If we’re honest, many of us would probably admit that sharing the gospel doesn’t always come as easily as we would like. With the greatest news in the world, it seems we would naturally be compelled to share with anyone who will listen, and even some who won’t. Yet, we can identify churches, groups, or individuals who are not involved in the work of the Great Commission and perhaps even recognize that hesitation in ourselves. Our hesitation often originates from misplaced motives and a better response rests at the heart of two key relationships for believers: relationship with God and the church, and relationship with the lost.
What are those misplaced motives that cause our hesitation? Sometimes our lack of involvement results from a motivation spurred on by guilt. This guilt could be out of fear over the lostness of the world or it could be a guilt claiming one must share the gospel because God is forcing the task on believers. This motivation is unsustainable because guilt grows from deficiency rather than fullness. As believers, our participation in the Great Commission finds its greatest power when we are filled with the strength and love that come from God’s own love. Guilt will not bring the results we seek.
Other times the lack of involvement is a result of fears or anxieties over the unknown, the unfamiliar, unpreparedness, or of rejection. Stepping into another person’s world with a convicting and life-changing message can feel extremely intimidating. We feel inadequate and uncertain. This fear is accelerated as we look increasingly toward our own shortcomings. Just as with guilt, this fear-filled hesitation inhibits our obedience to the Great Commission. Fear causes us to forget the need of our neighbor and takes our eyes off Christ and His promised presence.
So how do we build a better foundation from which to fulfill the Great Commission? How do we find a motivation that is not based on guilt, and how do we surrender the hesitations grounded in fear? How can we be obedient to Christ and His Great Commission? We must start with relationship.