth: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings . . . For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 9: 22, 23;10:33).
Love is the essence of God’s saving action in the affairs of humanity and this should be our motivation for garnering decisions. So even before we call people to a decision for Christ, let us examine ourselves to see whether or not we are truly in the faith, to check our motivation for evangelism. Below, I have quickly outlined a few questions that you can ask yourself to check your spiritual soul winning temperature.
1. Have I truly been convicted and converted by the gospel? - To what degree has the gospel impressed and convicted my heart? Do I really know Jesus? Do I have a relationship with Him in daily bible study (John 5:39), prayer (1 Thess. 5:17)? For if I don’t know Him, I can’t introduce Him to others or even influence them to follow Him (Acts 3:6; Psalm 51:10-13).
2. Is my Christian walk bearing spiritual fruit? – How is my life reflected in the Christian and wider community? Can Jesus be seen to be shining out of my heart? Can people see the evidences, the transforming effects of me abiding in Jesus? Is the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance) embellished in my character (Gal. 6:22, 23)?
3. What is my motivation for soul winning? – Am I just involved in witnessing to play the boastful “numbers game” or do I genuinely love people and want to see them saved before their probation closes, as Christ will return soon to usher in His eternal kingdom?
4. Do I recognize that soul winning is a partnership with God? – Am I truly aware that calling people to make decisions for Christ involves a partnership between myself and the Holy Spirit, who ultimately impresses and convicts each heart (John 16:7-11)?
Pastor Derrick Hall is available for church seminars, speaking engagements and can be contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit us on the web.